Good Fruit & Vegetables

Vacuum coolers give horticulture growers an edge

The Koldtek vacuum cooler technology is unique only to Koldtek and enables growers to quickly and efficiently cool their produce, maximising shelf life and quality. Picture supplied
The Koldtek vacuum cooler technology is unique only to Koldtek and enables growers to quickly and efficiently cool their produce, maximising shelf life and quality. Picture supplied

This is branded content for Koldtek.

KOLDTEK is a Brisbane-based company leading the way in the design of refrigeration equipment for the fruit and vegetable industry for the past 30 years.

The Koldtek vacuum cooler technology is unique only to Koldtek and enables growers to quickly and efficiently cool their produce, maximising shelf life and quality.

Once harvested, fresh produce are susceptible moisture loss and pathogen attack in the form of bacteria and mould growth, this can cause rapid produce deterioration unless cooled quickly and maintained at the correct storage temperature.

The director and engineer behind the Koldtek vacuum cooler technology, Grant Blacker, said all harvested fruit and vegetables respire, which means they take in oxygen, and combined with sugars and proteins from the product, produce carbon dioxide and energy, in the form of heat.

"This is known as 'heat of respiration'," he said.

"Different fruits and vegetables generate 'heat of respiration' at different rates.

"For example some produce have very high respiration rates, such as broccoli, sweetcorn, mushrooms, peas, beans and some berries."

At coldroom storage temperatures (2 deg C), 1000kg of broccoli will generate 80 watts of heat, the same broccoli at 20 deg C generates 800 watts of heat.

Incorporating a Koldtek vacuum cooler into the cooling process means there is less strain on existing coldrooms, as the vacuum cooler does all the work, even on 40+ deg C days. Picture supplied
Incorporating a Koldtek vacuum cooler into the cooling process means there is less strain on existing coldrooms, as the vacuum cooler does all the work, even on 40+ deg C days. Picture supplied

Increase the temperature to 27 deg C and it generates 1600 watts of heat.

"It is easy to see how warm broccoli in a coldroom can overwhelm the refrigeration system, particularly on a hot day," Mr Blacker said.

"A vacuum cooler works by vaporising water on the surface and just under the surface of the produce.

"This process of converting water to a vapour takes heat from the product and cools it down.

"Koldtek vacuum coolers can cool produce such as broccoli and sweetcorn from 20 deg C to 3 deg C in 25 minutes.

"Leafy produce like lettuce and baby leaf as quick as 10 to 15 minutes.

"The produce loses a minimal amount of moisture during the cooling process. To counteract this, for dense produce like broccoli and sweetcorn, water is intermittently introduced into the vacuum chamber during the cooling cycle.

"Incorporating a Koldtek vacuum cooler into the cooling process means there is less strain on existing coldrooms, as the vacuum cooler does all the work, even on 40+ deg C days."

Koldtek has worked with some of Australia's most successful growers to revolutionise their cooling processes.

Mr Blacker said these growers are all similar in the following ways; they supply quality produce, incorporate new technologies, and use best practices to ensure viable profitable businesses.

"Thirty or 40-year-old cooling systems don't cut it any more," he said.

"Many of the farms we have worked with have previously used 'forced air cooling' systems and hydrocoolers that are either undersized or poorly designed.

"Incorporating a Koldtek vacuum cooler into the cooling process has enabled growers to boost their efficiency, productivity and reliability, this adds up to increased returns for the business, and that's what it's all about."

Koldtek can also supply rental vacuum coolers to growers. A rental machine allows growers to experience the benefits without the capital outlay.

Designed by engineers for Australian conditions, Koldtek vacuum coolers are manufactured to the highest standards and backed by the company's reputation for reliability, longevity and efficiency.

  • Find out more about how a Koldtek vacuum cooler can benefit your business at koldtek.com.au or by phoning Grant Blacker on 0412 327 304.

This is branded content for Koldtek.