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Washing a two hundred strong fleet of vehicles each day

Wilcomatic began working with Ocado, the British online grocery delivery business, in 2014. Ocado have one of the largest fleets of refrigerated delivery vehicles in the UK with warehouses all over the country. The fleet are washed and refueled after each shift, creating a substantial demand for an efficient, cost effective wash solution.

Ocado’s need for a better solution

With some of Ocado’s sites home to over two hundred vehicles, they needed a wash solution that could handle a high volume of vans in a short period of time. The shift pattern of Ocado’s deliveries created further challenges, meaning that the majority of vehicles would arrive on site at the same time. Ocado didn’t want drivers to be spending their evenings in a queue at the warehouse, and couldn’t have their vans taking up road space outside of the facility. A solution where their vans were washed, fueled and ready for their next shift in the shortest time possible was necessary.

ocado delivery van

Wilcomatic spent time to fully examine different options by visiting several Ocado sites, calculating achievable targets, and researching new wash techniques. Several solutions were considered before settling on a bespoke new programme which would speed up the washing process while still achieving a high quality finish. This program would rinse and wash at the same time and had a high target speed of 1m45s per vehicle.

Implementing a bespoke solution

Pleased with Wilcomatic’s solution, Ocado asked for it to be rolled out to twenty of their sites around the country. The implementation process included the full turnkey package: design, civil works, construction, and all required screens, chemicals and consumables.

Ocado immediately started to see results. With vehicles being washed at a much faster rate, they were able to free up substantial space onsite and make several efficiency improvements to their process.

Finding ways to push the solution further

Excited by the results and keen to find further improvements, Ocado came back to Wilcomatic and challenged them to make washes even faster.

The straightforward solution would be to build more machines, but Wilcomatic were aware of Ocado’s space constraints. Instead, they adapted equipment which was already built at the sites and introduced conveyor systems to automatically pull vehicles through.

The conveyors almost doubled the throughput of vehicles from 30 to 50 per hour. This solution had the added bonus of further increasing wash standards as the drivers were no longer relied on to take the vehicles through the machines. This is prone to error and inconsistent washing as drivers may not allow the whole programme to complete.


vehicles per hour throughput

Ocado is working with Wilcomatic in an ongoing process to roll out the wash solutions across its sites nationwide. Since initiating the work, the success of the project has led to Ocado substantially increasing the scope. Wilcomatic’s machines have increased efficiency, considerably reduced ongoing costs and freed up large amounts of space on the Ocado warehouse sites.

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