High-Tech Target Warehouse Keeps Foods Fresher

Grocery distribution center uses fully automated robotics

By Brian Scott
|  Monday, Jun 3, 2013  |  Updated 7:37 PM CDT
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Target has opened a new 360,000-square-foot facility located near the Denton Airport. The grocery distribution center is the first of its kind to use fully automated robotics and technology to keep foot fresher and move it to stores faster.

Brian Scott, Denton County Reporter

Target has opened a new 360,000-square-foot facility located near the Denton Airport. The grocery distribution center is the first of its kind to use fully automated robotics and technology to keep foot fresher and move it to stores faster.

Target has opened a state-of-the-art grocery distribution center in Denton.

The 360,000-square-foot facility located near the Denton Airport is the first of its kind to use fully automated robotics and technology to keep foot fresher and move it to stores faster.

"We've got the best technology really in the entire U.S. and the world, and it's operating very effectively," said Steve Dembowski, general manager.

The entire facility consists of climate-controlled warehouses to ensure food is stored and transported at the proper temperatures. The coldest freezer section reaches -15 degrees Fahrenheit.

Large robotic arms and conveyor belts that line the entire facility move products into carefully categorized areas, even wrapping them in the proper specs for shipping.

Any given product in the facility is only ever touched by human hands once while there and the items can be moved in and out within the day if needed, one employee said.

A section of 20 banana rooms at the front is one of the most distinctive areas of the distribution center. Each room is meticulously monitored and controlled to ripen the bananas inside to different ages. The department is overseen by a trained staffer from Chiquita Bananas to ensure quality.

Target spokeswoman Andrea McCauley said the retailer put a lot of emphasis on the bananas because they are the first thing a person sees when entering a store. The quality of the fruit speaks volumes about the quality of the groceries throughout, she said.

It's also no accident that the new building is located in Denton.

The location of the city -- right on the Interstate 35E-35W split makes it the ideal spot to distribute to facility's service area, Dembowski said.

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