Food giant Nestlé is teaming up with XPO logistics to design a new digital warehouse at the new SEGRO East Midland Gateway Logistics Park in Leicestershire. This 638,000 square foot distribution centre will act as a testbed for the prototype XPO technology.
Expected to be completed by 2020, the £55 million warehouse will have advanced sorting systems and robotics. Automation from Swisslog Logistics Automation will be tested. Nestlé said:
“The site’s digital ecosystem will integrate predictive data and intelligent machines to deliver one of the most advanced distribution management centres in the world.”
Technology tried out at the distribution centre, if proven to work well, will then be installed in other Nestlé locations.
The centre will have sustainability features such as energy saving lights, environmentally friendly ammonia refrigeration, air source heat pumps and rainwater gathering systems. Technology developed at the Nestlé centre could influence new warehouse systems at other UK warehouses.
Another company at the forefront of warehouse automation is online grocery retailer Ocado. Its warehouse shelving is a 20 foot high structure with conveyor belts moving items in all directions, up, down, forwards and backwards. This system, known as the “hive” means that the average time to fill the average order has been reduced from two hours in its old warehouse, to between 5 and 15 minutes.
Ocado is constructing a new warehouse that will employ 3,500 robots. It will use every inch of available space, from floor to ceiling to store and move goods.