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Optimal Fresh Picking

combines case picking and piece picking in the fresh food area

People are eating even more consciously. Due to continuously increasing demands, the selection at the deli counter in supermarkets and convenience stores grows larger and larger. Product quality is of extraordinary high importance. Requirements with regard to product sensibility and ergonomics can be resolved with automated systems. However, this is quite difficult to handle in a cost-efficient manner as small article ranges require a high pick performance. The solution is a new system from WITRON. With the OFP (Optimal Fresh Picking), the general contractor has applied for a patent that combines all scenarios in one system: The store-friendly picking of full totes and cartons as well as the piece picking from totes and cartons is done within one automated system: cost-efficient, flexible, with short throughput times, ergonomic, space-saving, and compact - with a balanced use of conveyor technology.

The special feature: Movements within the system are reduced to a minimum. Storage and replenishment components are product-gentle using Dynamic Mini Loads (DML) - small, energy-efficient stacker cranes with double load handling device.. The products on each level are staged in a pick front.  Six-fold-deep (or twelve-fold deep in case of half totes), single-item flow channels along the tote aisle allow an intelligent replenishment: on the one hand through short distances from the storage shelf to the flow channel - without additional conveyor system connections - and on the other hand thanks to the continuous replenishment of several totes per crane movement.

Full totes: Fully automated order picking by means of a shuttle

One store order is completed on every pick level. Full totes and cartons of different sizes are removed directly from the pick front by means of a pick shuttles and placed onto a discharge conveyor. The provision of the items in the modules is done according to the store layout to allow shortest driving distances of the shuttle. The outbound lane transports the load carriers directly to the automated stacker cranes, where they are stacked onto pallets or roll containers without being buffered.

Perfect symbiosis: Person and machine in one system

Piece picking is done in a pick aisle with automated replenishment. Several pickers work in one aisle - guided by a pick guiding system that ensures maximum pick quality. Walking distances are reduced considerably. All pickers work on the same store order and pick fruits and vegetables from totes and cartons directly into the order totes. Every customer order is completed in one aisle.

New system convinces with numerous benefits

Simple, clearly structured processes, the optimal interaction between people and machine, as well as a scalable overall concept ensure a highly effective pick performance, short throughput times, and maximum flexibility. Full totes or cartons, cases, as well as single items are picked in a store-friendly manner through one integrated system. A balanced use of mechanical elements creates the best possible ergonomic work environment for logistics processes in temperature-controlled areas. The use of multiple load handling devices applied at the used shuttles  ensure a high product and system availability and shortest driving distances at the same time. The separation of the system into modules, arranged in the X- and Y-axis, allows a compact design. A redundant design throughout the layout as well as a linked material flow between the individual modules ensures maximum stability.


Level of automation:
Fully automated tote picking
Semi-automated single-item picking

Picking units:
Full totes + small-volume items

Highly efficient pick performance, shortest throughput times for one order

Industry sector:
Food retail, perishable, fruits + vegetables


  • Combination of fully-automated picking of totes and semi-automated picking of single items
  • Handling of all items in one module
  • All picking levels work completely independent from one another
  • Every level allows the completion of a complete store order
  • Transportation of the completed store totes directly to the automatic stacking and palletizing process (no need for additional consolidation)
  • High level of automation despite low number of mechanical elements
  • Compact design
  • Maximum flexibility, reliability, and redundant design
  • End-to-End integration in the sense of Smart Logistics 4.0