Softripe technology described as “game-changer” for avocado storage

New avocado ripening facility unveiled with Softripe.

This article first appeared in Fresh Produce Journal

Worldwide Fruit and JD Cooling have unveiled their new “game changing” avocado ripening facility in Spalding, Lincolnshire.

Softripe Tehcnology

L-r: John Dye (Chairman, JD Cooling Group), Mark Everett (Business Unit Director, Worldwide Fruit), Ilona Stylinska (Softripe Manager, Worldwide Fruit), Neal Collishaw (Operations Director, Worldwide Fruit), James Tumber (Specialist Services & Ripening Director, JD Cooling Group).

The new facility uses Softripe technology that’s able to produce better quality fruit thanks to computer atomsphere control, for a more efficient ripening process, with 40 per cent less energy use.

Avocados from the new facility will reach supermarkets in October.

JD Cooling chairman John Dye said independent taste trials of Softripe-stored fruit have demonstrated better quality, flavour and shelf life.

Speaking at the official ribbon cutting, Dye said: “It is not very often something comes along in our industry that is game changing, but Softripe is most certainly that, and indeed the biggest thing to happen in the ripening sector for decades. This facility is going to be a total revolution for the ripe and ready marketplace.

“There’s a lot of noise out there at the moment about other ripening systems, but Softripe is the only one in the world that’s able to control ethylene, CO2 and oxygen levels by communicating directly with the fruit,“ Dye said,

“It also allows suppliers to remove their post ripening grading process and destructive testing and is the only system that can achieve such dramatic increases in shelf life.”

 

Softripe is a patented ripening process that uses a completely gas-tight chamber together with CO2 absorbers and nitrogen generators to enable optimum levels of ethylene, CO2 and oxygen all to be fully controlled. This allows the unique Softripe software algorithms to establish the optimum conditions for perfect ripening every time.

Softripe rooms

The new facility at Worldwide Fruit’s Spalding operations also delivers greater energy efficiency and more attractive fruit according to JD Cooling.

Neal Collishaw, operations director at Worldwide Fruit said: “Our key strategic direction is to deliver zero waste in all of our processes. Avocados are a notoriously difficult product to ripen in a traditional ripening system.

“Post-ripening, we still had variability among the raw material which can end up on the shelf, leading to consumer dissatisfaction. Softripe now ensures we have a more consistent, superior product and has enabled us to remove the secondary grading from our processes. Along with the reduced ripening cycles, there are clear benefits to producers, distributors, retailers, and consumers.”

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Vacuum Cooling explained

Vacuum Cooling explained.

With high demand on farmers to yield higher quality produce that will keep on supermarket shelves for longer periods, growers and distribution centres are looking for the best solutions to reduce wastage and lower operating costs. Vacuum cooling (VC) is a unique way of cooling. Instead of using (forced) cold air or cold water to cool down your produce, with vacuum you use “evaporative energy” for cooling. By reducing the pressure inside the vacuum room, you force (a fraction of) the product’s own moisture to evaporate. This evaporation costs energy, which is taken from the produce in the form of a temperature reduction.

Vacuum cooling

Vacuum cooling process

What sort of fruit and vegetable is suitable for Vacuum Cooling?

VC is a pre-cooling method where the harvest removed field heat by reducing pressure inside a sealed container which evaporates moisture internally from the product. This process takes away energy which warrants rapid cooling, generally within 15 – 30 minutes for most products. VC works best for produce with a “high surface to weight” and that lose water easily such as lettuce and herbs:

Vacuum Cooling examples

Vacuum Cooling different fruits and vegetables

 

Steps to vacuum Cooling:

  1. The product is placed in the vacuum cooler and the chamber is sealed
  2. The Vacuum pump starts working and decreases the air pressure in the chamber. The boiling point is consequently lowered.
  3. The boiling process requires heat, withdrawn from the product, allowing it to cool down.
  4. The Vacuum pump drain water-vapor through the condenser
  5. The cycle is finished, the produce is cooled and the pressure returns to 1000 millibar
  6. The condensed water is discharged and the cooling system is ready for the next load

Is it Expensive?

The fast and uniform cooling (the surface and core of the product reach exact the same temperature after VC) results in a substantially longer shelf life of produce and at the same time, saves on energy costs. The VC process is much more cost effective than other traditional cooling technologies as the output capacity, quick turnaround and energy cost reduction reduce overall operational spending. Many companies also offer rental solutions to appeal to seasonal growers.

 

Where can I get one?

Heuch Fresh offer a range of premium quality solutions for VC and cold chain management, using state-of-the art refrigeration technology and the latest environmentally friendly refrigerants. Together with a world-wide supplier network, they are leading in vacuum cooling technology and are able to supply full cold-chain solutions for cold and hot applications.

https://www.heuchfresh.com.au/vacuum-cooling/

Heuch Fresh | Vacuum Coolers | Vacuum Cooling | Weber Group Australia

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Heuch gets fresh with European designed cooling solutions

This article first appeared on Climate Control News

After noticing a demand for more innovative and advanced pre-cooling and cold storage options for growers and distributors battling the Aussie heat, Heuch managing director, Steve Oakley, created a new subsidiary known as Heuch Fresh – Cold Chain Solutions.

Heuch Fresh Cold Chain Solutions

Oakley said the new division is dedicated to providing cooling solutions with a proven history in European markets to improve product quality, increase produce shelf life, reduce wastage and lower operating costs. 

He said that since 1970 Heuch has been empowering businesses and communities to be self-sufficient and economically sustainable by providing first rate HVACR engineering solutions and programmed maintenance services.

“Our focus is entirely on your business and how we can help provide a solution that covers the complete cold chain cycle from harvest to processing to storage,” he said.

After winning the 2016 HVACR Innovator of the Year Award, Heuch made its entry into the European fresh produce market at Fruit Logistica in Berlin where the company showcased its 100 per cent solar powered refrigeration container solution alongside Dutch company BG door.

This is when the company reached agreements with companies such as Nijssen, Weber, Besseling and Softripe.

“Heuch Fresh are now providing the latest state of the art equipment in pre-cooling, vacuum cooling, controlled atmosphere (CA) and ripening rooms to farmers as well as providers of fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs – proof of our success in solar integration and professional servicing,” Oakley said.

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Heuch Targets Fresh Produce

Australian-based company believes solar power holds key to overcoming cool chain challenges

This article originally appeared in Fruitnet.com

Sensing an opening for affordable and reliable cooling technologies across the globe, Australian-based company Heuch has developed a suite of solar powered refrigeration solutions.

Originally designed for humanitarian applications in disaster stricken areas, the range rings true to the company’s vision of empowering businesses and communities.

“The 100 per cent solar powered cold chain provides communities and businesses with reliable and free access to electricity and refrigeration, without the uncertainly of supply, health and monetary costs associated with diesel powered generators or creating a stable grid connection,” explained Martin Oakley, Heuch’s business development manager.

Heuch is currently working with the Indonesian government to provide an entire cold chain solution for remote fishing communities in the Asian nation, while also looking to develop a solar powered milk chiller to suit small scale dairy farmers in India.

The company made its entry into the European fresh produce market at Fruit Logistica in Berlin during February, where it showcased its solutions alongside Dutch firm BG Door.

Oakley said the company’s solar chiller was an instant hit with growers and distributors, following 18 months of research and development testing at its manufacturing facility on the outskirts of Melbourne.

“The ability to set the desired beginning of a cold chain at the point of harvest, without any additional infrastructure, was attractive to those growers focused on harvest time, whilst others, such as potato farmers, were attracted to the prospect of no cost cold storage to extend the saleable life of their product,” Oakley told Fruitnet.

“Our solar powered dryer also attracted attention from mango growers, looking for more quality and consistency in the drying of their mangoes.”

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