The humble office filer scarcely attracts very much thought in our busy offices but a quality filing cabinet should give years of problem free service. Even with the current trend towards the paperless office, filing cabinets are still extensively used as the inescapable fact is that most offices still produce large quantities of written documentation and paperwork that needs to be filed away.
Filing cabinets are usually manufactured from either steel or wood. Of the two common materials used, metal filing cabinets are lighter, stronger, more durable and usually are supplied with a manufacturers guarantee of between 5 and 15 years depending on the quality of the filing cabinet supplied. Wooden filing cabinets are often very durable but usually are supplied with a guarantee of between 1 and 5 years.
Filing cabinets are designed to store tab files that hang on runners inside each filing drawer. One key design option to look out for when deciding upon a filing cabinet is full drawer extension. Basically this is where the filing drawers can be pulled out 100% so that the files located at the very back of the drawer are able to be easily accessed without the need to reach back into the cabinet to find the required files. Another important requirement is the anti tilt device which operates by stopping more than one drawer being opened simultaneously as the weight of drawers full of files could easily cause a cabinet to fall over. Files should be loaded into the bottom drawers of the filing cabinet first to assist with stability of the cabinet.
There are two common sizes of suspension file in Europe, foolscap and A4. Foolscap is by far the most commonly used size used in Britain and Ireland, whereas A4 is the most popular size in continental Europe. The runners that support the suspension files are usually built into the top of the drawer sides in a standard filing cabinet so the suspension files are usually designed to run from front to back. Some filing cabinets include conversion fittings to allow either foolscap or A4 sizes to be stored. Users must note that the drawer bases in filing cabinets (and particularly in wooden filing cabinets) are not generally designed to support great weight and so the filing cabinets should not be used as normal drawers.
Another popular type of filing cabinet is the lateral filer which is just an extra wide filing cabinet where the suspension files are most commonly designed to run from side to side instead of front to back. The alternative unit for storing suspension files is tambour system storage units with either a wooden or steel carcass that have been supplied with pull out suspension file frames. European office furniture manufacturers offer an extensive range of tambour storage cupboards with an excellent range of internal filing fitments. This design is far more popular in continental Europe. Pull out suspension filing units mainly accept A4 suspension files as standard, though often can be adapted to store foolscap suspension files.
Bisley filing cabinets are without doubt the leading brand for metal filing cabinets and their flagship BS range of cabinets are designed with durability in mind and are usually supplied with a 10 or 15 year manufacturers warranty. The BS series features fully welded construction with twin skin drawer fronts. Drawers are fitted onto roller ball bearing slides which deliver extra-smooth action and 100% extension. The Bisley BS range includes five, four, three and two drawer versions all of which accept either foolscap or A4 suspension files. The BS4E four drawer filing cabinet gives 2.2 metres of filing storage.