The city of Hamburg, Germany, has 17 libraries that recently implemented a fully automated check-in and checkout system that includes a network of “smart” conveyors reminiscent of those used in cutting-edge warehouses and factories.

The city of Hamburg, Germany, has 17 libraries that handle approximately 2 million books, CDs and DVDs annually. Recently, the libraries implemented a fully automated check-in and checkout system to help their staffs maintain a more accurate record of their holdings and provide greater convenience for library users.

The system not only employs the latest in RFID technology to keep track of materials. It also includes a network of “smart” conveyors reminiscent of those used in cutting-edge warehouses and factories. Automated material-handling company FKI Logistex (Leicestershire, UK) both designed and installed the new systems.

Central to each library’s material- handling system is a set of Library Mate self-check-in units. To operate, patrons simply place the items that they are returning inside the machine where a small belt transports them past a scanner. As the machine scans each item’s embedded RFID chip, it also reactivates the chip’s antitheft protection program. A red light indicates the machine is processing an item. A green indicates when the process is complete.

Once it has been checked in, each book, CD or DVD travels by cross-belt sorter to one of dozens of different carts or cartons so a librarian will be able to easily place it on the correct shelf. The sorter has capacity of 4,500 items per hour and is comprised of a series of powered belts that direct the items to where they belong.

For more on RFID and automated material handling, call 877-935-4564 or visit www.fkilogistex.com.