© 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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