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App-based grocer opts for robotic picking

07 July 2020

Picnic has selected TGW as partner for the highly-automated fulfilment centre.

Picnic is expanded rapidly in the Netherlands and Germany. Operating from eight distribution centres, the company delivers groceries to more than 130 cities. The only way to place an order is through the app. Those who order before 10 pm will receive their fresh, chilled and frozen food the next day. Fruit, vegetables, meat and dry goods are delivered by electric vans.

TGW is the key partner for the fully robotised fulfillment centre planned for Picnic in the Netherlands. The online supermarket will use a FlashPick system, which is powerful but flexible, with three temperature zones and a shuttle system at the core of the solution.

The new DC has 40,000 sq m of floor space and uses state-of-the-art technology to deliver groceries to more than 150,000 families per week. With TGW FlashPick, Picnic lays the foundation for the next year`s growth. The core automation element is a shuttle warehouse comprising almost 40 aisles and more than 200,000 storage locations. The system also includes an energy-efficient KingDrive conveyor network, as well as highly ergonomic PickCenter One picking workstations.

To ensure the best product quality, Picnic's fulfillment centre is divided into several temperature zones: ambient, chilled and frozen. This makes the planning and realisation of this project particularly demanding. Most of the goods received will be stored in the shuttle. Customer orders start either in the Zone-Picking area or at one of the PickCenter One picking workstations. Then, orders are stored in the shuttle for consolidation. Thanks to the new solution, food waste as well as the use of packaging material can be reduced significantly. 20,000 sq m of solar panels will be used as power source. With this initiative, Picnic takes a big step in making the food chain more sustainable.

Picnic co-founder Frederik Nieuwenhuys underscores: “The robot-assisted distribution centre in Utrecht, in combination with our electric cars, is the foundation of our unique “farm to fork” strategy where proprietary Picnic technology is used to provide consumers with ultra-fresh products and deliver groceries to their homes free of charge. The partnership with TGW as a global leader in automated fulfillment solutions brings together two teams with knowledge of the latest technology and software.”

Robot-assisted loading

To further improve ergonomics, Picnic and TGW Robotics are jointly developing a unique, robotised loading system for the Picnic delivery frames. “A challenging but also very exciting project is now becoming reality. The logistics centre is a milestone and marks a new level of strategic collaboration between Picnic and TGW,” says David Hibbett, CEO of TGW Northern Europe.