Barnsmuir Farm is part of the 950 acres owned and managed by Tim & Rob Stockwell near the town of Anstruther in Fife, a member of Angus Growers (Soft Fruit Marketing Co-operative). The farm produces soft fruit; strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries and vegetables; broccoli, cauliflower and kale all year round.
The business was keen to expand its operation and start to supply some of the major supermarkets, they decided in order to do this they needed to gain full end to end quality control and invest in their own packhouse. Having previously used a third party packhouse for their soft fruit, which was an hour and a half drive away. Having their own packhouse meant they could ensure only the freshest quality product possible was despatched to ensure longest shelf life whilst also reducing costs and minimising their food miles.
They put the project out to tender, got 3 bids and subsequently awarded the refrigeration element to JD Cooling (Scotland), based on a combination of; quality of reputation amongst the fresh produce growers in Scotland and the environmentally and energy efficient solution proposed. The design was based on a Glycol ring main, which uses considerably less HFC gas than a traditional DX application, it was also designed to be easy to expand giving them a future proof design that allowed the stores to grow as the business does.
We chose JD Cooling because they had an excellent reputation within the Scottish growers’ community and also, importantly to us, they had a team of engineers based locally in Scotland to support us.
Owner, Barnsmuir Farm
To help the business get the freshest produce possible to their customers, minimising product weight loss and wastage, JD Cooling designed a system which allowed produce coming fresh from the field, to be rapidly cooled in a blast tunnel and then maintained at a consistent temperature of 2-3ºC throughout the storage, packing and despatch process. Allowing only the freshest highest quality produce to leave their facility.
Tim Stockwell, owner of Barnsmuir Farm commented, “We chose JD Cooling because they had an excellent reputation within the Scottish growers’ community and also, importantly to us, they had a team of engineers based locally in Scotland to support us, they were competitively priced and gave an environmentally conscious design, which can grow with our business.”
“They worked well with our main contractor and the project ran smoothly without issue, we’re now looking forward to getting maximum use out of it in 2019 fruit season, but for now we can use it as overflow storage for our vegetables, which we previously had to pay to store off-site, so we now have a multi-purpose facility we can use all year round.”
Rapid Cooling Tunnel – 14 Pallet – Within the tunnel, forced air cooling coils and high-powered fans were installed to ensure rapid removal of field heat from the warm crop as it passes through the tunnels to the cold store. Using secondary glycol coils connected to a remote, air-cooled chiller has helped utilise less than 10% of the HFC gas charge of a traditional DX system, in line with the latest F-Gas regulations.
The secondary coolant system, which uses glycol as the main cooling medium for this project has allowed a far more stable control of air temperatures and therefore, provides the accuracy required for storing fresh produce very close to zero degrees without freezing.
A chilled glycol buffer vessel, the ‘central’ point serves all of the glycol / chilled water systems. All pumps were selected and installed as duty/standby to provide 100% pump capacity in the event of motor failure. Where energy savings can be made by reducing the flow rate in low load conditions we allowed for variable speed drives to be fitted to the pumps.
Chill Store & Despatch Area – Within the chill store, ceiling mounted coolers with fans were installed using secondary glycol coils and a remote, air-cooled chiller. The chill store glycol coolers are connected to the central glycol plant with a control panel mounted locally to the chill store plant area.
The despatch store consists of a single ceiling mounted glycol cooler blowing down the length of the room towards the dock with a control panel sited locally to the cooler.
Control Wiring – To provide a path for command and status communication between all the control devices and power of the newly installed refrigeration system, specialised control wiring was installed throughout. An important part of the functionality of the new system, JD Power Systems were key to the supply and installation of this element.