(Marchtrenk, Austria, 28 April 2023) TGW has developed an innovative system that will allow grocery producers and retailers, as well as foodservice distributors, to react flexibly to the challenges of the future. With FullPick, both pallets and roll cages can be loaded completely automatically and in a shop-friendly manner.
The modular solution for picking mixed pallets (mixed case palletizing) is based on TGW's decades of experience, especially in refrigerated and freezer applications. Experience was also drawn from best practice examples, such as COOP in Switzerland, and incorporated into the standardized modules. As a result, the TGW experts who developed FullPick, analyzed and optimized the entire grocery fulfillment process from goods receiving to sequencing to fully automated order picking. Additionally, TGW supplies its clients with everything from mechatronics to software, all from a single source.
One key component of FullPick is the new generation of the fully automatic AutoStax palletizer. Used for mixed case palletizing, AutoStax can load orders onto both pallets and roll cages for optimal store replenishment. FullPick also offers the option of a fully integrated module for split case piece picking. The big advantage: unlike in conventional solutions, this does not require a separate storage system from the mixed case palletizing. All order types are sequenced through a single automated storage and retrieval system.
Split case picking is becoming more important in the grocery industry because supermarkets are relying more on small city shops, which are supplied with individual products rather than bulk packages. On the other hand, the "classic" branch stores still need to be supplied with pallets.
"With FullPick, customers can react flexibly to changes in shop network structure and increase their resilience in the face of future challenges. Heraclitus' aphorism that 'nothing is permanent except change' also applies to the grocery industry and grocery retail; it is therefore no longer a matter of whether to automate, but when," affirms Michael Schedlbauer, Vice President of Business Development Grocery at TGW.
Volatile supply chains, labor shortages, stricter ergonomics regulations, and the availability of space are the biggest drivers of automation, according to TGW experts. Additionally, "The rising energy prices are becoming an important criterion, particularly in refrigerated and freezer applications. Compact automation reduces the volume that needs to be cooled, and the lower that volume, the lower the operating costs," explains Schedlbauer.
Investments are being made into refrigeration and freezer logistics projects because more people are opting for healthier diets than before, which means that sensitive foods like fruit, vegetables, and milk and protein substitute products need to be delivered to stores quickly. Even discount stores that have relied on optimized manual processes for decades are now turning to automation. The advantage of FullPick is that the system can be implemented in new building installations (greenfield), as well as existing building installations (brownfield).
In order to better support customers in the grocery industry and grocery retail, TGW is pooling its expertise: the Business Unit Grocery Retail, a global team headed by Peter Ehrenhuber, is responsible for the further development of store-friendly automation solutions.