World Book Day: Tradition Meets Modernity
March 23, 2022
HEUSENSTAMM, Germany – It's that time again on 23 April for reading enthusiasts to celebrate UNESCO World Book Day. Especially in times of the COVID-19 pandemic, people are increasingly turning to good old-fashioned reading, and libraries are often the first port of call. This is truly where the knowledge and wealth of experience of humankind can be found. Intelligent automation solutions are increasingly taking over the handling of books and documents. They make a decisive contribution to speeding up order processing, relieving staff from transporting the sometimes-heavy printed works and, most importantly, ensuring that valuable works are stored with care. Dematic, a specialist in automation technology, offers the appropriate expertise for this field. The company is currently automating the National Library of Israel, for example. The world's largest automated library system is currently being built in the National Archives of Canada. And Dematic was recently awarded the “Modern Library Award” for the successful implementation of four projects at libraries in the U.S.
“Libraries have been essential for the cultural development for centuries. Today, we can improve significantly them with automation technology to sustainably protect their collections while making access to individual works easier,” says Bernard Biolchini, EVP Dematic EMEA. To manage large book collections and archives in the best possible way, Dematic has developed an automated small parts warehouse especially adapted to the requirements of libraries. It is based on the established Dematic Miniloads for storage and retrieval of totes and trays and is controlled by intelligent Dematic software. Dematic was named Platinum Award winner for the AS/RS (Automated Storage and Retrieval System) at the Modern Library Awards 2022 by the information platform LibraryWorks. A total of four projects implemented in the U.S. were honored, including the Library of Congress at the University of Chicago and the Rio Grande Depot in Utah, where the entire history of the state is archived.
An integral part of the Dematic solution is a unique software control system that enables fully automatic management of the archive. In addition, AS/RSs feature a high storage density, fast access with minimal workload and high accuracy. “AS/RSs offer libraries an efficient solution with enormous potential for savings in terms of costs and space requirements,” Biolchini explains. Also, sensitive collections are better protected by the automated solution. “Our systems work under best possible humidity and temperature conditions and are free of dust and other contaminations. Manual contact is reduced to a minimum,”' Biolchini adds. Oxygen reduction in the storage area also serves to prevent fires. In this way, the automation solution provides additional protection and preservation of important, tradition-rich works and unique pieces.
Dematic has renovated existing archives in renowned institutions around the globe. The company is currently installing the world's largest AS/RS for a library system at the National Archives of Canada. Work on the almost 30 meter-high system began in January 2020 and is expected to be completed in the summer of 2022. The National Library of Israel in Jerusalem is also currently being automated by Dematic. In the “source of knowledge” designed by architects Herzog & de Meuron, an AS/RS with 50,000 bins will ensure that visitors can access a stock of several million books within a few minutes. The procedure is as follows: The order is entered into the lending system. The AS/RS then determines the location of the requested work and brings it to the pick-up station via the automated transport system. This is done by the Dematic Miniload storage and retrieval machines with average travel speeds of up to six meters per second. At the pick-up station, a laser signals to the user which book is to be removed. The procedure is similar for the return – an employee scans the individual barcode on the book, the AS/RS sends for the corresponding container to return the book to its storage place. “A special feature is being able to view the operation through a panoramic window,” says Biolchini.
Another advantage of the AS/RS library solution is the efficient use of space. Thanks to customizable shelving and bin solutions, it requires only one seventh of the space of conventional library systems. The solution automatically detects free spaces to store the books. Intelligent software tracks the books with a very high accuracy. “Given the millions of books, journals, and other articles stored, our AS/RS library solution is a huge advance over the manual archiving process,” Biolchini points out.
Dematic designs, builds, and supports intelligent automated solutions empowering and sustaining the future of commerce for its customers in manufacturing, warehousing, and distribution. With research and development engineering centers, manufacturing facilities, and service centers located in more than 35 countries, the Dematic global network of over 11,000 employees has helped achieve approximately 8,000 worldwide customer installations for some of the world’s leading brands. Headquartered in Atlanta, Dematic is a member of KION Group, one of the world’s leading suppliers of industrial trucks and supply chain solutions.
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