Grocery e-shop automated its distribution centre: it can process 4,000 orders per hour

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Food logistics is governed by its laws. This applies to virtually all food products, and particularly demanding are those that must be stored and transported at a controlled temperature. This is also recognised by food e-commerce market participants, including Frisco owners.

Warehouse area of 11,000 sq m, 36,000 storage locations, handling of 600 x 400 mm containers, several temperature zones – this is the new eCommerce distribution centre in a nutshell, opened in Klaudyn near Warsaw (previously the company used a dilapidated facility in Warsaw’s Praga district).  

The host of the facility, is an online food retailer operating in Poland and the only player on this market who does not have any brick and mortar shops. The Warsaw company belongs to the Eurocash Group, delivers to customers seven days a week, uses its own fleet of vehicles and special pick-up stations. The company generates an annual turnover of about PLN 100 million and employs about 200 people. 

Wooden crates and pallets prevail in the logistics of food products, however, market participants are increasingly choosing more practical packaging, e.g. made of plastic. Containers are important at virtually every stage of the supply chain. Those in the new warehouse are equipped with additional holders for attaching foil or paper bags to better protect the goods.

Stingray Shuttle satisfies the demand

The automation of the distribution centre turned out to be necessary, among other things, so that over 4,000 items (orders) could be processed there within an hour. This is necessary to ensure that orders arising from current demand can be met efficiently, while at the same time ensuring that the system can be easily extended in the future.  

A rather innovative solution was chosen. It’s a four-aisle container warehouse operated by eighty Stingray Shuttles. They transport goods stored in ambient, chilled and frozen environments. 

The new eCommerce distribution centre was developed by TGW. The base consists of workstations (they operate on the principle of: goods to person, i.e. GTP and person to goods, i.e. PTG), as well as a fully automated robot allowing to load containers with orders into delivery trucks.

Automatic loading into delivery trucks

Delivery of goods is done in the traditional way. They are brought on pallets and go to one of two reception zones (dry zone and frozen zone). After unloading and placing the goods in the appropriate containers, the process of receipt into the warehouse follows. It consists of scanning the product and scanning the box. Later on, they automatically go into the storage area. The shuttles are positioned on each of the storage levels, and thanks to the double depth of the racking system in each aisle of the warehouse, a total of 36,000 storage locations have been created. 

The Stingray Shuttle system provides automatic storage and retrieval of goods. The shuttles optimise the arrangement of the goods, while at the same time being able to ensure the correct order of appearance of the containers at the picking stations. 

Customers’ orders are picked at the twelve workstations arranged in the warehouse. Four of them are high-performance (TGW PickCenter) and allow up to 600 picks per hour. Containers that go to customers are then fully automatically loaded into specially prepared delivery trucks. The loading of the trucks is carried out by a customised robotic loading station. Finally, the trucks with the containers in the right order are placed in the vehicles and are practically ready to be delivered to the customer.

The whole system couldn’t function without the right software. It is responsible for optimal process control and ensures smooth integration into the warehouse management system.