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Subject: Compact shelving

Compact shelving

From: Ramona Duncan-Huse <rduncan>
Date: Tuesday, January 6, 1998
This was a query I received from another list; but I posted the same
sort of question last year on the DistList.  My response follows.
Others may be interested in the evaluation by my institution of
moveable compact shelving offered by these two companies.

>From: Dill, Christopher L. <ccmail.cdill [at] ranch__state__nd__us>
>Subject: Movable shelving question
>To: museum-l [at] home__ease__lsoft__com
>
>We are currently reviewing bids on a set of movable
>compact shelving on which we plan to store rather heavy
>archeological collections.  Does anyone on the List
>have experience with the reliability of Space Saver,
>White and Montel brands of shelving?

We have used Space Saver brand moveable shelving to move tons of
books in our library for 20 years... it is a mechanical electric
system.  Our local repair people have been very good at responding
to our needs... but the mechanical system versus the newer automated
system does break down because of the many "pieces parts" like
mechanical plungers, plugs that rely on intimate contact, electrical
cords, etc.   Also as our space expanded in those twenty years and
we wanted duplicate custom shelving parts, Space Saver was not able
to provide it. For the less-efficient, less-useful customized pieces
we had to purchase, we paid a high premium.

We are now building an entirely new facility and recently selected
Montel over continuing with Space Saver for our new storage vault.
We examined each system very carefully; and had mock-ups of Space
Saver and Montel built at our site for a day. We had our local Space
Saver rep come and talk extensively (several individual meetings)
with the director, curators and conservation staff about our needs.
Those weight, size,(most of which were custom) and paint
specifications went to all the other companies under consideration.
Each of the companies provided their top of the line features for
1997 in terms of automation, rail systems, materials, and of course,
powder-coated paint.

The Space Saver company shelving was thin, and required a lot of
separate support pieces (6 total!) that I assume you would require
because of the dimensions and weight of your specimens.  Imagine
having to move six separate pieces anytime you might need to shift
your storage arrangement! The Space Saver system still relied on a
mechanical plunger to relay electrical information in some of the
custom applications.

After much discussion about the Space Saver patented rail system, we
concluded it to be over-built.  We had samples of the three
available Space Saver rail systems evaluated by a non-partisan
mechanical engineer.  He indicated there was such a thing as
equipment being over-built, and this was an instance.  Space Saver
has been around a long time; but they shifted the rail system they
designed long ago for another purpose to the moveable shelving
world. We decided the Montel system, will perform very well.  We
move tons of books back and forth across a 4' aisle.. we do not move
tons of books several miles.  If we did, the overbuilt system for
Space Saver would be just what we needed.  We also wanted to use the
heavier shelving provided by Montel; ones that have four heavy-duty
clips that receive the shelf, without additional support bars
required by Space Saver.

The location of the electrical components in an end panel featured
by Montel was superior to Space Saver; which were located on the top
of the shelving.  We thought it better that any needed repair be
done from an end panel rather than getting up on a ladder in the
middle of an aisle in the middle of the collection.  Each company's
computer memory features were top of the line, but Montel has a
longer history with their automated features than Space Saver.

The bid from Space Saver was lower than Montel, but any additions to
the system we will need later will be extremely costly. This is
in-line with our experience with Space Saver.  Montel's bid was
higher from the outset but they guarantee their prices for future
requirements will remain a fixed (reasonable) cost. Their individual
components, even with custom features, were less individually than
Space Saver.

I hope this helps.. this research involved a LOT of man hours by our
entire collections staff. We took our decision very seriously, and
feel it was the most logical, and best product available.  Regards,

Ramona Duncan-Huse
Head of Conservation
Indiana Historical Society Library
315 W. Ohio Street
Indianapolis IN 46202
317-232-1879
Fax: 317-233-3109

                                  ***
                  Conservation DistList Instance 11:58
                Distributed: Wednesday, January 7, 1998
                       Message Id: cdl-11-58-007
                                  ***
Received on Tuesday, 6 January, 1998

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