Smart Technics to Integrate Scallog Mobile Robots in Newpharma Warehouse

Smart Technics Ventures will deploy robots from French vendor Scallog in Newpharma's new Belgian distribution center.


Scallog Boby mobile robot at Newpharma.
Scallog's goods-to-person robots will be integrated at Newpharma's new distribution center. Scallog is also demonstrating its new Flexytote robot this week at SITL.

Scallog SAS last week announced that it is automating a new distribution center operated by Newpharma near the port of Liege, Belgium. Smart Technics Ventures, the innovation unit of Colruyt Group, will oversee the deployment of Scallog's goods-to-person system at Newpharma's new distribution center. Colruyt Group holds a minority stake in Scallog.

“Scallog is already active in this sector in France,” said Caroline Dumas, international business manager at Scallog. “We are particularly pleased that we can equip the new Newpharma warehouse in close cooperation with Smart Technics today. This means that yet another Scallog picking facility will be operational in Belgium.”

Founded in 2013, Scallog designs, manufactures, and markets robots to boost warehouse agility and productivity for third-party logistics (3PL), e-commerce, distribution, and manufacturing companies. The Nanterre, France-based company said its system can help accelerate order picking and absorb peaks in activity while improving working conditions and staggering investment.

Scallog’s said its goods-to-person robots include decision-making and execution software to increase order-picking flexibility and enable warehouse operators to integrate automation more widely. The company claimed that it has more than 30 clients and that it is aiming to boost its growth internationally.

Smart Technics to integrate robots

Newpharma said it is Belgium's largest online pharmacy, serving 1 million customers in 12 countries across Europe more than 30,000 products and 1,750 brand names. It is building the new logistics center as part of its plans to consolidate its operations in Wandre, Belgium. The company began planning for this next-generation warehouse in 2019 with Colruyt Group. 

“Each year, Newpharma records double-digit revenue growth, which, over time, has forced us to spread our activities across several sites in Wandre and Tongeren,” said Pierre De Lit, chief operating officer at Newpharma. “We have therefore decided to build one large distribution center to support our further growth and optimize our logistics flows.”

“We will gradually put the new installations into operation. In a first phase, the site will cover 20,000 sq. m [215,278 sq. ft.],” he said. “In 2022, we will expand the site to 50,000 sq. m [538,000 sq. ft.].”

“In this project, we integrated the Scallog solution into Newpharma's operational flow, from the delivery of the goods by suppliers to the dispatching of the packages to end customers,” explained Jeroen Theys, managing director at Smart Technics. “Several options were considered each time to optimize stock management, order processing, order picking, packaging, and ergonomics for the employees.”

“We are very satisfied with the collaboration, which has resulted in a phased plan that will enable Newpharma to respond more flexibly to future market developments and secure further sustainable growth,” he said.

Scallog to showcase new Flexytote robot

At the SITL trade show this week at Paris Porte de Versailles, Scallog is showcasing the latest addition to its lineup, the Flexytote robot. The company will showcase the robot at the “Warehouse of the Future,” an immersive environment devoted to innovations for intralogistics.

Scallog Flexytote

Flexytote will be demonstrated at SITL this week. Source: Scallog

The 600-sq.-m (3,229-sq.-ft.) Warehouse of the Future is intended to present future warehouse systems on a real-life scale. The Flexytote will demonstrate the automated transfer, loading, and unloading of bins and boxes to speed up the order-picking process.

Scallog said Flexytote is a “truly lightweight, flexible robotics alternative to traditional workflow automation systems.” In it, robots move two or three tiers of empty bins or boxes to picking stations, deposit them on order-buffer racks, then retrieve and transport them to the packaging area once the operators have completed the orders.

The company claimed that Flexytote can provide immediate logistics benefits. They include automated two- or three-tier supply on demand to the order buffer racks, elimination of load handling and transport by operators, less physical strain, and accelerated order picking.

In addition, Flexytote can be easily integrated into any existing warehouse and can adapt to changes in order-picking flows, said Scallog. The mobile robots follow optical markings on the floor that can be repositioned if and when required. 

Flexytote has a load capacity of up to 250 kg (551 lb.) and can provide a return on investment (ROI) in under 18 months, Scallog said.

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Scallog Boby mobile robot at Newpharma.

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