The supermarket chain is investing €120m in automation to enhance freshness and lengthen shelf life.
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.
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.”
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 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.”
Longer shelf life
Kai Tuomisaari, Cimcorp’s Vice President, Sales, said: “We provide reliable intralogistics solutions for rapid order fulfillment, and thereby optimize product shelf life. 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,” he continued. “There is an excellent spirit of partnership, open communication and mutual trust between our two companies.”
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 Kai 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.”