Ocado pledges to stop robots burning down warehouses

Fires that ravaged Ocado warehouses and cost the retailer tens of millions are supposedly at an end thanks to new grocery-packing robots.

Talking to The Telegraph, chief executive Tim Steiner said the blazes happened because of the “old robot” design.

“With the new robots, nothing would have happened,” he added.

The 2019 fire at Ocado’s flagship hub in Andover raged for four days after a robot’s faulty charging unit caught alight.

READ MORE: Union threatens to ‘stain’ Ocado reputation over wage row

It cost the online supermarket ten per cent of its market share, with the building only reopening last month.

Another blaze took hold at Ocado’s Erith centre this July when three robots collided.

Despite damaging just one per cent of the warehouse’s systems, the retailer was forced to cancel orders for days afterwards and haemorrhaged £35 million in lost sales.

“Everyone is reassured that the lessons of Andover were well learnt, that Erith was well contained and that we can eliminate what caused the Erith fire to never happen again,” Steiner said.

He added that Ocado’s overseas partners, which include Casino in France and Kroger in the US, are “very reassured” by its updated robot designs.

The company stopped shipping old robots to retail customers this year.

Kantar data shows that Ocado’s year-on-year sales have slipped 1.5 per cent in the past 12 weeks.

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