Automation for fresh products

Date: 16.09.2021Source: WITRON

The Dutch food retailer Jumbo is realizing one of the most modern automated fresh food logistics centers in Europe with WITRON Logistik + Informatik GmbH. From the beginning of 2024, the 40,000 square meter facility in Nieuwegein will supply all stores in the Netherlands and Belgium with almost 2,900 different fresh items – dairy items, cheeses, meat products, tapas, salads, chilled beverages, and much more with a shelf life of at least 8 days. The central distribution center (CDC) is designed for an initial peak picking performance of more than 850,000 pick units per day. A modular expansion for future growth is already part of the overall concept. Furthermore, additional COM robotics lines are being installed in the existing dry goods warehouse during ongoing operations.

“The expansion of our store business, the growth of online shopping, and the increase of our product range – both fresh food and dry goods – demand short response times and high process flexibility. This is where we benefit from innovative and automated logistics systems, which we can scale efficiently as our requirements grow”, explains Karel de Jong, Director Supply Chain at Jumbo Supermarkten.


Automated material flow processes for all product groups and product sizes
In an ambient temperature range of +2 degrees Celsius, the WITRON robotic solutions Order Picking Machinery (OPM), Car Picking System (CPS), and All-in-One Order Fulfillment (AIO) automate all material flow processes for all product groups, product sizes, and distribution channels. In the shipping area, the roll containers are consolidated and made available in a mechanized shipping buffer via stacker cranes and heavy-duty lanes – in line with the tour, in the correct sequence, and just-in-time for dispatch.


Process an important factor
In addition to high cost-efficiency and flexibility, the logistics designers from WITRON focused particularly on reduction of heavy physical processes. And it is precisely here that the use of leading edge picking and IT solutions provides significant relief. In the future, case picking onto roll containers will be handled by the OPM system with 24 COM robotics lines, in line with store requirements and without the need for personnel. An expansion to 30 COM robotics lines is already considered in the concept. Thanks to the AIO solution, worker walking distances are reduced to a minimum despite highly dynamic piece picking processes, with tote supply and removal from the pick fronts being handled by stacker cranes and conveyor systems. Heavy and bulky products are loaded onto roll containers by the employees in a route-optimized manner – controlled via the CPS – in line with store requirements. Here, too, pallet replenishment in the pick aisles is controlled by automated stacker cranes.

All logistics areas are connected by an efficient, 14-kilometer-long conveyor network, which includes a total of 9,500 pallet store locations and more than 600,000 tote- and tray storage locations, as well as 138 stacker cranes.

As the general contractor, WITRON is responsible for the design and realization of all mechanical, IT, and control components. A WITRON OnSite team ensures a permanently high system availability.


Roland Sossna / IDM

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