Swisslog has begun its execution of a $21m warehouse expansion project for UAE water-bottling company Mai Dubai that will see it deliver a fully automated storage solution for the firm by 2018.

The project consists of two warehouses: one for raw materials and one for finished goods, standing 14m and 25m tall, respectively, that will be autonomously operated by pallet stacking robots.

Alain Khaddoum, the new GM for Swisslog Middle East: “We have finished the design and detailed engineering phases of the project, and have now begun the installation of the racking on site.

“We’re building a high bay warehouse that consists of two different warehouses: a rare material warehouse, with 5,592 pallet positions, and a finished goods warehouse, with around 17,560 pallet positions.”

Alongside the two facilities themselves, Swisslog will be delivering a 1km-long monorail system – the largest such system in the Middle East – that will connect to and from the production area.

The monorail will be travelled by 44 autonomous carts that Swisslog is designing specifically for the project. While still in the design phase, it is envisaged that the carts will each carry two pallets.

Khaddoum comments: “Once the goods go to the shipping area, or as they are received they are loaded manually using forklifts, but for the storage areas, it is a fully automated solution.”

Overall, the project will more than double the current production capacity of Mai Dubai, and will significantly increase its efficiency by implementing full automated storage and transport systems.

Automation will also allow the racking systems to be packed closely together, allowing for greater storage density than with a manual warehouse.

Khaddoum adds: “The project is then scheduled to be delivered during the summer in 2018.”

Mai Dubai initially broke ground on the expansion project in Yalayis, off Al Qudra road, in April 2017.

Check out the October issue of PMV Middle East for the full interview with Alain Khaddoum.