Automated distribution facility for US pork processor

Tuesday, 26 April, 2022

Lineage Logistics has designed and built a new distribution facility for US pork producer and food processing company Smithfield Foods.

Spanning nearly 684,500 m2 with over 62,000 pallet positions, the distribution facility is designed to provide new levels of operational efficiency via automation.

At the facility’s core are 18 automated cranes that move inventory into, out of and within the facility. The cranes also feature a temperature-controlled layer-picking system that can disassemble and reassemble pallets of goods, a process previously performed manually. As a result, the robotics and software fully automate over 97% of the product movement through the facility.

Lineage sponsored academic research in mathematics to determine how to schedule and dispatch components in the facility, increasing throughput capability. Computer vision systems automatically identify the contents of each pallet, decreasing the building footprint. Lineage’s technology teams refined the robotic layout in simulation, stress-testing it against high growth, food holidays and even the March 2020 panic-buying.

The facility also features Lineage’s patented blast cell technology that reduces freeze time and energy use by approximately one-half relative to traditional blast cells, aligning with Smithfield’s commitment to sustainability. Smithfield has pledged to become carbon negative, reduce GHG emissions 30% and halve food waste in its US company-owned operations by 2030.

“We are thrilled to announce the opening of the state-of-the-art facility that Lineage designed and built for Smithfield in Olathe,” said Greg Lehmkuhl, President and CEO of Lineage.

The facility combines innovations in robotics, numerical simulation, thermodynamics, algorithms, computer vision and software to enable efficient access to food. In addition to the software inside the building, the facility features Lineage Link, a customer experience platform that provides Smithfield with access, visibility and control to their product.

Image credit: ©

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