MTX Contracts Ltd were approached to assist in looking at ways of improving their existing ripening infrastructure. The existing rooms in use for this process were simple blast coolers and warming rooms with no forced air capability. This was having a detrimental effect on produce that in most cases was ripened unevenly.
After careful consultation with the Frutas Montosa team, we were able to establish that to increase product turn around and to ensure consistent ripening, 6 MTX ripening rooms would be required to meet with demand. However in order to achieve this, a number of challenges had to be overcome.
Frutas Montosa is very much at the forefront in Avocado production, supplying produce throughout Spain and around the world. In order to do this efficiently, they have introduced large perforated polypropylene bins, each capable of holding up to 300kg of produce. The bins once full enter the system and have individual barcode tracking devises fitted to each, allowing produce to be tracked throughout the process. The bins however do have inherent restrictions that had to be overcome in order to facilitate forced air ripening.
Each bin is 1200mm wide x 1000mm deep x 800mm high and have forklifting points that creates a gap in between stacks. This creates air gap at each bin position allowing air to bypass. To overcome this MTX have created individual sealing flaps that are positioned at each bin location to prevent air leakage. There are 128 of these seals per room and have been proven to work extremely well. Tests carried out have shown that within each bin random samples of fruit have reached and maintained set point much faster than expected.
The rooms were constructed in part by local Spanish contractors and by MTX’s specialist contractors who were on site for 7 weeks once the room shells were completed, to install equipment shipped from the UK.
Each room comprises of the following:
- 8 No pressure fans
- 2 No 22 kw evaporators
- Steam humidifier
- 1 No vent fan & damper
- 16 pallet dampers
- Co2 sensor
- Humidity sensor
- Temperature sensors
- High temperature cut out
- Room control panel
- Room control unit
- Specialist pallet sealing system
- Room lighting (PIR activated)
- Void lighting
- Sliding access door
The project was completed on time and on budget in just 8 weeks. This project has been very successful and MTX have been asked to look at other areas within their facility to introduce additional MTX forced air ripening room systems.