Freshly picked vegetables offer unbeatable taste and quality, but preserving their freshness for consumers has always been a challenge. Here we'll explore the importance of vacuum cooling technology for vegetables, a process dating back to the 1950s, and how Dekker's innovative custom engineered vacuum pump systems are transforming the industry.
The Problem: Post-Harvest Vegetable Decay
Most vegetables are harvested during the early morning hours when they are crisp and covered in dew. However, once picked, the decaying process begins. Slowing down this process is crucial for extending the shelf life of the produce and giving growers more time to transport their products to the market.
The Solution: Vacuum Cooling Technology for Vegetables
One effective method for delaying the decay process involves using evaporative cooling, a technique that removes water from vegetables through the application of vacuum conditions. The vacuum lowers the boiling point of moisture, causing rapid evaporation and subsequent cooling of the vegetables to 40°F or lower. This process, known as "vacuum cooling technology for vegetables," helps maintain the freshness of the produce without causing freezing damage or wilting.
The Vacuum Cooling Process
After harvesting, vegetables are packed into boxes or cartons and stacked on pallets, which are then placed in a large vacuum-tight chamber. This chamber, roughly the size of a railroad car, is connected to a large ammonia condenser. As the vacuum pump evacuates the vessel, water evaporates from the vegetables, and the temperature of the produce is reduced until the desired level is achieved. The vacuum draws the saturated air or water vapor into the ammonia condenser, which cools and condenses it back into liquid water.
Dekker's Solution: Custom Engineered Vacuum Cooling Systems for Vegetables
Dekker, a leader in vacuum cooling technology, was tasked with creating a vacuum cooling system with a capacity of 2000 CFM and an ultimate pressure capability of 4 Torr. The goal was to design a system that could handle significant amounts of water vapor while addressing the issues of oil waste and environmental concerns associated with older rotary vane units.
With all this in mind, the solution was a vacuum booster system backed by a specially designed rotary high vacuum pump. This combination has proven to be highly effective, with the capacity far exceeding the performance of existing rotary vane units, particularly at high vacuum levels.
Dekker's custom engineered vacuum cooling systems have revolutionized the vegetable cooling industry, providing a more efficient and environmentally friendly solution. By using this advanced vacuum cooling technology, vegetable growers can now ensure that their produce remains fresh and crisp for longer, ultimately benefiting consumers and the market as a whole.