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Automated Materials Handling

The efficiency of materials handling is significantly improved with Libramation’s ACT-Return and ACT-Sorting Unit. The entire system is modular and expandable providing the library with great flexibility in designing the type of installation that would work best in their particular situation. The system is available with a minimum of a single return station with a 3-way sorting of materials, and can be expanded to multiple interior and exterior return stations with more than 200 bins as allowed by the SIP2 protocol. Materials can be moved around corners and up and down floors and may be sorted by many criteria including circulation status, location, item type and call number.


Libramation’s ACT-Return units can process RFID-tagged and/or barcoded items. As an item is placed by the patron on to the return belt, the Lib~Digit Return software checks to see if the item has an RFID tag. If no tag is detected, the system then scans the item’s barcode. The item being returned does not have to be in a specific position in order for the system to read its RFID tag. However if the item is not RFID ready, then it must be inserted into the return unit in a position that allows its barcode to be scanned. The barcode must be facing up and reasonably parallel to the front of the unit. Libramation uses an extremely intelligent barcode scanner unit that will read barcodes at up to a 30-degree angle.

Interior ACT-Return Unit

The Interior Return Unit is designed to be installed into any interior wall or may be connected directly to the ACT-Sorting Unit, with the combined unit free standing in the library. The return unit can feed materials into the ACT-Sorting Unit, or can drop them into a book bin on the other side of the wall. The unit comes equipped with a receipt printer and provides patrons the ability to receive a receipt for materials as they are returned.

Exterior ACT-Return Unit

The Exterior ACT-Return system comes equipped with an exterior window to protect the return unit from weather and vandalism. The window is motorized to open vertically, and is activated when the scanner/RFID antenna, mounted to scan through the glass, identifies either a patron card or library item. If additional security is desired, a security camera can be installed within the unit. Once the window is open, the return process and look of the unit is similar to that of the Interior Return Unit. The Exterior Return Unit has a fan that circulates warm air between the window and the touchscreen component. This reduces possible condensation on the window and maintains a tolerance factor for the touchscreen working temperature.

Exterior return terminal

Staff Induction Unit

The Staff Induction Unit is a special return station, connected to the sorter, for use by library staff. As each item goes through the Staff Induction Unit, the item is marked as returned in the ILS, the EAS security bit reset and the items are moved to the sorter. These units can greatly reduce material handling by staff and once again maximize the sorting capacity of the system installed in the branch.

Staff Return stations



Multiple Return Stations

An ACT-Sorting Unit can be connected to more than one ACT-Return Unit, using intersections and additional conveyors. For example, one of our installations has one interior and one exterior return unit that come together at 90 degrees and feed into a single ACT-Sorting system. This allows the library to have multiple return stations but only one sorting system, ensuring the system is utilized to its maximum potential.


Libramation’s ACT-Sorting system is exceptionally flexible, allowing each installation to be tailored to its specific location. This gives Libramation the ability to design an installation that meets the library’s specific system and physical requirements. Our installations can include multiple ACT-Return units, which can then connect to a single sorting unit. Our conveyor design allows for materials to be returned on multiple levels. Materials can be moved around corners, merged together from other locations, and moved up or down several storeys using either elevators or chutes.

Return and Sorting in Common Areas

The library may wish to consider placing a return and sorting unit in the public area of the library. The unit is surrounded with a protection guard to ensure that patrons can not come in contact with any moving parts. The bins are fully protected and locked in place, securing the items inside. When a bin has reached capacity staff members must use a key switch to remove it from the sorting unit. As a security feature, when a bin is removed all mechanical movements of the system stop until the bin is replaced. Libramation has installed a similar unit around a structural column allowing a library to utilize space that was considered unusable.

Standard Book Bin

Libramation’s Standard Bin is designed to receive multiple types of library materials without damaging the items. It is outfitted with a spring-loaded built-in float tray that depresses as materials are added and moves up as materials are unloaded, easing stress on the shoulders and backs of staff members because materials are maintained at a constant working level. The bin is equipped with a Fill Control sensor that detects when it is full. The system then notifies library staff as well as diverts any subsequent incoming material into a default bin to prevent damage and dumping of material on the floor.


Width: 700mm (27.56”) Length: 900mm (35.43”) Height: 800mm (31.50”) Weight(empty): 13.6kg (30 lbs.)

Libramation’s standard bin


This unit is an electrically powered bin with an optic eye system that minimizes the distance material falls — reducing subsequent damage — by raising and lowering the bottom of the bin depending on the level of materials. The cushioned float tray has no gaps between it and the bin walls for materials to fall to the bottom of the cart, and the system reduces back strain for employees because materials rise to the worker. The Ergo-Bin is of metal construction and is easily maneuverable with a two- or four-wheel swivel option. It includes a gel-pack battery that is recharged when connected to the sorter. The unit sends a message to designated staff workstations when the bin is full and needs to be replaced.


Width: 630mm (27.5”) Length: 740mm (29”) Height: 900mm (35.5”) Weight(empty): 38.6kg (85 lbs.)

The Libramation Ergo-Bin

Ergo-Stack Trolley

The newest addition to the Libramation Act-Sort system, is our latest ergonomic solution, the Ergo-Stack Trolley. Providing easy material handling with a wooden shelf to prevent material damage. Go here for more details. Or here to see the ergo-trolley in action.

Ergo-stack trolley (click to view images of trolley positions)

Customized Design and Consultation

Every library has specific needs based on building design and service model. Our design team works with the library to ensure that all the requirements and service goals are met. Each system is custom built for the location it is being installed, ensuring that it is a perfect fit.

Customized ACT Unit with 2 external return stations, 1 internal return station, 1 staff return station and 9 bins.
(Click to enlarge design pictures)

Scalable System

The modular design of the ACT-Sorting system allows a library to start with a minimum of three sorts and later enhance capacity by expanding the system through the addition of multiple bin sections. This expansion can occur without requiring a major reconfiguration of the system already in place. The existing components continue to be used; the only modifications would be a lengthening of the main belt to allow it to incorporate the additional modules, and system configuration required in the Sorting Logic control box.

scalable system makes expansion of sorting system an easy task

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