The Swiss retail giant Coop supplies all Swiss shops from its central deep-freeze distribution center in Schafisheim. 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.
MINIMIZATION OF SPACE REQUIREMENTS AND ENERGY COSTS The solution's compact design enabled the footprint to be considerably reduced. The volumes to be cooled and the resulting energy costs are minimized accordingly.
SHOP-ORIENTED AND VOLUME-OPTIMIZED Thanks to automated packing pattern creation, Coop achieves high-volume utilization on the roll containers, thereby reducing the transport volume. In addition, shop-oriented palletization reduces the effort required to store items in shops.
The automated solution encompasses the entire process – from depalletizing frozen goods and storage of individual units in the Stingray 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 site. At -9 °F, the items required in the supermarkets are stored on pallets in a high-bay warehouse with an aisle height of approx. 131 ft. The multi-aisle pallet warehouse is comprised of 17,000 storage locations.
Three Splitex depalletizing 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 depalletizing. The Stingray shuttles can store and retrieve several thousand cartons an hour at -9 °F. These are transported in sequence to the palletizing stations.
Manual picking is especially difficult in the deep-freeze area. Therefore, Coop has opted for fully automated mixed case palletizing: Nine Autostax palletizing robots are used at -5 °C. These stack the cartons, in a way that is volume-optimized and based on the specific shop, on roll containers before being transported to the goods issue buffer
Thanks to fully automated picking (Autostax), the workload on employees in the deep-freeze working environment is reduced and gentle handling of sensitive goods is ensured.
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