Why ACT is in the leading edge of the storage technology directly impacting customer profitability.
“In the end our customer is paying for electrical energy used, maintenance and loss of product or reduction in quality directly impacting their profits, raw product storages are the last frontier”
Looking at the “value added components” just in the short list to review of why ACT is in the leading edge of the storage technology directly impacting customer profitability:
- Booster fans allow for full air circulation to the back side of the room and allow us to slow main fans down to 50% reducing power by 90% from 25hp to 2.5hp and that can be achieved as soon as product in the bays is stabilized at its holding temperature, booster fans consume merely 3-5hp, running fans at such low speed also produces proportionally low level of motor heat that allows us to use less refrigeration power- 1hp = 2,545 BTU/h so 5hp is about 1 ton of refrigeration to remove motor heat that translates to about 1-1.2hp of power used
- All efficiency measures in the refrigeration system will easily amount to 35% energy savings for the refrigeration part- that includes compressor and condensing fan VFD’s, electric expansion valves attached to the cooling coils and computer controls for the valves and main condensing/compressor unit that all work in synchronicity to optimize system operation and provide right amount of cooling at wide range of heat load and air flow- it is like having a refrigeration technician 24/7 managing your system for optimum efficiency, maximum protection and refrigerating capacity
- Fan VFD’s are still the best energy efficiency tool that we have in raw product storages – they produce up to 75% of energy savings compared to non VFD use, the savings are amplified by the cost per kWh to the grower that ranges from 4-17 cents per kwh used depending on the part of the country you are in, that is an easy math to realize the benefit at any horsepower level
- Use of main fan VFD speed can be restricted by refrigeration system that may not allow us to slow the air down past the minimum air velocity required to maintain proper cooling in the cooling coil (determined by your ventilation supplier). Operating it below its minimum air flow requirements can cause compressor failure due to liquid flow back since we cannot evaporate all liquid refrigerant in the cooling coil, it also makes the system very inefficient. Refrigeration computer control combined with electric expansion valves can prevent that from occurring allowing air flows to be well below the minimum air flow required maximizing your savings
- Surge suppression secures the electrical equipment from failures managing power spikes and fluctuations/noise with electronic control built into them – over the 25 year warranty of the suppression equipment they will likely pay for themselves multiple times protecting all electrical equipment, we also give an extra one year warranty on electrical equipment when installed
- Coil coating we present in the proposals has 6000+ hours salt spray solution test passed – where copper or aluminum coils do not withstand 24 hrs of salt spray solution before the fin damage starts (independent data is available), this will double the life of the evaporator/cooling coils and that is a significant savings, integrity of the cooling coil also assures its full cooling capacity
- Evaporative cooler that all raw product ventilation industry uses today saves 25%-40% of the refrigeration operation due to evaporative cooling phenomenon also allowing us to humidify air passing thru it from 20% RH to up to 95% RH. Some major differences in the actual design of the unit is in the ACT design that feed water at each 6’ media level compared to competition using feed from 10’- 12’ height or higher, this does not allow for full media saturation across full height of the media reducing evaporative efficiency when it is most needed at 100% air intake level and lowering its relative humidity output as well – rather detrimental factor while high humidity levels are desired. Evaporative cooling has been named – natural refrigeration.
When you look at range of water pump horsepower used, ranging from 1/3 to 1hp Vs comparatively to 25- 140hp refrigeration system it is easy to see why we want to use this device.
Use of multiple pump system on the evaporative cooler allows adjust/regulate humidity
output in greater accuracy – thought the use of these units in SE USA we found that is all that is
needed to maintain high humidity levels in sweet potato storages w/o any free moisture
- ACT/BTU has fresh air computerized door controllers with web feedback/access to monitor intake door operation and its position or any faults that may occur, great tool to understand intake air system operation and useful tool for remote troubleshooting
- In all proposals we include special VFD cabling between fan motors and VFD’s – cabling is crucial for good performance of the fan motor/VFD with minimization of electromagnetic issues due to VFD use, special VFD cabling extends the life of VFD and the electric motor driven. Cabling is armored and can be run w/o the conduit – added benefit – quick installation and direct reduction of the electrical installation cost
- Two year warranty for all equipment plus 1 year warranty for all electrical equipment against el failure if surge suppressors are used giving unparalleled level of protection with an exceptional warranty level not offered in the industry as a standard, extended warranty means we use top quality equipment in all our components
- Use of heat exchangers for heating needs we minimize electrical power requirements for the system, CO2 levels in the storage and provide heated fresh air intake at the level of 3500 CFM at any time (air volume that can exchange building air of 60’ by 80’ by 25’h in 32 minutes), even if the ambient air does not allow us to bring fresh air into the storage allowing us to well manage CO2 levels in the storages during curing and during cold weather when the heat may be needed to maintain storage temperature or simply reduce moisture level/RH level in storage to dry the product off or manage storage disease
- CO2 control in today’s raw product storage is becoming a true standard, growing awareness of its high level impact on the product stored makes it a must tool today, various logic control schemes are developed to manage its levels, vegetables as a living/breathing organisms are just as susceptible to the high CO2 levels as humans are, inreversible damage to the vegetable can occur if not managed correctly thru the storage season
- Sophisticated control systems with easy remote access allow for fine level of micro- management on customer’s side and help us support the systems on the technical side often allowing service to be handled remotely on average 70-80% of the cases reducing down time, service call cost – all thanks to full system computer integration mainly between ventilation and refrigeration system – key ventilation components, remote access with simple web monitoring and alarming system is linked to the customer and to the ACT/BTU tech support for quick response and solid data feedback for troubleshooting, real time data and in graphs give a clear picture to the storage manager/grower on how well the product is stored/managed
- Our technical and service support – local and remote plus core employees such as myself continually provide storage solutions providing control system logic improvement/ new equipment implementation to maintain product in storage, our company is in the leading front of innovation in storage ventilation that directly benefits the grower to lower its operating cost and contribute to maximizing quality of the product stored
- Majority of our equipment is designed and build in house allowing us a full control over craftsmanship and materials used to extend product life/reliability and quality
- One of the most important parts of all this technological progress are our customers, they ask for more tools to manage their products and we listen – this is driving our innovative thinking to the next level. We could not have it done it all without them, they have made us who we are today and we continue this cooperative journey into the future
- Lastly we are proud to say that 90% of the components we use are made in USA and we manufacture about 75% of our equipment
Our long time customers possessing all the above tools often do not realize the minimal storage operating cost/high product pack out they maintain since they do not know any other way. Energy efficiency is just a part of their normal operating cost that when used/managed carefully will not negatively affect product quality rather the opposite.
Micro management is the key to raw product storage success, we provide all the tools for you to be able to store your product with minimal losses.
If you think as the vegetable that you are storing – how would you feel if you were it – versus the storage conditions, you will realize better techniques to keep them in their best condition.
Most high tech systems in operation today have a up to 10- 20 year lifespan paying back for itself over time often well beyond its value, some of them will pay back multiple times its value when product comes in questionable condition, that is when computer gives you the best management capabilities.
“Computer systems can save the day if your product comes into storage in less than desired condition and when the weather to store the product is not cooperating it will allow you to utilize every minute possible to cool/treat the product in storage to provide optimum conditions, this may mean to be or not to be for your product in storage”.
We simply take advantage of industry available technologies that often have been available for years and apply them in the Ag storage sector – our farming community should not be at any technological disadvantage in this day and age and we are at a forefront of it.
One important part of our operation is continuing education of our growers on all new technologies and benefits they generate, storage maintenance and basic troubleshooting, storage management in relation to the ventilation system capabilities. Well educated customer is our key success.
“Today’s farming community will only sustain its existence thru technological advantages that are offered to them in all aspects of their operations and we are proud of being part of it.”