South African apples are stored in a controlled atmosphere that retards the ripening process.

Energy efficiency in storing and distributing

Apples are healthy, low in calories, and – thanks to sophisticated storage technology – are inexpensive throughout the year. We casually let these vitamin-rich snacks roll around in school rucksacks and office bags – after all, they look really stable and robust. But appearances are deceiving: apples are truly demanding when it comes to their storage. This goes for the familiar apple varieties from Betko Fresh Produce, including Golden Delicious, Braeburn, Pink Lady, and Granny Smith. Each year this South African company sorts and packs 50,000 tons of apples, 75 % of which are exported. Until they begin their trips to the Northern Hemisphere, they remain for a while after harvest in special cold-storage rooms equipped with systems from GEA. Betko stores them in crates in controlled atmospheres to slow the ripening and aging processes. In these warehouses, measurement and control systems keep temperatures slightly below freezing and the oxygen content at 2 % or lower. By now Betko has installed 72 cold-storage rooms with a capacity of 98,000 boxes of apples (each box has 500 kg).

Highest product quality

But it’s not only freshly picked fruit that must be carefully stored – freshly processed foods are also sensitive in storage. For the largest Dutch manufacturer of delicatessen salads and sandwiches, GEA has modernized the refrigeration of three storage areas. The existing system, based on R22 as refrigerant, was no longer able to assure the required room temperature of 2 °C / 35.6 °F. Our engineers installed a central ammonia pump that – in accordance with the customer’s wishes – can later be connected to the central cooling system. In addition to this pump, the new facility includes a compressor, a frequency-controlled electric motor, an oil separator, an air-cooled condenser, a high-pressure float valve, ammonia separators, and evaporators.

This facility, including gas sensors and ventilation system, is installed in an insulated machine room, directly behind one of the cold-storage rooms. The piping system consists of steel, insulated with polyisocyanurate (PIR) hard foam and aluminum. It withstands high pressures and is tested for leaks. The air condenser is installed in a coldstorage room. The products are cooled by means of naturally defrosting air coolers that are positioned on the same side as the machine room.

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