Ocado’s largest warehouse shut after robot collision causes fire

Ocado’s biggest storage facility will certainly be incapable to satisfy the on the internet grocery store’s orders for numerous days after a robotic breakdown triggered a fire.

Friday’s case is the 2nd major blaze in 3 years at one of Ocado’s substantial automatic storage facilities.

This weekend break’s closure of its Erith client fulfilment centre, which can refine 150,000 orders weekly for its retail joint-venture with Marks as well as Spencer, triggered Ocado to postpone or terminate hundreds of orders.

“While we expect some disruption to operations, we are working to restore normal service as soon as possible,” Ocado said. “We expect the facility to begin operating within the coming week and thank customers whose orders are affected for their patience.”

London’s fire brigade stated that it sent out 15 fire truck as well as 100 firemans to take on the blaze, after the three-storey center’s 800 personnel had actually been left.

“The fire was deep seated and was a challenging operation,” the fire brigade said, taking virtually 14 hrs to bring controlled. No injuries were reported.

Ocado stated in a declaration that the case “appears to have been caused by the collision of three bots on the grid”.

In Ocado’s “hive” system, greater than a thousand robotics buzz around a grid, quiting to get hold of cages of food, after that transferring them for human pickers to load client orders.

“The damage is limited to a small section of less than 1 per cent of the grid, having been contained by planned fire attenuation measures,” Ocado stated. “Aside from some residual smoke smell, the vast majority of the CFC is in good condition.”

A robotic fire was also blamed for the devastation of Ocado’s Andover storage facility in Hampshire in 2019, which cost the firm around £110m, omitting insurance coverage cover, as well as has actually taken greater than 2 years to rebuild.

Reduced ability at Andover added to Ocado’s battles to satisfy a rise in client need throughout the UK’s Covid-19 lockdowns, unlocking to boosted competitors in on the internet grocery store distribution.

Online grocery store distribution solutions running in the UK have actually gotten numerous numerous bucks of venture-capital funding this year.

The class of Ocado’s robot storage facilities suggests they can take a long period of time to construct. A 2nd robot fire might likewise fret prospective consumers of its Solutions service, which offers its exclusive fulfilment system to various other merchants, consisting of Kroger in the United States as well as Casino in France.

The on the internet grocer has actually been functioning to enhance its CFC ability, presenting smaller sized variations of its automatic storage facility to provide same-day distribution via its Ocado Zoom solution.