Automated Box-making Capability

Enclosures are protective housings for library artifacts. They serve a number of preservation functions, the most obvious being the protection of objects from mechanical damage and the collation of separate artifacts, such as archival records and manuscript materials. Enclosures also serve to preserve object in more subtle, but equally important, ways. One chief benefit of a preservation enclosure is its ability to buffer against environmental change. Short spikes in temperature and relative humidity often have no impact on materials stored in enclosures and the rate of environmental change inside of an enclosures is dramatically slower, reducing the effect of harmful environmental fluctuations. Enclosures that are constructed of archival quality materials - acid and lignin free boards, and boards with an additional alkaline reserve - also help draw harmful chemicals away from library artifacts, greatly reducing the effects of acid hydrolysis.

The Craig Lab creates a wide array of enclosures for the artifacts in the Libraries collections.   Indiana University is one of a small number of institutions that owns and utilizes a Kasemake KM503A box-making machine.  In normal operation is it capable of producing an average of 400+ enclosures per 40 hour work week.




With the October 2001 installation of a Kasemake 503A box-making machine, the Indiana University Bloomington Libraries became the first academic research library in the country to automate the process of creating protective enclosures for fragile books. The box-making machine was purchased with private donations.

This computer-driven machine can produce intricate boxes in minutes, drastically reducing the time required to create enclosures. The Kasemake takes over the work of cutting and scoring the sheets of board. Staff members enter a book's dimensions into a database, and a design program then reads the data.  The operator batches several enclosures together to optimize the use of materials.

Enclosure production became a particularly important activity with the opening of the Ruth Lilly Auxiliary Library Facility (ALF) that provides secure, climate controlled shelving for approximately four million volumes from the IU Libraries Collections.  In addition enclosures are created for the Lilly Library materials being transferred to the ALF as well as for many fragile books currently housed at Bloomington's 18 other campus libraries.

Some notables for the automated box-making system:

  • Over 100,000 enclosures to date (since January 2002).

  • Machine Specifications:
  • Width: 2180 mm.  (85.8 inches)
  • Length: 2345 mm. (92.3 inches)
  • Weight: 427 kilos. (940 lbs)

Power Requirements:

  • Standard 220 - 60 Hz (for single phase vacuum pump)
  • Standard 110 (for computer and table controller)

Staff: 1 Operator (1 FTE)

Materials Used:

  • Solid-core Paper Board up to 40" x 60": 20pt, 40pt, 60pt, 80pt (Binder's Board)
  • Corrugated Board
  • Most papers and book cloths
  • Tyvek, Mylar, & other synthetic films