The Swiss retail giant Coop supplies all Swiss shops from its central deep-freeze distribution centre in Schafisheim. Coop's deep-freeze solution boasts the highest possible degree of automation – from depalletising to palletising. Cooling in different temperature zones is crucial: In keeping with the motto "only as cold as necessary", the temperature varies between - 5° C during depalletising and palletising as well as down to -23° C in the pallet and shuttle warehouse. The compact design and highly efficient equipment significantly reduce energy costs.
MINIMISATION OF SPACE REQUIREMENTS AND ENERGY COSTS: The solution's compact design enables the footprint to be considerably reduced. The volumes to be cooled and the resulting energy costs are minimised accordingly.
SHOP-ORIENTED AND VOLUME-OPTIMISED: Thanks to automated packing pattern creation, Coop achieves high-volume utilisation on the roll containers, thereby reducing the transport volume. In addition, shop-oriented palletisation reduces the effort required to store items in shops.
The automated solution encompasses the entire process – from depalletising frozen goods and storage of individual units in the Stingray shuttle system, to picking and fully-automated mixed-carton palletising.
The goods are delivered on pallets either by an external party or from the production plant at the respective warehouse site. At -23 °C, the items required in the supermarkets are stored on pallets in a high-bay warehouse with an aisle height of approx. 40 m. The multi-aisle pallet warehouse is comprised of 17,000 storage locations.
Three Splitex depalletising robots ensure fully-automated unloading of pallets and the demand-driven replenishment in the shuttle warehouse, which serves as a highly-dynamic picking buffer. Once the supply for a certain item drops below the minimum inventory, it is automatically removed from the pallet warehouse stock and transported for depalletising. The Stingray shuttles can stock and retrieve several thousand cartons an hour at -23 °C. These are transported in sequence to the palletising stations.
Manual picking is especially difficult in the deep-freeze area. Therefore, Coop has opted for fully-automated mixed case palletising: Nine Autostax palletising robots are used at -5 °C. These stack the cartons, in a way that is volume-optimised and based on the specific shop, on roll containers before being transported to the goods issue buffer
Thanks to fully-automated picking, the workload on employees in the deep-freeze working environment is reduced and gentle handling of sensitive goods is ensured.
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