Ultimate Construction Site

The Coop wholesale and retail group is expanding its existing logistics centre in the Swiss town of Schafisheim. Part of the connection from main distribution to automated sub-distribution is being provided with special cables from HELUKABEL, which weigh several tonnes.

Construction site of COOP

The new Coop logistics centre is expanding in Schafisheim, Switzerland. (© Coop)

At present, on the route between Basel and Zürich is the largest private construction site in Switzerland. In the town of Schafisheim in the canton of Aargau, Coop is expanding an existing distribution centre into a state-of-the-art logistics centre with the largest bakery and confectionery system in Switzerland. In the future, 60,000 tonnes of bakery products per year will be produced here. By merging several sites, the wholesale and retail group hopes to save 60 million Francs per year and is spending 600 million Francs to do so. From this conveniently accessible location near major motorways and railway lines, Coop will supply fresh products to all branches in the sales region of Northwest Switzerland – Central Switzerland – Zürich in future. When the last tradespeople pack up at the start of 2016, there will be 1,900 people working here.The dimensions of the new logistics centre are huge. In the building for cold storage and the industrial bakery alone, there would be space for around 1,000 detached houses, and in the future there will be space for 1,300 cars in the underground garage. The old section of the existing distribution centre around which the new buildings are positioned seems almost tiny. Next to the industrial bakery and cold storage are the extensions for refrigeration logistics, fresh food logistics and a high-rack warehouse. The vast building complex is supplied with heat from its own biomass plant.

bird's eye view construction area
(© Coop)
future model in bird's eye view
Schafisheim in the future. (© IE Food Engineering)


One section of the mammoth project is being overseen by the Alpiq InTec Group. The Swiss building services engineering company is in charge of heating and ventilation through sanitary facilities to even the electrical installations in Building A. The big challenge on this project is that everything is being handled during ongoing construction since Coop wants to continue to supply the supermarkets with goods from here while the construction work is happening. Their goal is to use the existing section of the building and, depending on construction progress, from the new extensions as well. A tight schedule and a sophisticated construction sequence will ensure that this is successful – but naturally only if all the companies involved also adhere to the schedule. HELUKABEL has supplied five cable drums of halogen-free power cable. This supplies power to the UV automation throughout Building A, which includes automation, conveyor systems, lifts and lighting. Yoghurt, milk and many other fresh products are stored here and distributed onwards to the Coop sales outlets. Through five cables that run in parallel, power flows with a current of 2,500 Amperes. These cables are flexible, moisture-resistant and flame-retardant.


The 4x300 mm² (600 kcmil) special cable is a genuine heavyweight – four cores of fine-stranded copper insulated with a special ethylene-propylene polymer form one large strand of halogen-free and flame-retardant material with an external diameter of 81.5 millimetres (3 in.). The cables, each 150 metres (493 ft.) long, weigh over seven tonnes in total. Laying cables of such weight is a real feat and can be done only with special tools such as cable pulling machines and guide pulleys. Up to seven workers helped pull in the cables. Now, they are all installed and the products arrive in the supermarkets fresh and well-chilled.

The COOP Group

Coop has the densest sales network in Switzerland – 99 percent of the Swiss population is only 10 minutes away from the nearest branch. In addition to supermarkets, the Coop group – which is organised as a co-operative and based in Basel – also includes hardware stores and restaurants.


As a fully owned subsidiary of Swiss energy company Alpiq Holding AGAG , Alpiq InTec Group based in Zürich is a company that operates in the areas of building services engineering, building management, transportation engineering, energy supply technology, process automation, energy efficiency consulting and electromobility. In Schafisheim, the company was responsible for the complete building services engineering of Building A.