New Distribution Center for COOP

COOP’s fully automated deep-freeze warehouse in Schafisheim, Switzerland

The initial situation: Getting the project started

COOP aspires to be the best and most customer-oriented food retailer in Switzerland. This goal entails a large number of intralogistics requirements. For this reason, COOP launched an intralogistics project worth 600 million Swiss francs in 2012 based on the following conditions:

  • Three regional distribution centers, three deep-freeze distribution centers, and three large bakeries at a single location
  • Implementation of high degrees of system automation and state-of-the-art robotics
  • Best possible support of COOP's CO2 targets
  • Finding a strong intralogistics partner with the necessary technology as well as an understanding of how COOP thinks and what COOP’s goals are

This ambitious project was supposed to go far beyond a simple warehouse. That’s why COOP was looking for an intralogistics provider as a general contractor capable of implementing such a complex overall system over various temperature ranges. The result was an integrated intralogistics system on a floor space of more than 240,000 square meters and comprising several buildings. The essential parts are: A refrigerated logistics center and a fully automated deep-freeze warehouse allowing COOP to set new standards.

Facts and figures about TGW’s intralogistics solution

The customer   

  • COOP Cooperative, Distribution Center Schafisheim, Switzerland
  • Swiss Cooperative: Food retailing, wholesale, specialized retail and food production
  • Turnover: Over 29 billion Swiss francs (2017)
  • More than 86,000 employees (2017)
  • Over 2,400 points of sale


The project






"Concentrating large quantities of goods at one location allows investing in automation and robotics."

Interview with Daniel Hintermann, Director Logistics at COOP

  • Integrated and automated intralogistics system
  • Storage automation for refrigeration and deep-freezing, dry-goods, bakery products, and empty container handling (meaning reusable packaging for all Swiss branches)
  • Concentration of three regional distribution centers, three deep-freeze distribution centers, and three large bakeries at one location
  • 2- or 3-shift operation depending on sector
  • Investment volume: 600 million Swiss francs
  • Over 10,000 tons of CO2 reduction per year
  • Cost-saving of 50 million Swiss francs per year
  • Project realization in several stages from 2012 to 2016; going into full operation: June 2016
  • Customized maintenance and service plan
  • 130 million units per year

The intralogistics solution

The intralogistics system implemented by TGW interconnects various incoming goods zones, pallet warehouses, picking zones, and outgoing goods areas through conveyor technology using roller containers. The two main building complexes are interconnected by a 160 meter bridge and include facilities for:

  • Frozen goods: A fully automated system for handling frozen goods at -23C°, from depalletizing to storage in the shuttle system to order picking by robots.
  • Refrigerated goods: A fully automated logistics center for refrigerated goods (+2° C) used for suppling the branches with a daily throughput of the entire shuttle warehouse’s goods.
  • Empty packaging — "The Return Center": Automated empty packaging centers for delivery and recycling (depalletizing and emptying, washing, sorting and palletizing) of empty containers (cardboard, plastic, biomass).
  • Dry goods storage with 4,536 pallet slots (expandable to 5,670 slots) and a storage and retrieval capacity of 160 pallets per hour. Seven picking modules ("pick by voice") with multi-customer picking.
  • Bakery and pastry goods: Production of 50,000 tons per year
  • Cross-docking for deliveries from regional distribution centers (food/non-food slow-moving products).

Ongoing operations: Costs and maintenance

Operation cost optimization starts with the planning process

As early as in the planning phase it is of crucial importance to develop customized maintenance and service plans. This allows for a drastic reduction in operating costs and, consequently, by far lower total cost of ownership.



"We were looking for a company whose market behavior is similar to that of COOP, meaning sustainability and environmentally-friendliness."

Domenico Repetto, Director of Logistics, Northwest Logistics Region

Total Cost of Ownership

TGW always considers operating costs for each and every system, component, and product. This is the only way that ambitious cost and CO2 reduction targets be reached, as is shown, for example, at COOP. The main focus is on total cost of ownership (TCO) over the entire life cycle. TCO-optimized planning begins with seemingly unimportant items such as energy recovery units or power-saving axis control for the pallet stacker cranes. This is especially true in the refrigeration and deep-freeze sector – by providing the highest possible storage density.

In addition to small distances between the stored goods, COOP also benefits from the compact design of many of these components, such as the Stingray shuttle system. In the area of energy costs, the deep-freeze warehouse occupies a special position: Through the use of automation and robotics, COOP minimizes the total volume of goods needing cooling. If the temperatures are then consistently optimized – as cold as necessary, but not colder – and the oxygen content is reduced to 14%, a cost-optimized deep-freeze warehouse is created.


Michael Schedlbauer

Industry Manager Grocery
Please send an email
+43(0)50 486 1580

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