Catalytic Generators has recently been working on redesigning their Easy-Ripe® Ethylene Generator for fruit ripening and degreening and have just announced that they will be showcasing the new design at Fruit Logistica next month. After launching the original Easy-Ripe® Ethylene Generator in 1973, the company said it constantly seeks out improvements in the design and performance of the generator. In this next generation Easy-Ripe®, apart from aesthetic and physical improvements, the company has also provided the option of greater atmospheric control for ripeners.
Cleaner look and improved tank
Aesthetics played a part in one of the new features of the new ethylene generator. "The redesigned Easy-Ripe® Generator features a clean, white coating," said Greg Akins, President & CEO of Catalytic Generators. "We wanted to give it a cleaner, fresher, updated look that exemplifies our commitment to product innovation for the fresh produce industry and are excited about the new powder-coated white Easy-Ripe®!"
Another physical improvement is the newly designed tank that holds the all-important Ethy-Gen® II Ripening Concentrate itself. Akins shared that as part of the newly-designed tank, they also crafted a new cap. "Catalytic Generators wanted to incorporate a new tank with improved cap," he described. "This cap integrates a liquid level indicator, making it easier to know how much Ethy-Gen® II is in the tank."
Ethylene monitoring and control
One of the more significant movements in shipping and ripening is the ability to more accurately control atmosphere in ripening rooms. Moreover, this added control is increasingly featuring remote access, monitoring and control. With this in mind, Catalytic Generators ensured that the redesigned Easy-Ripe® Ethylene Generator would have the capacity to provide full ethylene monitoring and control.
"We sought to provide access for ethylene sensor control products to manipulate the generator's ethylene production and maintain a user-desired ethylene setpoint," Akins explained. "This enables ripeners to have more exact ethylene levels for the generator to react to any changes in the ethylene levels in a room. Over the years, our generators have always provided dependable ethylene output in the range required by the user, but we wanted to provide even better accuracy by connecting devices equipped with ethylene sensors and control modules. Therefore, we partnered with Felix Instruments of Camas, WA. to develop a sensor system that will constantly monitor and record ethylene levels, plus provide control of our Easy-Ripe® Generator, either with their control panel or one that is already in place in an existing ripening room."
Akins mentioned that, with Felix Instruments, they have developed two products for the ethylene control system - the Ethylene Management Controller and improved SmartRipe® Ethylene Generator Controller - and described their operation. "The SmartRipe® Ethylene Generator Controller features a touch screen that can be mounted in or out of ripening rooms and a high range ethylene sensor with a setpoint range from 50-1000ppm. The system works by simply entering a setpoint, and the controller will automatically regulate ethylene production. If ripening room doors are opened, the controller senses it and adjusts the ethylene level. Similarly, when the setpoint is reached, the controller takes notice and slows ethylene production to ensure the setpoint is maintained. The Ethylene Management Controller (EMC) has a low range ethylene sensor (setpoint range 1-10ppm). Low range sensing ability makes the EMC an excellent choice for tomato greenhouses, citrus degreening, storage areas for ethylene-sensitive produce, and more."
He also added that these products are unique to the ethylene sensor market, "featuring automatic zeroing and field-replaceable sensor cells for better reliability and accuracy".
Industry contacts at Fruit Logistica
Fruit Logistica is a gathering for the entire produce industry, including the ripening industry. It's a place where trends and technologies are discussed, such as the desire by ripeners to have better knowledge and control of their ethylene levels. It also provides an opportunity to meet with existing customers and exhibit products to visitors. "We are available to meet at our stand or other meeting points at Fruit Logistica to discuss ethylene application and how we can help fresh produce shippers and ripeners attain their goals of perfectly ripened bananas, avocados, mangoes and other tropical fruits," Akins said.
While bananas are already one of the fruits where ripening is a vital part of the supply chain, Catalytic Generators have also noted a rise in demand for their generators from avocado and mango producers and are hoping to have discussions with them at Fruit Logistica. "The avocado industry has realized the benefits of localized ripening and controlled ethylene application, resulting in better fruit quality and ready-to-eat products at the consumption point. Our sales to this industry have greatly increased. We're starting to see the same desire from mango shippers and are eager to work with them on developing ripening programs."
Attendees at Fruit Logistica can visit Catalytic Generators at Hall 26/F-01.