Australia-based supermarket chain Coles has opened what it claims to be the country’s first automated distribution centre (ADC).
Located at the Goodman’s Redbank Motorway Estate in Queensland, the ADC is powered by Witron technology.
The ADC claimed to be the largest in the Southern Hemisphere and will be capable of processing up to four million cases weekly.
The facility has LED and sensor lighting to reduce energy consumption and 180,000 litres of harvested rainwater storage. There is also a plan for a 3.5MW solar installation.
The advanced facility will serve 219 Coles supermarkets in Queensland and Northern New South Wales (NSW).
The Redbank facility marks the first of two Witron facilities Coles planned to open in Australia.
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The retailer is investing more than A$1bn ($660m) for its second ADC, which is scheduled to open in Kemps Creek, NSW, in 2024.
According to Coles, the ADCs will improve safety and sustainability for employees, suppliers, and customers.
Coles chief executive officer Steven Cain said: “Modernising our operations is how we improve efficiency and availability in our stores and deliver higher service levels for our customers, team members and suppliers.
“Our new ADCs can process twice the number of cases and hold twice the number of pallets compared to one of our current DCs. The ADCs enable us to half our current total footprint, leading to a more productive and sustainable business model.
“More than 90 percent of the cases processed in these automated distribution centres will be processed fully by automation or ergonomically, which will be a step-change for the safety of our team as it eliminates almost 18 million kilograms of manual handling in the supply chain each week once the ADC is running close to full capacity.”
Coles opened the Redbank ADC with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Coles Group chairman James Graham and Coles Group CEO Steven Cain.
Earlier this month, Coles acquired the remaining 2.8% stake in Western Australian retailer Wesfarmers.