Automation supplier stow Robotics and cooling vendor Phononic accomplice on cold-chain achievement


Today, stow Robotics, the warehouse automation business unit within stow Group, and Phononic, a global leader in solid-state cooling technology, announced a strategic alliance to provide cold chain fulfillment solutions that serve the retail grocery industry across North America and Europe. Combining stow Robotics’ automation expertise with Phononic’s sustainable active cooling technology, the two companies are collaborating to design, develop and scale solutions for cold chain fulfillment, particularly for grocery automated fulfillment centers, the partners explained.

Phononic’s cooling solution enables grocery retailers the ability to deploy automated solutions in an existing footprint, reducing large upfront capital costs while lowering operating labor and maintenance costs, and adding flexibility while fractionalizing across tri-temperature environments, according to stow Robotics. Phononic’s connected services for the Actively-Cooled Tote platform also provide seamless integration with warehouse automation systems and dynamic response for inventory and order management. Additionally, Phononic’s solid state cooling and refrigeration innovation uses a safe and sustainable refrigerant:  H2O mixed with naturally available CO2, featuring a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of just 1 or less. This approach produces the safest and lowest GWP rating in the industry compared to other commonly used refrigerants that contribute to climate change.

Storing and picking frozen items is an expensive and cumbersome exercise, stow Robotics points out, requiring an entire building to be kept at minus temperatures and employees to work within this intolerable environment to select items and consolidate them with the ambient and chilled part of orders. The strategic alliance between stow Robotics and Phononic provides multiple advantages to the market, allowing frozen items to be stored alongside ambient and chilled products in the same system, and providing flexibility when the proportion between temperature controlled and ambient SKUs change. Additionally, mixed orders can be fulfilled in a single step, avoiding the usual time-consuming consolidation process. The e.Scala shuttles deliver temperature-controlled items as well as ambient items to the pick station in any required sequence.

“stow Robotics is thrilled to work with Phononic and welcome their cooling technology and design solutions into our scalable automation work with key customers in North America and Europe,” said Brian Keiger, Director of Business Development and Marketing at stow Robotics. “We have a unique technology that fits nicely in the gap between other automation solutions in the market for customers at a specific point in their journey, and our strict adherence to standard components and modular deployments allows our innovative e.Scala solution to be installed and commissioned quickly, resulting in an accelerated return on investment.”

Rainer Buchmann, senior advisor to stow Robotics, adds, “Phononic’s IoT software and dynamic messaging will enable e.Scala to act more intelligently and promptly to inventory and order management scenarios. With this alliance, we’re accelerating our shared vision of marshalling the most advanced technology for the present and future of warehouse automation.”

Said Dana Krug, SVP, Cold Chain Fulfillment at Phononic, “Joining forces with stow Robotics, a technology-driven leader in warehouse automation, allows Phononic to continue designing and providing the most critical, flexible end-to-end solutions for cold chain fulfillment in grocery retail. We’re excited to work closely with stow Robotics to deliver advanced cooling technology for this rapidly expanding sector with a global partner that is committed to innovation.”

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