freezer DC
for Nordfrost

Central deep-freeze distribution center

Project Motivation

In 2018, the freezer specialist Nordfrost decided to invest in a centralized distribution center for the region of western Germany. As a central hub, the newly constructed building in Herne, North Rhine-Westphalia will take over the supply of customers from the entire region. The distribution center is designed for high picking capacity and quality. Several thousand packaging units per hour can be processed in the DC, to a large extent in an automated process.

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At a glance


  • LOW SPACE REQUIREMENTS The solution is designed for high picking output and process quality — and within a minimally sized space to keep energy consumption lower.

  • OPTIMUM TEMPERATURE CONTROL Virtually all processes at the distribution center are automated in various temperature ranges in order to ensure ergonomic work conditions for employees in addition to product quality.

Initial situation

Within the last few years, the freezer specialist has grown significantly and wants to expand its capacities in the Ruhr area by concentrating them at one site. The newly constructed building in Herne will become a central hub and supply customers from the entire region. The distribution center is designed for high picking capacity and quality as well as flexibility. Several thousand packaging units per hour can be processed in the DC in a largely automated process according to the requirements of the customer and then made available for shipping.

Solution & Materialflow

  • Goods receipt and storage
    In the goods receipt area, non-mixed product lines are loaded and then either stored temporarily in the high-bay warehouse or transported directly to the depalletizing area. 
  • High-bay warehouse for pallets
    Pallets that come directly from the goods receipt area are stored in the high-bay warehouse in a clad rack structure with 42,000 frozen storage positions. Picked and palletized customer orders can also be stored temporarily.
  • Depalletizing and tray loading
    Depending on product characteristics, incoming goods are depalletized either by two Splitex depalletizing robots or at manual workstations, The depalletized products are temporarily stored on trays in the shuttle warehouse (approximately 66,000 storage locations) at -11° F. 
  • Order picking and palletizing
    After the customer orders are received, they are retrieved and transported sequentially to the workstations where the customer pallets are set up. After picking, a complete pallet is automatically wrapped and either transported directly to the goods receipt area or temporarily stored in the high-bay warehouse. 
  • Shipping
    Shipping labels are affixed to the pallets in the goods issue area and are made available for shipping on nine destination conveyor belts. 


Freezer shuttle technology

At Nordfrost, TGW Stingray Shuttles are utilized at -11° F. The low temperature is no problem for the powerful technology, which was originally developed with freezer applications in mind. The Shuttle warehouse achieves a high storage density thanks to its compact design (clad rack structure). The reduced space requirements result in lower energy costs for warehouse cooling, creating a positive impact on Nordfrost's Total Cost of Ownership.

About Nordfrost

Nordfrost Group is a global specialist in freezer logistics. The family-owned company, which was founded in 1975, has distribution centers throughout Germany and its network comprises 37 units in all areas of Europe. Nordfrost offers its customers from the grocery retail sector and industrial supply chain management everything from a single source: from transport to storage and picking to distribution.


Michael Schedlbauer
Vice President Business Development Grocery


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