"Good ripening is an essential step for various horticultural products, such as bananas and tropical fruits," says Fran Sierra, managing partner of Frío Vizcaya. This Basque company, leader in the design, installation and maintenance of industrial refrigeration facilities, is making the jump to the national market with innovative solutions in the exotic fruit ripening sector.
“We use every technology available in the market and we adapt them to each type of client, focusing on energy efficiency, technology, robustness of the installation and low maintenance costs,” says Fran. “We are currently mostly working with refrigerants with very low potential for global warming or natural gases, such as NH3 (ammonia) or CO2 (carbon dioxide).
Energy saving, the turning point
“Our team has developed the Super-Inverter technology, which we have been implementing for more than 10 years in refrigeration facilities with surprising energy savings. We have also managed to stabilize the operation of refrigeration equipment, improve yields, maintain high humidity levels and extend the useful life of the equipment,” says Fran Sierra. "Our customers have tested the efficiency of these solutions and in some cases they have achieved energy savings of 70% compared to conventional ones," says Fran Sierra.
Effective partnership with the Netherlands
The company is the official distributor in Spain of the technology from VDH Products BV, a prestigious Dutch firm with more than 40 years of international experience in the manufacture and development of technological products for the ripening and control of tropical fruits.
“We have trained technical specialists in the PROBA system from VDH, whose latest version, PROBA 5, offers an exhaustive flexibility for the control of all parameters and values in the ripening process and the product's preservation. In a demanding market, like the current one, these requirements are essential in the sector,” says the director of Frío Vizcaya.
"In 2019 we closed an agreement with Cooling Service Holland to distribute its innovative Top Tec ripening technology. The system is characterized by the placement of prefabricated units on the ripening chambers." According to the director of Frío Vizcaya, its advantages are:
- inverted air system to obtain the same temperature in the entire chamber,
- homogeneity in the color of the product to be ripened (bananas, mangoes, avocados...),
- reduction of moisture loss in the ripening processes, extending the commercial shelf life of the product to be ripened,
- a design that facilitates preventive and corrective maintenance work and reduces the cleaning time of chambers and equipment,
- more energy efficient than other systems thanks to its unique software.
“Top Tec has already been installed by numerous international ripening companies. One of its appeals is the price; it is an affordable investment with a good return if you take the energy savings achieved into account,” says Fran Sierra.
Technology at the service of climacteric fruit
The company has also been working for years with Oxyion. “With this technology, we control the ripening of any climacteric fruit (bananas, avocados, mangoes, etc.). We thus optimize and cut execution times in the necessary ripening process of fruits," says Fran Sierra.
“We work in the domestic market, with new projects in the Basque Country, Castile-La Mancha and the Canary Islands. However, we continue to grow, not only with projects and technology, but also with technical assistance 365 days a year. In order to service the facilities installed by us, we have agreements with local refrigeration companies working under the supervision of Frío Vizcaya,” says Fran.
Frío Vizcaya was founded 30 years ago. Since its inception, it has always worked for the fruit and vegetable sector and has carried out all kinds of refrigeration projects for the preservation and freezing of fruits and vegetables.
In recent years, it has also specialized in the design and manufacture of its own ripening chambers for tropical fruits (bananas, avocados, mangoes, etc.). According to Fran Sierra, the refrigeration engineering of the last 10 years offers efficient solutions that are also environmentally-friendly. "This commitment to energy efficiency has led us to carry out ambitious projects and to participate in energy conferences," he said.