Starting from 1st September, the SIIM platform has been fully operational at the heart of the International Market of Paris-Rungis: more than 12,000 m² (spread between the social headquarters of the OmerDecugis Group and the warehouse), with 1,000 pallets of differentiated cold storage and 42 ripening chambers with a total simultaneous capacity of 67 trucks (1,608 pallets).
In the building phase of the new platform, the Italian Cold Energy firm was also involved. This company is based in Verona and it operates internationally in the industrial refrigeration sector, with a strong specialization in the field of banana and exotic fruit ripening.
"The ripening platform is the largest in France with the equivalent of 67 cells, dedicated to bananas and exotics, in addition to extended storage, packing and distribution capabilities," said Vincent Omer-Decugis, CEO of the family business Omer-Decugis Group.
"We had some very specific requests for the quality processes, innovation and sustainability of our installation, looking for bespoke solutions in every aspects. Cold Energy was the right partner, with a capacity to think out of the box and raise their standard to our unique requirement level."
The SIIM platform is equipped with several innovative systems adapted to the activities of the Group and meeting the global challenges of performance and energy efficiency.
"The installation was designed to be innovative and exactly adjusted to our products: bananas, mangoes, pineapples and exotics," explained Omer-Decugis. "The challenge was not to develop just any new platform, but a sharp tool, a centre of excellence, exactly adjusted to the produce, our know-how, extensive experience and vision for excellence, efficiency and sustainability. Every aspect was analysed and the appropriate solution developed and installed: cold production, free cooling, energy effective lights, air treatment, centralized control and management of ethylene in ripening cells and cold rooms, state-of-the-art ripening technologies, ventilation and storage systems adjusted to each fruit, bespoke racking systems, conveyors, paletizers and innovative packing machinery."
"We supplied the insulating panels, the doors, the ripening system, the fruit cold rooms and the ammonia refrigeration unit characterized by a particularly low energy consumption. We also designed a new technology to improve ripening by controlling not only temperature, humidity and ethylene concentration, as everyone does, but also oxygen and carbon dioxide levels," added Massimiliano Castagna, sales manager of Cold Energy.
As for cold production, the focus was on energy performance and reliability. “The system is made up of three ammonia (NH3)/glycol water chillers for a substantial economic and ecological impact. The safety and reliability of the system is ensured by the redundancy of each element, including two compressors for each chiller."
Low-energy ammonia system, under construction by Cold Energy
A free cooling system has been designed and installed to take over the cooling system as soon as the outside temperature is below 8 °C, thus limiting the energy resources needed for cold production in winter.
How did the pandemic affect you? And which solutions have been agreed with Cold Energy?
"We managed the pandemic in France and Italy for this specific work, but also in our farms and pack-houses, producing and exporting pineapples and bananas from Ecuador, mangoes from Ivory Coast, Mali, Burkina and Senegal, coconuts from Ivory Coast and beans from Kenya. We have become worldwide experts in safety measures. Our strong organizational background and roots in each country enabled us to maintain our volumes, quality and level of service around the world," concluded Omer-Decugis.
"For this specific project, our in-house facility management team has worked with Cold Energy to define all safety measures for their staff on site so that he could fully resume work in early May and maintain our deadline for a fully operational platform on September 1st."
For more information