Asda picks automated system for IDC

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Asda is to use Swisslog’s Autostore automated goods-to-man system for its small case product lines.

Ant Everett, head of network development for Asda Distribution, said: “We have been looking at a number of ways to improve the use of space within our existing distribution centres. Asda is very excited about the emergence of this innovative technology that will transform the way in which we handle small-case products.

“The IDC is already one of the busiest depots in our distribution network. The ability to reengineer our facility and build a space-efficient and ergonomic materials handling application that can integrate with our existing operation and systems was therefore a key selection factor.

“The Swisslog design team has shown great aptitude in understanding the needs of our business, and has demonstrated a willingness to customise the application to meet our unique requirements”.

Installation will begin shortly on site working around the existing operation. This assembly will be Swisslog’s largest AutoStore installation to date, and will be delivered in two phases.

The design incorporates more than 70,000 storage bins and 160 robots, linking eight ergonomic decant stations with a dozen goods-to-man picking ports. From the outset, the system will enable Asda to manage several thousand different stock keeping units, while allowing further phased investments to accommodate more bins in line with the site’s developing requirements.

First developed in Scandinavia, AutoStore offers a range of benefits, including the efficient warehousing and order processing of small cases and single items in a very compact area. The system provides the highest possible rate of space optimisation teamed with extremely dense storage, as robots on the top of the grid automatically store and retrieve goods with minimum space requirements.

Compared to traditional automated solutions, AutoStore allows far greater capacity and storage density, with up to 60 per cent more goods stored in the same space as a conventional warehouse.

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