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System Logistics Case Study Series – SortMate: The Evolution Of Sorting Fresh Goods

By 7th March 2024 No Comments

Specifically designed to meet the needs of the retail industry and similar sectors, SortMate
autonomously manages the entire inbound and outbound sorting process for fruit and vegetables, from the arrival of goods to distribution to different destinations. SortMate is a flexible and scalable solution that can easily adapt to a customer’s warehouse layout, thanks to advanced yet easy-to-implement technology that does not require significant fixed installations.

The system mainly consists of state-of- the-art anthropomorphic robots with integrated vision and laser-guided carts (AGV), which handle pallet movement. The purpose of the robots is to pick up crates directly from the source pallet and place them on the order pallet all without the need for the intermediate movements of single crates, thus avoiding unnecessary costs and complexity. The AGVs (vehicles) follow the most efficient and safe paths, without being constrained by the predetermined trajectories of classic conveyor belts.

Automated Solution
In chilled warehouses, goods arrive randomly throughout the day and are then sorted and
distributed in a few hours based on customer orders for subsequent deliveries. The SortMate solution automates this process, optimising a facility’s workflow and improving the working
conditions of operators. In fact, this technology contributes to the elimination of strenuous and ergonomically challenging work in harsh environments, as well as removing the need for forklift trucks during the goods handling process, which are often a source of workplace incidents.

The SortMate solution also offers numerous advantages in improving the hygiene of fruit and vegetable products and preserving the cold chain. Thanks to rapid and precise automation, the deterioration of fresh products is eliminated, even in very tight time windows. The system ensures order accuracy and prevents waste from the potential manual overturning of crates.

Easy To Install
SortMate is based on extremely simple technology, entirely developed by System Logistics, which can be easily installed in any warehouse within a few months of the order, integrating into  existing structures without the need to modify the warehouse organisation or customer procedures, with a quick return on investment.

The use of basic and standardised automation elements has made it possible to offer rental contracts that include driving, assistance, and maintenance activities with all-inclusive formulas. The first automatic fruit- and vegetable- picking system with SortMate technology in Italy was  inaugurated in February, at the Montopoli in Val d’Arno logistics centre one of the most  innovative in Central Italy, and the main distribution centre for Conad Nord Ovest, one of the largest cooperatives operating in the retail industry and associated with the Conad Consortium. With a surface area of over 6,000 square metres, the plant handles approximately 43,000 crates per day and employs the SortMate solution for the ventilation, preparation and preservation of fruit and vegetable products, optimising and speeding up the efficiency of processes and transport, reducing food waste, and ensuring the freshness and quality of products at the point of sale.

SortMate is the new technology capable of combining extreme simplicity, effectiveness, and easily sustainable investment for customers, responding to the needs of a market that has always sought innovation and process optimisation.

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