Friday, January 28, 2011

Total Logistics And Jungheinrich Book Their Place

(and Place Their Books) in History
Shipping News Feature

UK – When one of the most prestigious libraries in the world decided to commission a new £26 million storage facility, the logistics of moving existing and inputting new content were of primary concern. Oxford’s Bodleian Library houses some of the most treasured books, maps and manuscripts ever produced including four copies of the Magna Carta and Shakespeare’s first folio . The Library is entitled to receive a copy of every book published in the UK, which means it receives on average some 1,000 volumes a day, and some five kilometres of extra shelf space is needed every year to house the ever expanding collections.

Over the next year nearly 6 million volumes will be freighted over to the Swindon facility in what will be the biggest book move in the Bodleian’s history. The collections had been stored in an 11 storey book stack housed within ‘the Bod’ at Oxford University and in an underground book store deep under the streets of Oxford itself as well as in a number of temporary storage facilities outside the City. However, it was clear that a purpose built unit was required to house some of the millions of books in an environment that would ensure they would not deteriorate and in a way that allowed each volume to be quickly and located and picked should a student request a copy.

The new facility was designed using the services of architects Scott Brownrigg and the entire project has been coordinated by consultants Total Logistics who tell us all is progressing well with Dr Sarah Thomas, the Bodleian’s Librarian and Director of Oxford University Library Services, saying:

“The importance of the Bodleian Libraries and their extraordinary collections cannot be overestimated. The completion of the Book Storage Facility ensures that the Libraries’ unparalleled collections are preserved and protected for future generations.

Total Logistics is making a substantial contribution to the success of this huge undertaking. Their understanding of the complex nature of this unique storage facility and their attention to detail is impressive and will have a positive impact on library services for years to come.”

The Book Storage Facility has been designed around 31 aisles of very narrow aisle (VNA) high density storage shelving. Each aisle is 71 metres long and the shelving is 11.4 metres high. When full, the new warehouse will house some 8.4 million books, maps, manuscripts, microfilms, periodicals and newspapers dating back to the 18th century and moving the books to their new home will be a massive undertaking.

During the stocking phase, trays of books will be delivered from their current locations by truck and the principals involved decided to utilise handling equipment supplied by Jungheinrich. On arrival at the new facility, the trays will be transferred to their allocated place within the shelving system by Jungheinrich EKS 312 ZG order pickers fitted with specially designed ‘tray to shelf’ trolleys which will service the book aisles.

The trolleys were designed by Jungheinrich to allow the maximum number of book trays to be delivered quickly, efficiently and safely. Made from steel with stainless steel tops, the trolleys have three levels. Using the EKS 312 ZG’s supplementary lifting feature, the operator raises the trolley to the precise level required and the trays of books are simply slid across from the truck into the shelving. Once book trays from the top level of the trolley have been transferred, the operator collapses the empty shelf to allow easy access to the second level. This process is repeated before put-away is commenced from the lowest tier on the trolley. This results in significant ergonomic benefits for the truck operator and also makes book put away highly productive.

Once the book migration is complete two of the model ZG order pickers with the supplementary lift feature will be converted by the Jungheinrich project team on site to LG models. They will also be fitted with a different type of picking trolley that has been designed by the Jungheinrich team to allow books to be quickly and easily picked to fulfil student and researcher book requests and then returned to be put away in their allocated location within the shelving.

In addition to the order pickers, Jungheinrich has supplied a fleet of powered pallet trucks and an electric powered counterbalance fork truck. The counterbalance truck is required predominantly to change the order pickers’ batteries while the powered pallet trucks will help deliver incoming trays of books directly to the P&D area at the end of each aisle where they will be collected by the order pickers for put-away.

The bespoke storage facility that has been designed for the Oxford libraries has capacity to support the libraries’ projected growth over the next 20 years. Unlike most logistics operations where picking will involve replenishment, this application is unique as it will house eight million individual items – and only one of each. In addition, when a reader has finished with the requested item, it will be returned from Oxford and processed back into the storage location. This reverse logistics operation is integral to the solution.

Photo: The Radcliffe Square entrance to the Bodleian Library, Oxford