Warehouse automation specialist Swisslog has installed the AutoStore robotic storage and retrieval system in facilities of all descriptions throughout the world. While those clients are typically looking for a boost in speed and efficiency, with its latest installation, the company had to provide a different kind of deliverable—top-level security.
Swisslog recently installed an AutoStore unit at the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) newly constructed central records complex in Winchester, Virginia. At more than 250,000 square feet, this secure facility will consolidate more than 2 billion pages of records previously housed within 256 field offices around the world, Swisslog says. That's the equivalent of 117 miles of paper records, according to the company, which also noted that if stacked vertically, these records would reach halfway to the International Space Station.
At the center of the new operation is the AutoStore, a dense material handling system that eliminates aisles and uses all available space. Filing and retrieval operations are carried out by radio-controlled robots that maneuver through an overhead grid system to retrieve the appropriate storage bin. To guarantee secrecy, the customer software tracks only the record and bin numbers, allowing the robots to work securely without the vendor's knowing anything about the records themselves, Swisslog says.