State-of-the-art technology meets British history. 60 million newspapers are stored in the warehouse of the British Library in Boston Spa, UK, where the nation’s memory is stored in a high-tech area to conserve 300 years of history. Automated warehouse solutions provider TGW supplied and installed the automated solution.
The National Newspaper Building’s size and characteristics make it one of the most remarkable library buildings in the world, housing 300 years of local, regional and national newspapers, totalling an estimated 750 million pages. TGW supplied and installed an automated solution for the storage and retrieval of trays housing the newspapers and magazine media at the Boston Spa facility.
The building has full temperature and humidity control, which enables the British Library’s print newspaper collections to be kept in archival standard conditions for the first time ever. The store is dark and levels of oxygen in the airtight storage void reduced. No British Library staff enter the void, instead they rely on the automated storage system to deliver items through airlocks to an adjacent retrieval and picking area.
You can’t light a match in there
These sensitive pages equating to 33 linear kilometres of newspapers need a special environment for their ideal storage. The temperature in the void will be a constant 14°C and 55 per cent humidity to prolong the life of the fragile newspaper. Oxygen levels will be reduced to 14.6 per cent to eliminate the risk of fire – you would not be able to light a match in there!
The system allows multiple unique stock keeping units (newsprint) to be stored in each tray location maximising the use of storage space within the trays. TGW’s Warehouse Management System manages the items stored in each tray and the storage location of the tray within the automated environment.
TGW’s system secures history for the future
For this sophisticated system, TGW supplied three TGW Magnus stacker cranes with Spectra load handling device for double-deep storage of the trays. Fascinating numbers come with the new logistics facility: a throughput of 42 trays in and out per hour, 26,880 storage locations in a 56 horizontal bays with 40 vertical levels, a load carrying capacity of 300 kg of each tray, eight workstations. TGW furthermore cared about the PLC controls system as well as the Warehouse Management System knowing every process backstage.
Following the completion of the British Library project, TGW’s Lifetime Services Team was awarded a residential maintenance contract. The contract sees two new onsite residential colleagues supporting and maintaining the solution, accompanied by remote PLC & WCS support.
TGW Lifetime Services Director, Nathan Goudie said: “We are pleased about the successful realization of the project and at securing the support contract. We look forward to working long term with the British Library”.