© Gernot Walter

Cool beef

Frigorífico Verdi, a meat producer, was looking for an efficient cooling tunnel; Cooling & Freezing, a specialist for such solutions, was looking for a customer for its new application … The story of a Brazilian premiere.

Crisp outside, juicy inside, that’s how a good steak should be. In the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina, that steak could be from Frigorífico Verdi, a medium-sized company that covers about ten percent of the demand for beef in the state, which has a population of six million. The company, with headquarters in the community of Pouso Redondo, supplies grocery giants such as Brasil Food (BRF) and JBS S. A. as well as individual supermarkets, butchers and restaurants. All of them want the same thing: fresh, high-quality beef.

Non-stop freshness

Frigorífico verdi

The company was founded in 1970 by Ari verdi and Américo verdi in Corruchel, Pouso Redondo-SC, Brazil. Today the meat producer employs 195 people.

The best way to find out how Frigorífico Verdi satisfies the wishes of these customers is to look behind the plain green and white façade of the company’s headquarters. Jamur Gerloff and Leandro Gauss are standing in the cooling tunnel’s control room. Gerloff is a food chemist with Frigorífico Verdi and Gauss is an engineer with Cooling & Freezing, the company that installed the cooling tunnel. They are viewing two monitors that show the inside of the cooling tunnel, with identically sized boxes neatly lined up and stacked, each filled with 22 kilograms of meat.“

“It takes 36 hours to complete the cooling process. It can’t be done faster, or else it could happen that only the outer layer is frozen,” says Gerloff while the monitor shows how some of the boxes automatically leave the tunnel as others come in on the other side. “Basically we can decide how long every box has to stay in the tunnel, making a seamless production process possible.”

Cooling & Freezing Group

Founded in 2004, the company develops and builds cooling solutions for the food industry throughout Brazil. It is headquartered in Spuacaia do Sul in the state of Rio Grande do Sul and has about 200 employees.

And here’s how the process works: In the neighboring hall, employees cut the cattle into smaller portions and vacuum-pack them in boxes. The boxes are moved into the cooling tunnel on a conveyor belt and then out again after the specified time — ready for shipping. “A total of 3,024 boxes can fit in the cooling tunnel at a time,” says Gerloff. The giant refrigerator is 17 meters long, 8 meters wide and 10.5 meters high. It’s actually nothing unusual for the experienced engineer Gauss. After all, he has been responsible for even larger facilities at Cooling & Freezing. But this project is still something special for him. He goes with Gerloff to the back of the facility.

Brazilian premiere

There are four huge fans vertically arranged on the outside wall. They circulate the cold air uniformly throughout the cooling tunnel. “Normally we use AC motors for such applications, but here we’re using medium-pressure axial fans with EC motors from ebm-papst,” says Gauss. An innovation on the Brazilian market. “Until now, many companies have shied away from the higher initial costs, but those can be recovered quickly thanks to the lower energy consumption of the EC motors,” says Gauss.

In addition, the fans are easy to install. “Conventional fans still need additional equipment like variable frequency drives. With EC motors, that’s all integrated,” says Gauss. Frigorífico Verdi found the arguments convincing. “Energy prices in Brazil have been increasing steadily in the last few years. So it’s paying off even faster than we first thought,” says Gerloff happily.

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