The key challenges in grocery wholesale and retail today are labour shortages, an ever-changing product range and pressure on margins. The solution is logistics automation, which offers the productivity, flexibility and scalability required to fulfil orders profitably.
Automatic tray handling
KNAPP’s FAST Picking (Fully Automated Standard Tray Picking) solution handles full containers of fresh produce fully automatically from goods-in to goods-out. This technology is relied on by a number of leading grocery players, including Migros in Switzerland. Following the success of its first system, which automated the handling of its fruit and vegetable range, Migros Zürich took delivery of a second FAST Picking solution to automate fulfilment for dairy products and other fresh items. The automation helps to supply Migros’ network of over 170 supermarkets and restaurants with daily deliveries.
The FAST Picking system comprises fully automatic depalletising and palletising machines along with KNAPP’s OSR Shuttle™ Evo storage system. After depalletising, crates are stored in the automated store. When required for orders, they are retrieved and conveyed in the correct sequence to the stacking machines. KNAPP’s own software calculates the optimal pallet profile and loads are formed automatically.
Robotic case picking
The Robotic Universal Picker – RUNPICK – is KNAPP’s robotic case-picking system, which is also served by the OSR Shuttle™ Evo automated storage system. RUNPICK processes the entire range of groceries fully automatically, picking and palletising cases into mixed loads. KNAPP’s advanced software enables the robot to create perfect stacks, ensuring load stability, packing density and delivery sequencing. The first RUNPICK was installed last year for Kroger at its Great Lakes Distribution Centre in Delaware, Ohio.
In the food sector and elsewhere, AI is enhancing the benefits of intralogistics automation. KNAPP’s redPILOT software, powered by AI, is securing benefits for grocery retailers Edeka and SPAR. A cloud-based solution, redPILOT is designed to optimise warehouse operations by creating shift plans, allocating resources and preventing errors. As well as being a universal platform that dynamically integrates existing IT systems, redPILOT enables warehouse operators to make data-driven decisions, boost employee engagement and increase overall performance.
The newest product in KNAPP’s portfolio of AI-enabled solutions is KiSoft Genomix, a self-learning solution for managing master data. Already in use at SPAR in Austria, KiSoft Genomix decodes and digitises the DNA of items – from their weight, dimensions and packaging type, to their contents, centre of gravity, tilting behaviour and much more. The system automatically collects, distributes and maintains all relevant attributes so that automated and robotic technologies know exactly how to handle and process the items.