December 7, 2015

Frozen DC is the Fort Knox of ice cream

Highly automated frozen-goods facility operates at -20 degrees F.

By DC Velocity Staff

Material handling experts know how challenging it can be to design automated systems in large warehouses, but a group in Covington, Tenn., took the task to another level last month when they built a cold storage system that operates at 20 degrees below zero Fahrenheit.

British-Dutch consumer goods giant Unilever teamed up with U.S. Cold Storage (USCS) to build the 336,500-square-foot facility about an hour's drive north of Memphis, Tenn. The new frozen-goods DC connects to Unilever's existing 815,000-square-foot production facility next door with a 312-foot corridor kept at -20 degrees F, creating one of the largest ice cream manufacturing and distribution facilities in the world.

To move all that ice cream between production, storage, and shipping, Unilever turned to Swisslog to design a handling system capable of running smoothly in a freezer. The systems integrator came up with a solution that includes Vectura cranes, pallet conveyors, and automated guided vehicles (AGVs), all controlled by Swisslog's own warehouse execution system (WES).

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