Dark store in Greece. Conveyor technology with attachment to the ceiling
Together with our partner VOYATZOGLOU we realised a project for a Greek supermarket chain, which is the largest supermarket chain in Greece with about 2,000 branches.
One of the branches operates as a dark store – within the supermarket, employees pick and process an online order, which is then delivered to the customer. This concept saves customers a lot of time as they do not have to queue.
The aim of the dark store is to optimise and speed up the process of online orders by automating the work in the areas of picking and transporting the products. On this basis, we defined the following tasks together with the client in Greece:
- Picking products from a specific area of the supermarket and transporting the collected trays to the shipping point;
- increasing the number of products to be picked by double per shift;
- sorting and bundling of goods in 14 directions;
- automation of the return of empty boxes to the picking zone;
- retention of existing routes for loading;
- integration of automated equipment with fire safety devices.
The main criterion for choosing the optimal solution for the dark store was the speed of goods processing. At the same time, it was important to maintain the existing paths for loading and not to block them with conveyor technology.
Speed. To increase the speed of online orders for the dark store in Greece, we implemented a transport system for trays. The special feature lies in the installation: The system is mounted on suspended beams that are fixed to the ceiling. This ensures that the equipment does not block the path of the loading equipment and that the employees can move freely.
Two transport lines move the loaded trays from two areas of the supermarket to the picking and shipping zone. If staff do not have time to process the order during peak hours, the trays are transported to a buffer zone via a conveyor.
Two directions. Another feature of the project in Greece is the bi-directional conveyor. With this device, one of the transport sections can be used for reverse operation. This allows workers to transport empty trays to the picking area.
Safety. Special attention is paid to the safety of the employees in the dark store. Therefore, a necessary step was the realisation of fire protection curtains at the wall openings through which the transport technology runs. These can be closed in case of fire. In addition, integration into the fire protection system is required. Another aspect is a special fence for the overhead-mounted conveyor to protect against goods falling down.
Installed systems and technologies used for the dark store
The equipment for the dark store was manufactured by KAPELOU EU:
- Integration with fire fighting system
- Software – warehouse control system
The results of the dark store automation
Despite the complexity of the project for the dark store due to the unusual mounting on the ceiling and the implementation within 3 months, we achieved our goals together with the client.
A customised solution for the dark store in Greece has increased the number of orders processed by double per shift. 20% fewer employees are used in the processing of orders – picking and transport.
We would like to thank our partner company VOYATZOGLOU for the good cooperation with the customer, the project management, the support during the implementation and the trust. We are in the process of expanding our strong partnership on further engagements.