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PTM: Slide-ons or Clip-ons or Rivets or Screws… What to Choose??

PTM: Slide-ons or Clip-ons or Rivets or Screws… What to Choose??

May 14th 2019

The myths and legends regarding Price-Tag Molding (PTM) are long and storied. Materials and attachment type have changed over the years, but what do all the changes mean? Do the differences really matter? What kind of PTM should you choose? How do you decide? Don’t panic! It’s SIMPLE.

Let’s start with the materials.

PTMs are typically created with one of two types of material: Aluminum or Plastic.

Aluminum PTM:

Can be anodized to give a polished silver look or powder coated to match the interior color of a case or the color of a shelf. Aluminum is suitable for both Low Temp (LT) and Medium/Normal Temp (MT) applications. It is durable, resists corrosion, and it will last the life of the shelf. Aluminum PTM may be slide-on or attached with screws, or riveted. (More on these differences below!)

Plastic PTM:

Is extruded in a specific color (typically either black or white). Plastic PTMs will always be slide-on or clip-on, and can be relatively inexpensive. At SimplySourceful, PTMs are included in the price of the shelf. Plastic may be extruded with a thinner profile than Aluminum PTM, but is typically best-suited for MT applications. Depending on the type of plastic used, the plastic PTM may become brittle in LT applications therefore significantly reducing its lifespan (see the picture above!). Plastic PTM is not as durable as Aluminum, but with care, may last the life of the shelf or case.

Now on to how PTMs are attached!

There are four ways PTMs are attached to shelves: with screws, with rivets, slide-ons, or clip-ons. This table shows the pros and cons of each way.

Attached with Screws:

  • Advantages:
    • These PTMs are both easy to install and easy to remove, compared to riveted PTMs. Most wire shelves are attached via screws due to the ease of installation. Although screw heads will appear, price tags generally cover the screw head.
  • Disadvantages:
    • When attaching PTM with screws, most often a phillips button head or round screw is used. This head profile provides a slight “bump” across the face of the PTM. The screw head is not as flush or flat against the PTM face as a rivet.

Attached with Rivets:

  • Advantages:
    • A very secure way to attach PTM to a solid shelf. May be used for a wire shelf but requires a much larger rivet and is slightly more difficult to install. Using a rivet provides a more flush look across the face of the PTM. Thus, provides a “clean” look. And price tags would generally cover the view of rivets.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Typical rivets are stainless steel. If the PTM is damaged or if merchandising wants to replace the color or look of the PTM, removing stainless steel rivets is very difficult and usually requires a new shelf, which is also easier.


  • Advantages:
    • Easy to install and relatively easy to replace. The PTM has a profile that mates with the corresponding shelf face profile. It provides a “clean” look on the face of the PTM because there are no mechanical fasteners visible on the face
  • Disadvantages:
    • When shelf configurations are not aligned across a case or line-up, the PTM may be misaligned with the shelf. The PTM is no longer centered on the shelf and the merchandising look of a case may suffer. When shelf heights are consistent across a case or line-up, this issue is essentially eliminated because there is little clearance between shelves to give space for the PTM to get out of alignment.


  • Advantages:
    • Easy to install and relatively easy to replace. Clips may be plastic or metal. Typically used only on wire shelving and rack.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Over time the features of the clip may wear from constantly being hit during stocking or if repeatedly removed and reattached. When clips breaks, the entire PTM requires replacement.

There is no right or wrong material or attachment type! But you’ll want consistency within a case and lineup.

The material and attachment style for display cases vary by case manufacturer and model type but typical replacement shelving will match the OEM shelf style.

SimplySourceful can provide you with the look and fit that you want. Don’t know what you need? Let us know the case manufacturer, model, and serial if you have it. You can even send us a picture. We’ll ensure you get the correct replacement. SIMPLE!

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Can’t find what you need? Simply reach out for all your OEM-compatible replacement parts for your supermarket refrigeration display cases. Get expert help to identify the parts you need and enjoy outstanding customer service with SimplySourceful. We may have it available but not yet listed.

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