US retail giant Walmart has announced plans to break ground on a new milk processing facility later this year, set to be complete in 2025.
At the new facility, located in Valdosta, Georgia, US, Walmart will install a Swisslog automation solution to enable “seamless” material flow and increase uptime.
Walmart says that the automated storage and retrieval solution (ASRS) will bolster its capacity to meet consumer demand for milk. The ASRS is part of the company’s commitment to building a more resilient and transparent supply chain to deliver high-quality products.
The ASRS brings together five pallet stacker cranes with palletising and de-palletising robots, pallet conveyor system, and a conveyor system for small loads. The automation solution operates on synchronised intelligence from Swisslog’s SynQ software, which provides warehouse management, material flow and automation control system functionality in a single, modular platform.
SynQ management software optimises the flow of the equipment to increase the operation’s efficiency and accuracy and orchestrates the operation of multiple sub-systems. SynQ equips warehouse automation and IT systems with synchronised intelligence of people, processes and machines to boost the efficiency and productivity of warehouse processes and adapt to changing market requirements.
It also provides sophisticated inventory management and material flow capabilities that enable real-time inventory tracking and management of items to ensure freshness, quality and transparency of the food supply chain.
The Valdosta site is Walmart’s second milk processing facility in the US, after the company worked with Swisslog to open its first milk processing plant in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 2018.
Sean Wallingford, president and CEO of Swisslog Americas, said: “We are excited to partner with Walmart once again to open its second milk processing facility. From the initial discussion through design completion, it has been a very hands-on, collaborative and proactive approach. Our automation experts worked closely with Walmart’s group to incorporate lessons learned and best practices from the first processing facility, as well as improvement concepts designed to enable Walmart and its farmers to bring fresh, transparently sourced dairy to market.”
The project also includes Swisslog’s ‘IT Managed Services’, which has experts in place that can manage the IT systems and software required to keep the equipment running at peak performance. The 24/7 support enables Walmart to free up internal resources from routine IT system administration, while also enabling data-driven proactive maintenance that helps to reduce unplanned downtime.
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