Utah State Archives ALS

Utah State Archives

The Utah State Archives facility, located in the newly renovated Rio Grande Depot, is the first fully automated archive collection in the United States. The collection houses Utah's oldest and most valuable documents, photos, pictographs, and glass negatives, as well as the original Utah State Constitution.

System Objective

Archivists needed a storage solution that offered this priceless collection a secure and consistently controlled environment while maximizing the use of space. Dematic, excited to participate in the project, implemented a system that utilized archival approved shelving to ensure that no contaminants are introduced into the collection.

Utah State Archives Automated Library System
Utah State Archives Automated Library System


Okland Construction, one of Utah's premier General Contractors, provided general construction and subcontractor selection and management. CRSA completed the facility design. Dematic provided two storage retrieval machines, two pick up and delivery stations, and the system control software with associated archive application interfaces.

The facility footprint totaled 7,592 square feet with 44' in height. A two aisle stand alone rack is located in a four foot pit, relative to the pickup and delivery stations. It provides 5 levels and 18 bays of triple deep rack, for a total of 1,080 locations. Each rack location provides storage for 48 archive boxes, for a total capacity of 51,840 boxes. All locations are capable of storing loads of 34" (DA) x 54" (CA) x 85" (high).

Storage & Retrieval Machines

The storage retrieval machines used are triple deep unit loads that interface automatically to pickup and deposit stations at the front of the rack.

System Controls

Dematic Equipment Management Software (EMS) was chosen to manage the automated system. Dematic EMS interfaces directly with archive application software to create load movements, track location information and provide collection analysis. A successful, ground-breaking project, the facility provides the State of Utah with strategic collection management capabilities for many years to come.

Customer Benefits

  • The ALS allows rapid access to the archival collection.
  • The ALS design uses less than 25% of the square footage typically required for conventional archival shelving solutions. This translates into an initial construction savings of approximately 20,400 square feet or $2,042,000 (assuming construction costs of $100 per sq. ft.).
  • The ALS includes the flexibility to house everything from boxed archival material to larger archival items including a safe which houses the State's original constitution.
  • The ALS operates in a controlled environment that is beneficial to the longevity of the collection.
  • The ALS computer system provides an automated self-auditing process.