With an all-wheel-drive through the logistics winter
TGW – the pioneers among the freezer logistics experts
An automated logistics solution comprises the complex interaction between numerous systems, components, products and processes. Challenges like ensuring the cold and freezer chain have to be considered right from the start in order to guarantee long-lasting satisfaction in every step up to the end customer. TGW has been working in the grocery industry for years and aimed its products at this industry – every system, every component and every product can be used in temperatures from +40 to -30 degree Celsius without any difficulty.
A pizza or an ice lolly from the freezer. Before we bring home our frozen food, it travels through an unbroken cold chain. At least that is how it's supposed to be because "the highest possible quality is crucial when it comes to food," knows Michael Schedlbauer, Industry Manager for grocery retail at TGW Logistics Group. High-performance freezer material handling technology contributes to achieving high quality standards. "The logistics solution has to perfectly meet the requirements of an unbroken cold chain. At TGW this is the standard." The TGW experts have been dealing with the automation of freezer warehouses from the goods receiving area to the dispatch area for years. The know-how was also integrated into the development of the shuttle technology. "TGW is the first company that brought a standardised shuttle system for freezer warehouses onto the market. Our largest shuttle-based freezer solution yet went live a short time ago," says the expert happily.
At the Coop site in Schafisheim, Switzerland, TGW implemented an extensive logistics system for the grocery giant which comprises not only the fully automatic freezer warehouse but also the warehouse for dry goods, the cooling machine and an empty totes centre. All temperature ranges can be found, from -25 degree Celsius up to normal room temperature for dry goods.
Standardised TGW freezer solution as success factor
Yes, there are many challenges when planning and implementing a freezer distribution centre. And yes, the technology has to be adapted to master these challenges. But: For TGW it does not make any difference if they install a Stingray Shuttle in an ambient temperature of +40 or -30 degrees Celsius. "For the use in arctic conditions, only two components have to be manufactured from different materials than the components for vehicles for normal ambient temperatures. That is the only difference, a little winter equipment, so to speak," explains Schedlbauer. Another advantage of the technology: for maintenance works the shuttle can be easily removed from the warehouse aisle and checked in a normal temperature area.
In the grocery retail industry, the automation of freezer warehouses has been on the agenda for years. The working conditions for employees in freezer areas are extremely demanding. The logical result is the automation beginning from de-palletising and storage to picking and palletising. "The performance of the freezer technology is not inferior to the one for normal temperatures at all, there is indeed no difference. With the shuttles we reach the highest performance possible, even in the freezing cold. To do so, our shuttles drive through the logistics winter with winter equipment and an all-wheel drive!" That is how the TGW system secures high availability and high performance at the same time. Additionally, also the energy efficiency is considered.
Coop with a fully automatic, energy efficient freezer warehouse
Especially in arctic temperatures it is crucial to consider the operating costs and thus also the energy efficiency. Considering the Total Cost of Ownership is an important factor when planning a logistics centre. A shuttle warehouse needs less space and at the same time has a higher storage density. "This is a significant aspect when it comes to costs for cooling. The higher the storage density the lower the actual warehouse size. It totally works out because less space has to be cooled. Therefore, it is time and cost saving. At the same time our system is a sustainable and responsible solution for the customers and their future," says Michael Schedlbauer.
That's how it works also at Coop: At a temperature of -25 degree Celsius the so-called Pick Engine is supplied with goods from the pallet warehouse with 17,000 storage locations. De-palletising machines of the type TGW Splitex separate the cartons. Subsequently, Stingray Shuttles store up to 4,500 cartons per hour in the 40,000 storage locations and retrieve them according to the orders. In the next step, TGW Autostax palletising stations fully automatically prepare volume-optimised and store-friendly cartons according to packing patterns.
The overall result is impressive: "With the new logistics centre in Schafisheim, Coop massively reduces its ecological footprint. The CO2 emission is reduced by 10,000 tons per year," explains the Industry Manager. "We are happy that we could make a significant contribution with our TGW technology. The securing of highest grocery quality is the primary prerequisite for high performance deep freeze logistics. Therefore, our all-wheel shuttle is not put off its stride by arctic temperatures."
Take a look at our web page about freezer logistics here.