The Rhein-Ruhr business of the German supermarket group is installing a robotic order picking system in its new distribution centre.

Kai Tuomisaari, Cimcorp’s Vice President, Sales.

Edeka Rhein-Ruhr is equipping its new distribution centre, located in Oberhausen-Waldteich, with modern food storage logistics from Cimcorp. Being part of Germany’s largest supermarket chain, Edeka’s regional Rhein-Ruhr business is investing in the largest construction project in the company’s history. The ultra-modern logistics centre, with a total floor area of 90,000 square metres, will go into operation in 2021. With its new distribution centre, Edeka is creating around 1000 jobs in the region.

The Edeka distribution centre in Oberhausen-Waldteich will supply 400 Edeka branches and 400 stores operating under other group brands in North Rhine-Westphalia when fully operational. In the future it will offer space for around 16,000 different dry, frozen and fresh product lines, most of which require different temperature zones. The food warehouse logistics solution from Cimcorp ensures reliable order picking for fresh products such as fruit, vegetables and dairy products.

400 trucks a day

The new Oberhausen distribution centre, which is the size of almost 13 soccer pitches, will be served by over 400 trucks every working day. Around 800 branches in North Rhine-Westphalia supply the DC’s catchment of 14 million people. Order management has to be error-free and punctual, because every mistake leads to delays that add up. “For us efficiency, costs and ergonomics were decisive when we decided on Cimcorp as an experienced automation provider for our fruit and vegetable distribution,” explains Peter Bayer, project manager for logistics and organization at Edeka Oberhausen. “Since millions of people rely on the safety of their food, everything from the field to the table has to be perfect. We expect an extremely high availability of fresh products from Cimcorp, as these are extremely time-critical and sensitive.”

Kai Tuomisaari, Cimcorp’s Vice President, Sales, adds: “When dealing with food, and especially with perishable products, accuracy and reliability are essential. The simplest rules of first-in-first-out methods add up in securing consumer safety. Automation also secures employee safety, because robots do all the heavy lifting and repetitive tasks that often lead to debilitating injuries.”

Perfect climate for reliable food handling

The new Oberhausen-Waldteich logistics facility has different temperature zones for fresh, frozen and dry foods. Cimcorp’s fresh food solution has two climate zones: +7°C for cheese and +12°C for fruit and vegetables. “The order includes several independent automation modules controlled by Cimcorp software, which integrates various technologies into a seamless system,” says Tuomisaari. “If one module is out of service for a while – for example, when cleaning is performed – the other modules run independently to ensure a reliable material flow.”

Overhead gantry robots handle food crates that are stacked on the floor – no need for an expensive shelving system. This is also essential for food safety. “Even with the most modern and safest handling of fresh food, you cannot avoid some perishable parts like stems, leaves or individual grapes from leaking out of the crates,” explains Tuomisaari. “With Cimcorp’s solution, all of this is noticed on the floor and is easy to see – therefore easy to clean. During cleaning, crates can be moved to another module or stacked under the gantry robot to clear the floor.”


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