Chilean firm rolls out new freezing system for salmon storage

'We entered the market at a time of low production but we are confident demand will increase,' exec tells IntraFish. 

Chilean industrial solutions provider Inmobiliaria Sake Spa is taking off in the aquaculture storage segment with the launch of its Sake freezer, which has a capacity of 1,500 metric tons at the moment and is set to increase in coming stages.

The freezer, located in Puerto Montt, will cut down on human error and significantly reduce the time of delivery, Andres Hoffman, general manager at the company, told IntraFish.

“The main obstacle, really, was that we entered in a moment when there wasn’t that much demand,” Hoffman said. The freezer was first unveiled in January, just as salmon farmers began to face a harvest shortage caused by the algal bloom in 2016.

“But we know this is unusual, the need for cool storage is obvious, and two years ago – when we started to develop the idea – the only solution was to look for storage in the north of the country or abroad,” Hoffman said.

The project was established by a number of partners with different backgrounds, from technology to food storage to salmon farming, Hoffman said.

The freezer is housed in an eight-level building, and is completely automated with a preparation area where workers select and place product on pallets. In the freezing area, a conveyor crane locates pallets and stores them by batch number, date, supplier, weight and other data.

The freezer is also isolated by 300mm-thick panels both to reduce energy usage and to protect the product.

“It’s an important security factor, we are very sustainable, and the freezer has very low emissions, which is important for our clients,” Hoffman said. “But it’s equally important to guarantee the safety of the product, and to ensure that the deliveries are dispatched fast and with no margin of error, and we have achieved that."

In addition, the area in which workers operate is refrigerated by an independent system that allows operators to load and unload pallets at consistent temperatures in order to maintain the cold chain.

“We have very ambitious plans, we want to achieve a change in the storage of frozen products and we are reaching out to customers because the system can actually improve efficiency, and offers a highly reliable response to orders,” Hoffman said.

The freezer operates with two ecologic compressors of a freezing power of 62,000 kcal per hour each, with the necessary condenser equipment and forced air evaporators, each with enough capacity to keep the freezer temperature.

The freezer has rails helping the transport of the pallets within, which allow for the smooth gilding of the pallets to secure the product is intact at the time of delivery.

“Our intention is to keep developing our space, we will have capacity to store as much as our clients need,” Hoffman said.

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