Phononic Featured in Interact Analysis’ Grocery Shop 2022 Recap

September 30, 2022

Interact Analysis is a market intelligence authority for global technology that helps companies make sustainable strategy decisions by delivering research right across the automation value chain, focusing on three core areas — Industrial Automation, Robotics and Warehouse Automation, and Commercial Vehicles.

They recently featured Phononic in their recap article titled “Key Takeaways for Warehouse Automation Vendors from GroceryShop 2022

From the Article:

Known for its casinos and lavish hotels, Las Vegas attracts between 30 to 40 million visitors each year. The city is synonymous with extravagance and decadence; words seldom used to describe the grocery industry. Yet Las Vegas hosted the most influential grocery tech conference in the world last week: GroceryShop 2022.

As 4,000 grocery execs and suppliers came together at the Mandalay Bay hotel, the direction of the industry was discussed and future trends were shaped. The themes of the show were broad, ranging from social commerce and retail media to supply chain and robotics. We’ve written this insight to distill the main themes relating warehouse automation, summarizing the key trends whilst removing the noise.

A Solution for Cold Chain?

Showcasing its actively-cooled thermoelectric totes in a VLM system, Phononic drew a lot of attention at the show. With energy prices soaring, chilling or freezing storage environments can be costly and unsustainable. Phononic’s approach is to cool and freeze the tote rather than the whole environment. From an automation standpoint, this means that you can store chilled, frozen, and ambient goods in the same storage system, avoiding the need for three separate environments.

The solution extends beyond storage applications. At Delivery World earlier this month, Phononic showcased a temperature controlled electric delivery van. Cooling or freezing individual totes will be more environmentally friendly than cooling the entire cargo space of a van. For this reason, several retailers already chill or freeze individual totes when delivering online groceries, however, most are done via passive cooling using dry ice rather than an actively cooled solution.

There are still some questions which need answering. Most importantly: does the economics stack up? Does the cost savings of not having to use dry-ice for each delivery outweigh the high up-front cost of the totes? In addition, it’s unclear to us how these totes will be cleaned? Will they be able to go into an industrial cleaner given all of the electronics under the hood? Either way, the use of thermoelectric totes is a very interesting technology which has the potential to disrupt the cold chain industry if proven successful.

Read the full article here: Key Takeaways for Warehouse Automation Vendors from GroceryShop 2022