Mercadona to automate fresh food distribution at four DC’s with Cimcorp

The supermarket chain is investing €120m in automation to enhance freshness and lengthen shelf life. 

The trend toward automation for fresh produce should continue to boost the opportunity for reusables, as shown above.

 

Ulvila, Finland – Manufacturer and integrator of turnkey robotic handling solutions, Cimcorp, has received its largest ever order in the intralogistics market from Mercadona, one of Spain’s leading grocery retailers. Under the deal, worth over 120 million euros, Cimcorp will automate the distribution of fresh food at Mercadona’s new distribution centers located in Huévar (Seville), Sagunto (Valencia), San Isidro (Alicante) and Zaragoza.

Mercadona, an in-store and online supermarket retailer, has over 1600 supermarket stores throughout Spain. With over 85,000 employees – all with a stable, quality job – Mercadona serves some 5.3 million households in Spain every day. The company is planning to open its first stores in Portugal during 2019.

The four distribution centers (DCs), will serve over 600 of the retailer’s 1630 supermarkets so Cimcorp’s automated systems will ensure that fresh foods are available to some 2 million of the 5 million households that shop at Mercadona. “The main objective of these four centers,” explained Javier Blasco, Warehouse Purchasing Coordinator for Mercadona, “will be to meet the demands of our stores, secure growth in perishable product sales and eliminate the overexertion that results from the manual handling of orders.”

System integrator

Cimcorp previously supplied automation to Mercadona back in 2013, when it implemented a fully automated order picking system for fresh produce at the retailer’s DC in Guadix, near Granada. However, the new order will be the first time that Cimcorp has acted as the system integrator. Commented Javier Blasco, “Our previous experience with Cimcorp was positive, and the company’s professionalism – along with the support of a strong parent company like Murata Machinery – has led us to put our trust in Cimcorp as a partner for a project of this scale.”

“Our previous experience with Cimcorp was positive, and the company’s professionalism – along with the support of a strong parent company like Murata Machinery – has led us to put our trust in Cimcorp as a partner for a project of this scale,” said Blasco.

Longer shelf life

“We provide reliable intralogistics solutions for rapid order fulfillment, and thereby optimize product shelf life,” said Kai Tuomisaari, Cimcorp’s Vice President, Sales. “This means that customers get their fruit, vegetables and other fresh products faster, ensuring they stay fresh for longer in the home. We are delighted to be working with Mercadona again. There is an excellent spirit of partnership, open communication and mutual trust between our two companies.

“We provide reliable intralogistics solutions for rapid order fulfillment, and thereby optimize product shelf life,” Tuomisaari continued. “This means that customers get their fruit, vegetables and other fresh products faster, ensuring they stay fresh for longer in the home.”

Modular design

All four of the new logistics facilities will have two climate zones for fresh food: +3°C for packed meat products and +12°C for fruit and vegetables. “This order will cover several independent automation modules within each DC,” added Tuomisaari, “and all the automation will be controlled by Cimcorp software, which integrates various technologies into a seamless system. If one module is out of operation for a while – such as when cleaning is performed – the others continue in operation to take care of the material flow.”