Mercadona stays fresh with TGW

Automated warehouse solutions provider TGW has provided Mercadona with a new full crate order picking system, which enables fresh produce totes to be picked and ready for dispatch in less than six hours.

With over 1,450 supermarkets across Spain and revenue of more than €19,000m, Mercadona is the country’s leading supermarket chain.

The company has an extensive network of distribution centres (DCs), serving its supermarkets throughout the country. Continued growth necessitated the need for a new DC in Guadix, Granada, to assist with the replenishment of around 80 stores in the south.

Having provided Mercadona with a number of successful logistics installations in the past, TGW was selected to equip the new DC. TGW’s system incorporates an efficient order picking solution for fresh fruit and vegetables, which utilises picking robots in the form of overhead gantry ASR machines.

To manage over 300 varieties of fresh goods at the DC, TGW installed eight overhead gantry ASR machines capable of handling up to 30,000 totes per day.

The process begins with fresh goods arriving on pallets at the DC then being de-palletised by TGW equipment and divided into four stacks per pallet. The goods are then transported by conveyor to a picking area. As soon as they arrive at the picking area the overhead gantry ASR machines collect the stacks and place them on the floor - each stack containing only one SKU.

Individual orders from Mercadona stores are placed at the logistics centre and the overhead gantry ASR machines automatically start to pick tote per tote. These are stacked on top of each other again until the entire order is completed in one or more stacks. Each stack can be up to 2.2m high.

When a stack is complete it is buffered for a later dispatch procedure or immediately loaded onto a pallet for transportation to the designated supermarket.

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