The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is deploying robots to handle and retrieve old case files at its central records complex in Winchester, Virginia. The FBI deals with a lot of paper files from and new cases. To security, well-being and retrieval of these paper files are the responsibilities of The General Service Administration (GSA). In a first-of-its-kind initiative, the FBI thinks it’s a good idea to deploy robots to do the job.
GSA installed an automated record filing and retrieval system from robotics technology company, AutoStore, inside a recently completed FBI central records complex in Winchester, Virginia. The facility includes America’s first robotic filing and retrieval warehouse in a GSA project.
This new facility measures 250,000-square-foot and was built to consolidate and contain records previously housed within 256 field offices around the world. Built for nearly 500 employees, the Virginia complex opened earlier this year and will be fully operational by 2022.
Usually, paper files are arranged in a way to keep aisle space so that people can walk past to reach a particular file. The technology provided by AutoStore eliminates the need for aisle space and uses all available areas for filing documents. It does so by using bins instead.
Within the cube, 140 fast and reliable radio-controlled robots maneuver through an overhead steel grid system 16 levels deep, to identify and retrieve requested items from any of 360,000 filing bins.
“The software tracks both record and bin numbers, allowing the robots to work securely without the system supplier having any access to the records themselves. Placed away into darkened, climate-controlled bins, paper records are also safe from environmental elements,” said the company in a statement.