Beginning as early as the late 19th century, it has been our business to refrigerate processes and to control the temperature of transported goods. Today, we also serve the area of cold stores and distribution with a major share of our technologies.
Experts estimate that, worldwide, more than one-third of all perishable goods never reach the consumer. The reason: insufficient cooling during storage and transport. Minor shortcomings do not mean that fruit and vegetables automatically become unappetizing, but they are unappealing and are simply not purchased.
Refrigeration before production and especially afterward safeguards your good reputation as processor of foods and prevents financial losses. It furthermore protects the environment, since mushy fruit and wilted lettuce rot on garbage dumps and burden the air with methane. If less is thrown away, then less needs to be cultivated and processed. This in turn reduces water and energy consumption, and saving products increases the efficiency of your company. We direct all of our attention to each and every product, since each individual foodstuff must be stored at its own ideal temperature and humidity. Warmth is also not always your worst enemy, since frost and temperature fluctuations during loading and unloading can make many goods quickly age. This is why we are the best bean counters when it comes to refrigeration processes: but sometimes we do compare apples and pears. This is because these two types of fruit as a rule need a cold store in which – in addition to temperature and humidity – oxygen and carbon dioxide content must be monitored.
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 Refrigeration Technologies. 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).
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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