Witron enters the Spanish market

INFORMATION: Free information is available from WITRON on the subject in this story. Click here to request a copy

One of Europes most innovative logistics centres to be implemented near the Spanish capital Ma-drid. The food retail chain Mercadona commis-sioned Witron with the construction of an 180,000 m distribution centre in Ciempozuelos.

In addition to the fully automated warehouse and pick-ing solution Order Picking Machinery (OPM) for dry goods, Bavarian based Witron Logistik + Informatik GmbH, will also provide this technology as General Contractor for the complete fresh and frozen goods sections. With this project Witrons automation experts are breaking new ground in two areas: For the first time, Witron is to implement a project of such extent on Spanish premises. On the other hand, Witron will for the first time - integrate the fully automated ware-house and picking solution OPM into the dry as well as the fresh and frozen goods sections.

Mercadona follows a strategic expansion plan com-prising not only the continuously increasing number of outlets, but also the expansion of the company-wide logistics resources. Efficiency analyses prior to the planning of the new warehouse location showed that full automization of the local warehouse in Ciempozuelos would have significant advantages over conventionally operated warehouse centres. Mercadona therefore decided to fully automate the local warehouse based on the warehouse and picking system OPM designed by Witron.
First fully automated picking of fresh and frozen goods using OPM

With OPM, Mercadona is investing in one of the most innovative warehouse and picking solutions which al-lows automatic picking of dry goods as well as fresh and frozen goods. The fresh and frozen goods centre is subdivided into three temperature zones (+12C, +3C and -23C). An automatic tray warehouse featur-ing 237,000 locations and 46 stacker cranes plus a 12-aisle high-bay warehouse (HBW) for 8,600 Euro pallets will be integrated for the temperature controlled storage areas alone. For the fully automated picking process capable of a pick performance of 220,000 totes or cartons at peak days, Witron will utilize 8 automatic layer depallettizers and 23 COMs (Case Order Machines). This corresponds to approx. 3,600 order pallets.

155,000 cases of dry goods per day

Dry goods retail units will be buffered in a second automatic tray warehouse consisting of 265,000 loca-tions in 32 aisles. The replenishment of the picking buffer will be done automatically from a high bay pallet warehouse HBW. The HBW (length 103 m, width 80 m and height 18 m) features 20 stacker cranes and 20,400 pallet locations. A total of 16 mechanical pick-ing machines (COMs) will automatically assemble up to 5,900 order pallets at peak days corresponding to approx. 155,000 retail units.

Fully-automated picking of semi and quarter pallets

In addition to the picking of individual trade units and the full pallet handling, Witron will implement a further fully automated system in the distribution centre in Ciempozuelos which can also pick semi and quarter pallets. The Witron designed PS2M (Pallet Storage Stacking Machinery) ensures a direct integration of the picking function in the dry goods area into the replen-ishment HBW. Based on customer demand PS2M automatically picks different semi and quarter pallets onto a dispatch pallet.

Picking of single and bulky articles

Small articles and products not suitable for fully auto-mated picking will be picked in special picking areas integrated into the system. Witron will use the proven tote picking solution Dynamic Picking System, DPS, with 250 dynamic and static pick channels and an ad-ditional 360 rack pick locations. Large-volume and bulky goods like bagged goods are picked in a sepa-rate pallet pick area using the Witron Module Picking System (MPS). Both systems apply Pick-by-Light-Technology and constitute a combination of Goods-to-Man-Principle and Man-to-Goods-Principle. 

Warehouse operational mid 2006

The steel construction for the automatic tray ware-house and the replenishment HBW for dry goods started at the end of March 2005. From June 2006 onwards, this part of the system will be ramped up gradually until a maximum of 5,900 order pallets with dry goods will leave the distribution centre in Ciempo-zuelos daily. The automation of the fresh and frozen goods area started in November 2005. Ramp-up for this part is planned for January 2007.


NOTE: All pictures in this article are Copyright Mercadona

INFORMATION: Free information is available from WITRON on the subject in this story. Click here to request a copy

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