Unilever, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., and US Cold Storage, Voorhees, N.J., unveiled a new 336,500-square-foot cold storage facility, which includes a Swisslog solution designed for the freezer environment, as well as Vectura cranes, pallet conveyors and automatic guided vehicles (AGVs), all optimized and controlled by Swisslog's warehouse execution system software.

The new frozen distribution center, located in Covington, Tenn., connects to Unilever's existing 815,000-square-foot production facility with a 312-foot corridor kept at -20°F to create what is said to be one of the largest ice cream manufacturing and distribution facilities in the world.

"USCS is not one to shy away from trying something new and innovative,” says Mike Lynch, vice president of engineering for US Cold Storage. “Our newest warehouse in Covington represents several important firsts. It is our first plant-attached warehouse. [It is] our first highly automated warehouse, employing a sophisticated inbound product pallet handling system, AGVs and automated storage and retrieval cranes. And, it is US Cold's most energy efficient and sustainable operation designed according to the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) program. I'm proud to say that Covington is in consideration for official LEED Silver certification."

Other key members of the design-build team for the project included Primus Builders, Inc., IA Interior Architects, A2H Engineers, Primus Design Services, Shine Electrical Group and Republic Refrigeration, Inc.

The Swisslog solution, designed specifically to operate in sub-zero temperatures, includes Vectura cranes, conveyors and AGVs.

"I am honored that we were selected to be part of such a prestigious team dedicated to installing an energy efficient and sustainable operation,” adds Markus Schmidt, senior vice president of Swisslog WDS Americas, Newport News, Va. “Having installed more than 250 automatic stacker cranes that serve over 600,000 pallet locations within temperature-controlled storage in the United Sates alone, we have been able to perfect our cold storage solutions to meet the needs of today's most demanding warehouse environments."