A "tailor-made" solution for a very competent customer, a project for an out-of-scale plant. An exciting challenge, hard work, but also a lot of satisfaction in having acquired a great project like the new state-of-the-art ripening platform of SIIM, in Rungis (France). In addition, for projects of this magnitude, technique, partners but also financial soundness are important.
Massimiliano Castagna loved to elaborate on this. He is the sales manager of Cold Energy, a company based in Verona and operating internationally in the industrial refrigeration sector, with a strong specialization in the field of banana and exotic fruit ripening.
Massimiliano Castagna, sales manager of Cold Energy.
"Every time, we try to meet the customer's needs with 'tailor-made' solutions. It’s our strong point. There are no standard systems. An area of 12,000 square meters, as for the SIIM project, is equivalent to two standard A-league soccer fields,” Castagna said. “We will supply all the insulating panels, all the doors, an ammonia refrigeration unit characterized by a particularly low energy consumption, rooms for the fruit storage, with a special one for pineapples – a key element as SIIM is the largest grower of pineapples in Ecuador and the leading supplier of the French Market, and 42 ripening rooms for bananas and exotic fruit – for a global capacity of 1608 pallets - 87.000 boxes of bananas.”
"The latter, in particular, will have a technology to improve ripening by controlling not only temperature, humidity and ethylene concentration, as everyone does, but also oxygen and carbon dioxide levels."
For the sales manager and his team, it is very satisfying to have acquired this project. "Honestly, this is really an out-of-scale plant and my satisfaction and that of the whole team is enormous. But now the best part will arrive: we must move on to the building phase and April 1st is soon to arrive. We must work tirelessly and relentlessly. We will celebrate properly when the work is finished."
Castagna also stressed an important thing: "Having a very competent and demanding customer like SIIM, in the person of its managing director Vincent Omer-Decugis and his team, helped us a lot. He always pushed us to improve every detail of the project and this allowed us to overcome the competition down to the wire. It wasn’t at all easy, the other companies were very valid and determined."
The work for SIIM is something that will remain in the history of Cold Energy and this is also reflected in the mood of the Cold Energy team and those who work with this Italian company. "This kind of results contributes a lot to unite the team, even if you have to be careful not to exaggerate in loading people with responsibilities and commitments, to avoid being over-revved - explained the sales manager - Our company operates in so many sectors, from bananas to fish and ice cream. So the work varies a lot and you don't get bored."
"In order to be able to manage projects of this importance, we need: a great experience; a working group made up of passionate people; partners/suppliers able to give technical answers and delivery times in line with the building site's needs and a suitable corporate structure from a financial point of view."
"Furthermore, let's not forget the teams of our fitters, who make enormous sacrifices on the building site to meet delivery times, as scheduled. Do you want to know a nice anecdote? I remember that, during the building phase of another project, a kitchen was installed. Every day we cooked pasta for everyone, both for Cold Energy men and for the other fitter teams. Probably something new will be created in Rungis."
Low-energy ammonia system, under construction by Cold Energy
Last but not least, it’s always crucial to find the right partners to work with, and not just for projects like SIIM. "Partner is the right word, because it is not a question of mere suppliers. In particular, if we talk about BG Door and VDH, two top Dutch companies: the first specialized in the construction of doors and special components for ripening rooms, the second specialized in the construction of instrumentation for handling and control of the ripening process. With them, since Cold Energy was founded, a strong and active collaboration was born. You can't go anywhere by yourself!"
"On this project the expectations are very high, it will be considered an international benchmarking ripening plant. Therefore we foresee an equally important technical-marketing interest", concludes Castagna.
Cold Energy will co-exhibit, together with BG Door, at Fruit Attraction 2019 (Madrid, 22-24 October), in Hall 10-Booth F01.