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The racks-and-containers system of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation (locations: Ekaterinburg and Nizhny Tagil)

This system was originally designed for automation of valuables storage in the Bank of Russia. It is in use since 1995.

At present, 5 largest cash vaults of the Sverdlovsk region (Russia), the largest Bank of Russia document storage of the Sverdlovsk region (Russia), and the cash operating unit of the Central Vault of the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus are all equipped with this system.

The basic component parts of ACCESS are:
• Containers;
• Racks with bins combined in a micro network;
• Forklifts;
• Computer network of the storage, equipped with Upper Level Software.

Containers are light fireproof aluminum boxes holding either 100 banknote packages (100 kg) or 25 bags with coins (160 kg). Each container is equipped with two touch memory buttons (microchips with nonvolatile memory). One of the microchips contains a unique number of its container and all data on its contents. For the purpose of writing or reading these data, container is put on a special trolley equipped with a reading/writing device and connected to the COM port of the PC with a special cable.

The other microchip ensures that the state of the cover (open/closed) is continuously monitored both during storage in racks and during transportation on a forklift.

Containers are placed in bins of the racks, several pieces in each vertical row. The racks are installed in vaults in parallel rows, with aisles between every two rows. It is expedient and space saving. Besides that, direct access to each bin is ensured from one of the aisles.

Every bin of the racks is equipped with a contact set. The contact sets are united in one micronetwork that is connected to the storehouse’s LAN.

Containers are transported indoors with automatic forklifts driven by individual electric motors. Forklifts are interchangeable, and it’s possible to concentrate several forklifts in any of the vaults to achieve the highest possible productivity at a required time in a required place.

The whole system is controlled with the Upper Level Software comprising messenger program, operator’s software, and process control software. The messenger program is usually launched at the server.

Functions of the messenger program:
• ensures interaction of all components of the system (operator - forklift, process software - micronetwork, operator - process software, etc.);
• logs events

The database of the system is also located in the server. Architecture of the DB - client-server.

The process software offers tools for work with the micronetwork:
• monitoring of the micronetwork;
• restart of controllers;
• work with IR communication;
• diagnostics.

Functions of the operator’s software
• Monitoring the vault (displaying the layout view of the racks on the screen, with automatic redrawing at any changes in the status of the bins; checking for any unauthorized removal/misplacement of containers and opening of their covers; viewing system logs).
• Support of technological processes (Reception, dispensation, counting, and sorting of valuables; writing data on container contents to the container’s nonvolatile memory; drawing up container relocation plans and transferring tasks to forklifts).
• Information retrieval functions (Search for container, or bin, and its representation in the layout of the vault; getting information on container, rack, vault, a set of bins; creating inquiries by any set of attributes, graphics representation of the sample on the layout of the vault).
• Consolidated analysis apparatus (Analysis of the dynamics of the vault occupation; storage and representation of the «history» of a container or a vault, etc.).
• Generation and printout of documents (documents by processes, operation day documents, resulting documents).

Developing ACCESS leads to automation of the whole cash operating unit. Thus automation of the Central Vault of the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus was launched in 2004. By now all cash processing rooms, operating cash desks, and vaults have been automated (two of these vaults have been equipped with ACCESS).