Swisslog system for Ocado’s non-food DC

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Ocado is installing a Swisslog AutoStore system at its new non-food distribution centre at Welwyn Garden City.

The system, which will provide automated storage, handling and picking of non-food items, is going into a new site close to the existing 23-acre Hatfield site and will be integrated with Ocado’s existing fulfilment operation.

The installation will comprise 31 robots, four ergonomic pick stations and two decant stations. It has been designed to optimise space at the same time as providing a high throughput. All pickers will be able to access to every SKU at each pick station.

James Matthews, Ocado’s director of non food, said: “We are very excited about the opportunities presented by Swisslog’s AutoStore. An operation of this size presents many complex requirements.

“From the outset we were looking to work with a supplier that had the skills and resources to effectively design and manage the whole process to present a solution that would facilitate further expansion. Swisslog and AutoStore ticked all the boxes.”

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Ocado, which was launched more than ten years ago, now supplies  almost 30,000 product lines. Growth in non-food and household goods has resulted in the need to maximise the efficiencies of storage and picking operations. The installation will be fully operational by early 2013.

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