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Shadow Boards follow the key Lean 5S principle of assigning a designated space for tools and equipment. They efficiently highlight missing tools and equipment that might otherwise be scattered haphazardly in drawers or on worktops, allowing location within seconds.

How could a Shadow Board improve your business

Tooling Shadow Boards

Proven to save time searching for tools, hand tool Shadow Boards make it easy to identify missing items from a distance, a fundamental lean visual management technique.

They can also can be supplied on mobile frames ensuring right tool, right place, right time.  

Hand Tools on a Shadow Board in a workshop
Shadow Board on a frame with change over parts

Change Over / Spare Parts

Keep operationally critical spare parts visually stored close to the process, reducing potential downtime in the event of equipment failure.

Minimise wasted time in the SMED (Single Minute Exchange of Die) process by locating the changeover parts close to the process in an organised and logical layout ready for switch out.

Transform your workspace into a hub of efficiency, where downtime becomes a rare occurrence, and changeovers are executed seamlessly.

For more information about Changeover and SMED see our knowledge page.

Lifting Tackle Shadow Boards

Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) mandate the proper storage, marking, and inspection of lifting equipment.

Our Lifting Tackle Shadow Board plays a crucial role in helping users locate equipment in its designated place, ensuring that items are always readily available when not in use.

Lifting Tackle and Eyebolts on a Board
Angled frame with a board to hold tools and parts in a workshop

Calibrated Tools

Tooling or measuring equipment that needs to be carefully calibrated to give accurate readings requires careful and responsible storage.

The use of Shadow Boards to store calibrated tools ensures that other items can’t be piled on top with the equipment held and positioned the same way whenever not in use.

To enhance safety, we secure the tooling or equipment on the Shadow Board using appropriate fixings. Additionally, the option of placing the board on an angled A Frame further mitigates the risk of items falling off, providing a secure and organised storage solution for sensitive and precision instruments.


Commonly supplied with a 5S Shadow Board our clear panel cabinets are supplied fully assembled and custom-built to size and specification. Our cabinets create visual security for assets and equipment that are often locked away in working environments where temporary staff or contractors are working on-site.

In harsh working environments, they provide an added layer of shelter protection to sensitive electronic or precisely calibrated tools.

Utilising visual storage helps to foster a culture of equipment care for equipment. Clear panels allow for quick visual checks on the location of tools and equipment.

Hand tools on a shadow board in a cabinet


VMT has over 10 years in advising, developing designs, manufacture and supply of Shadow Boards. We can supply Shadow Boards to visually store hand tooling, specialist tooling, machine parts and more.

We thought it might be useful to share some answers to the many questions we get asked about our Shadow Boards.

There are a few options for how we develop the design for your Shadow Board.

 – Send the tools to PeakVM – If you have tools that you can be without or are buying in new tools – you can send them directly to us or we can arrange to collect.

This gives the us the benefit of being able to check the fit of each tool on the shadow board before we despatch. We are also happy to buy in tools if you would like us to supply the tools to go with your Board.

– Send us the photo information we need. This works well if you have a relatively small and simple selection of hand tools that you wish to store on your Shadow Board.

We will send you in the post a printed grid board and instructions for how to correctly photograph the tools for accurate Board design.

–  Invite PeakVM to site. Invite a PeakVM representative to your facility and we will audit the tooling to ensure we have everything we need to accurately design your Board.

Depending on your location and the time required onsite we might have to charge a little extra for this option

We use a combination of materials for our Shadow Boards, and we choose the best material option suited to the application.

Most of our Boards are based on applying a laminated vinyl print to an Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) base. ACM is long lasting and durable whilst easy to work with, providing reassurance if your maintenance teams are to fix the Shadow Board to existing wall space. If there is to be heavier items (such as lifting tackle or large torque wrenches) to be stored on the  Board then 3mm aluminium sheet provides and hard wearing and heavy-duty base material. For environments where tooling might be ‘roughly’ handled, we recommend applying a protection to the face of your Shadow Board to eliminate any potential scratches to the face of the board. Polycarbonate provides a cost effective, durable and visually pleasing option.

We use a combination of fixings to store the tools onto the Board. Hardened Steel Dowels with an applied rubber grip ensure maximum grip for your tools. Along with Dowels Spring Clips are ideal for storing hand tools and less heavy equipment, making tool removal simple and low effort. We use a combination of bolts for heavier items to provide extremes of mechanical strength.

We have supplied Shadow Boards for many applications where very heavy parts or tools are to be stored such as machine changeover parts, lifting tackle or Rail industry tooling. We will specify appropriate fixings which will have the mechanical strength to hold the weight of the part. We often also advise mounting the Shadow Board angled onto an A Frame so that the weight of the parts is pushing into the mechanically strongest part of the fixing at the intersection with the board. The use of an A Frame and the angled fixing it provides also reduces the chance of parts falling off the Board particularly for mobile Shadow Board applications.

Yes, we can supply our shadow boards on frames. We use a 40mm aluminium profile which is extremely strong and provides the flexibility to modify or adapt for future uses. We would generally advise that a Shadow Board supplied on a free-standing frame be supplied on base plates that are mounted to the floor (for stability and safety reasons), but it is also possible for our frames to be supplied on castors.

Yes, we can supply our shadow board on mobile frames. As many factories and depots have uneven floors so we generally advise that mobile Shadow Boards are supplied on an angled A Frame to reduce the risk of tools falling off the board.

Yes, and we have supplied many Shadow Boards into lockable cabinets. Some common reasons for using our lockable cabinets is if there are multiple shifts, contractors working onsite or to protect calibrated or sensitive equipment. Our cabinets are constructed from an Aluminium extrusion frame and clear polycarbonate panels. These clear panels allow for full visibility of the tools.  We can supply the cabinets with keypad lock so there is an option to change the security password/pin at set intervals.

The lead time of a shadow board hinges on a few factors:

  1. Tooling availability – the sooner we can get our hands on the tools/tooling information the sooner we can start designing.
  2. Complexity – complexity is added to a shadow board by either a larger number of tools or unusual/larger/detailed tools. If a Shadow Board is more complex it will take more time to both design and assemble.
  3. Quantity and specification – quite simply a larger project with more detailed work will take more time to design and manufacture.

Typically, a “straight forward” Shadow Board project with good tool availability, of low complexity of medium level quantity and specification will take 2-3 weeks from order.

The largest ACM sheet size available is 2400 x 1200mm. However, if there is specialist tooling involved or a very high number of tools that will require the layout to exceed this size we can spilt the design over multiple sheets of materials. We have done this on many occasions for specialist applications such as Rail track gauges and pipe storage.

This isn’t an easy one to answer, the longevity of our Shadow Boards is directly affected by several factors.

  1. Environment – harsh chemicals found in cleaning equipment and lubricants can, over time have a negative affect on the materials we use to manufacture our Shadow Boards.
  2. Behaviours– if the board is respected and tools are carefully returned then there is less risk of dents and scratches appearing. The fixings used to hold tools in place are also more likely to retain their mechanical integrity when not treated poorly.
  3. Usage – The number of times tools are being placed onto and removed from the Shadow Board will have an effect on how “fresh” that the board stays.

Difficult environments and heavy usage will have an effect on how well your Shadow Board lasts. However, we have seen well used PeakVM Shadow Boards in testing environments such as rail depots still in use 5-8 years after initial supply.

Yes, all our Shadow Boards are designed specific to each client so we are keen to ensure the logos and branding design elements are added to the Shadow Board design.

We have a few options for developing the design of a Shadow Board to include new tools in the future:

  1. Leave some space on the Shadow Board for shadows and fixings to be added.
  2. Supply the shadow board on a perforated panel board where the skin can be removed and a new skin added in the future. The perforated board and fixings can be recycled.

Right tool,
Right time,
Right Place.

Discover how other workplaces have utilised Shadow Boards to enhance their operational efficiency.

Alexander Dennis

Tullis Russel

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