Ahold Delhaize sanitizes U.S. distribution centers with robots

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Ahold Delhaize is piloting an automated solution for disinfecting air and surfaces in two of its U.S. supply chain facilities.

Retail Business Services (RBS), the services company of Ahold Delhaize USA, is testing newly-launched ultraviolet (UV) robots from Ava Robotics in two of its affiliated distribution centers to support enhanced cleaning procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic. The fully autonomous robots feature applications that disinfect both air and surfaces, with integration of screens and speakers for disinfection-related announcements.

The robots also provide remote access for facilities managers or other users, and automatically send email reports to managers that confirm appropriate dosages for assigned areas. RBS can integrate the robots with its cleaning best practices and existing protocols. According to Ava Robotics, the solution offers a disinfection rate of approximately 9,000 sq. ft. per hour, with 99% effectiveness against COVID-19.

Retailers have been utilizing a variety of UV light-based solutions to provide automated sanitization in stores and facilities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Examples include Hudson’s Bay, Boll & Branch, and Silver Diner.

"2020 was an unprecedented year for grocery retail," said Chris Lewis, executive VP of supply chain for Retail Business Services. "As we delivered an exponential volume of products to grocery stores and their customers to provide the nourishment families need, ensuring the safety of associates in our distribution centers has been a top priority. In addition to other robust health and safety measures, the robots have enabled us to further enhance disinfection procedures at two sites to protect our greatest asset - our people. We were pleased to be the first in the industry to support the testing of this technology."

Ahold Delhaize USA is a division of Netherlands-based supermarket conglomerate Ahold Delhaize and operates more than 2,000 stores across 23 states under banners including Food Lion, Giant Food, The Giant Co., Hannaford, and Stop & Shop.