Digi-key expands product distribution capability

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Digi-Key Electronics is expanding its product distribution capacity, with the opening of new facilities in Thief River Falls in Minnesota.

The official ribbon cutting ceremony of its new centre is pictured above. This increases the company’s headquarters’ footprint by 2.2 million square feet, it highlights, for a combined total of more than 3 million square feet (see right). A skybridge connects the original distribution centre to the new building.

It will, Digi-Key estimates, allow the company to pick, pack and ship nearly three times its previous daily average of 27,000 packages to customers around the world.

“As exciting as this expansion is for us, our hope is that our customers truly don’t notice a difference – the transition for them should be seamless, and if anything, result in an even better customer service experience than they are already accustomed to,” said Dave Doherty, president of Digi-Key.

“For us, it’s deeper roots in Thief River Falls and a commitment to continue investing in this community and the state of Minnesota.”


The new product distribution facility is nearly fully automated. The only task that is done by hand, says Digi-Key, is the actual picking of parts. Among the racks of components, carts are wire-guided. This system will save 10% of time and should be significantly safer.

The building features six backup diesel engines and pumps along with a water tank built for fire suppression. It also has its own storm sewer and run-off ponds so as not to contribute to any flooding concerns in the locality.

For sustainability, the roof has a white membrane to reflect the sun’s heat, sensor-activated LED lights to minimise electricity usage, and a specially designed conveying system which maximises energy efficiency.

Image: Digi-Key – Pictured: Chris Lauer, vice president, order fulfillment, Digi-Key; Thief River Falls Mayor Brian Holmer; Dr. Ron Stordahl, owner, Digi-Key; Dave Doherty, president, Digi-Key; Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove; and Ramesh Babu, CIO, Digi-Key.

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