No power = no grocery deliveries
Downtime caused by power supply malfunction is out of the question in the daily consumer goods business. International food retailer Delhaize Group equipped its brand new, semiautomated distribution centre in Zellik, Belgium with an Eaton UPS to secure the centre’s seamless operation.
With a history of more than 140 years and roots firmly in Belgian soil, Delhaize has earned consumers’ trust as a reliable food retailer on three continents. Despite the company’s long traditions, it has not stayed unaffected by the increased competition and growing efficiency pressures in the food market. The trend has led to more and more automated functions in storage and distribution.
Delhaize in a nutshell
- Belgian international food retailer,founded in 1867
- Activities on 3 continents, in 6 countries: Belgium, Greece, Indonesia, Luxembourg, Romania, United States
- 2,684 stores worldwide (at the end of June 2009)
- Largest market is US: 1,587 stores under six banners (at the end of June 2009)
- Approximately 141,000 employees, turnover of EUR 19 billion in 2008
In Belgium, Delhaize has protected its supermarkets against power failures for many years. Single-phase UPSs, previously supplied by MGE Office Protection Systems, protect their cash terminals in 136 supermarkets around the country. When Delhaize decided to build their first semi-automatic distribution centre in Belgium, they knew who to turn to: Eaton.
“We had excellent experiences with MGE Office Protection Systems and the level of service they provided. When they merged with Eaton, it was a natural decision for us to discuss our larger-scale power protection needs with Eaton Power Quality,” recalls Didier Jacobs, Maintenance Engineer at Delhaize Belgium.
Distribution centre as a cornerstone
Distribution centres are a crucial part of the order-delivery process. The more automatic the centre’sfunctions become, the more challenges they set for reliable power. “Our new distribution centre is highly automated: we have automatic cranes that collect and group the groceries and load them onto trucks. The trucks then distribute goods to our stores in Belgium and Luxembourg, six or seven days a week,” says Jacobs.
Every power drop, sag or surge affects the centre’s delicate automated equipment, which again causes considerable costs due to delays in delivery.
“The crane height has to be precise for automatic cranes to work correctly. Power failure damages their operation as it can drop the crane’s specified height by a few millimetres. Even this small difference has enormous consequences for the crane’s next pickup: the crane cannot collect goods, as it does not reach the correct height. This has a great impact on the overall setup,” Jacobs explains.
“After power interruption it takes 24 hours to reset all the cranes – over thirty in total – to function properly.” “After power interruption it takes 24 hours to reset all the cranes – over thirty in total – to function properly.”
Delhaize chose the Eaton 9395 UPS with a power range of 825 kVA.
“We have one direct high voltage line designated solely for our distribution centre. The 825 kVA 9395 was the perfect choice for us: it is powerful
enough to protect all our cranes from power anomalies, however short-term they are. We were very impressed by the 9395’s double-conversion design and Hot Sync® paralleling technology – features that guarantee the most reliable power for our needs. Now we no longer need to worry about losing an entire business day due to unstable power.”
The 9395 has been in full operation at the centre since early September 2009. The project took six months from start to finish.
“We chose Eaton due to their proven project management skills, ability to react quickly, very good price/quality ratio and excellent track record. The relationship runs very smoothly – just as it did with MGE Office Protection Systems, emphasises Jacobs.