Fruit-Cooling Plant at Cape Town


    IN Electrical Industries of August 11 a description is given of the largest pre-cooling plant in the world, dealing with the fruit exported from Cape Town docks. This installation, which was completed twelve years ago, has made it easy to ensure the low-temperature preservation of fruit as soon as possible after picking. It ensures also that the temperature of the fruit when loaded is comparable with that maintained in the ship's storage chambers on the voyage. Thanks to the Government policy of insisting on high standards and of providing research and educational facilities for fruit growers, the plant is now working at its full capacity and more accommodation is urgently needed. To meet this need, large pre-cooling chambers were projected, and when the entire scheme is completed next year they will have a capacity of 6,000 (shipping) tons. When the fruit trains reach the store from the country, they are shunted into the 'air-lock', a large asphalt-floored shed 74 feet wide by 900 feet long. The fruit is examined and tested there by the Government inspectors, and that which does not reach export standard is rejected. The standard fruit is then transferred by battery vehicles to the ship's side and by crane to the hold. The ammonia method being economically impracticable, the underground storage chambers are cooled by brine circulated through coils. At a considerably lower level is the large engine room containing electric transformers and ammonia compressors. An automatic recorder keeps a visible record of the temperature in every cooling chamber taken every eight minutes. The engine room is provided with an emergency lighting battery plant.

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    Fruit-Cooling Plant at Cape Town. Nature 140, 802 (1937).

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