The Swiss grocery retailer Coop supplies all of its national retail stores from its central deep-freeze distribution center in Schafisheim, Switzerland. Coop's deep-freeze solution boasts the highest possible degree of automation – from depalletizing to palletizing. Cooling in different temperature zones is crucial: In keeping with the motto "only as cold as necessary", the temperature varies between 23° F during depalletizing and palletizing as well as down to -9° F in the pallet and shuttle warehouse. The compact design and highly efficient equipment significantly reduce energy costs.
SMALLER FOOTPRINT AND LOWER ENERGY COSTS The compact solution design allows for a smaller footprint and efficient space utilization. The goods in the deep-freeze warehouse are efficiently stored in high-density racking, reducing energy costs significantly.
STORE-FRIENDLY AND VOLUME-OPTIMIZED PACKING Fully automatic palletizing robots prepare store orders on ready-to-ship pallets. The items are palletized based on an optimized, pre-cubed pattern allowing for reduced transport costs. In addition, the items are stacked in a store-friendly manner helping Coop to reduce the effort putting away the delivered items in the store.
The automated end-to-end solution encompasses the entire process – from depalletizing frozen goods and storage of individual units in the shuttle system, to picking and fully automated mixed-carton palletizing.
The goods are delivered on pallets either by an external party or from the production plant at the respective warehouse. At -9 °F, the items required in the retail stores are stored on pallets in a high-bay warehouse at a height of approx. 131 ft. The multi-aisle pallet warehouse is comprised of 17,000 storage locations.
Splitex robotsautomatically depalletize pallets coming from the high-bay warehouse. The depalletized cartons are stored in a shuttle warehouse, which is utilized as a picking buffer. Once the supply of a certain item drops below the minimum inventory, the pallet warehouse automatically replenishes the shuttle warehouse with goods. Several thousand cartons an hour at -9 °F are stored and retrieved from the shuttle system. These are transported in sequence to robotic palletizing stations.
Manual picking is especially difficult in the deep-freeze area. Therefore, Coop has opted for fully automated mixed case palletizing: Autostax palletizing robots stack cartons in an optimized and store-friendly manner on roll cages at 23 °F. The roll cages are automatically wrapped and forwarded to the shipping area.
Depallitezing robots allow for fully automated picking (Autostax). The amount of time required for employees to stay physically in the deep-freeze environment has been significantly reduced.
TGW Lifetime Services allows for smooth operations and high availability of the system. The onsite TGW team works closely together with the Coop team making sure all processes are working efficiently.