Apr 26, 2019

Robot blamed for Ocado flagship warehouse fire

Ocado said a robot catching fire was to blame for the blaze that caused serious damage to its automated Hampshire warehouse in February this year. The company, which builds robot-operated depots for other supermarkets, said an electrical fault in a battery charging unit had caused the plastic lid on top of one of its bots to catch alight, resulting in a major fire that took 200 firefighters to put out. In the circular published on Friday afternoon, Ocado said: "The conclusion reached is that the cause of the fire at CFC 3 was an electrical fault at one of the first-generation battery charging units at the edge of the ambient storage grid which caused the plastic lid on the top of a grocery carrying robot to catch alight." In February Ocado said the fire would affect sales, due to the importance of the fulfilment centre, which is one of four and accounts for roughly 10 per cent of the company's orders. Shares in Ocado dropped 8 per cent on the morning of the fire.

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