In a development that gives new meaning to the phrase "higher education," an 80-foot-tall automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS) from Daifuku America Corp. is helping Utah State University reclaim floor space in its Merrill-Cazier Library. When the installation is completed this fall, the new equipment will provide students, faculty and staff with automated access to the school's collection of more than 1.5 million books and journals.
Utah State University, like many other colleges and universities across the nation, is challenged with a growing collection of books and a finite amount of space. Though the library is new construction, the project was approved by Utah's legislature as "replacement space," meaning that the new structure had to fit within the old building's footprint. As adding square footage was not an option, Utah State University was left with two alternatives: off-campus storage or dense storage. In the end, it selected dense storage to keep the collection on campus and easily accessible to students, faculty and staff.
The AS/RS, combined with RFID and bar-code technology, will improve service to students by offering quick and easy access to library materials.With the new system, students and faculty can query titles from a desktop computer within the library, check availability and then request that the book or journal be retrieved from the five-story warehouse located within the library. One of three automated cranes will travel across vertical and horizontal tracks and pull the specified bookcase from the AS/RS and deliver it to the circulation area so that the librarian can pull the requested book for pickup by the patron. The entire process is expected to take as little as two minutes.