The Wyma Refrigerated Bunker Hopper allows fresh produce to be stored at a controlled temperature prior to packaging. This equipment - predominantly used for carrots - has been designed to gently receive, handle and store large quantities of fresh produce in water.
The system usually receives carrots from a diameter grader and stores them in large tanks thus eliminating the need and associated cost of boxes/bins. The Wet Bunker maintains hydration and hydro-cooled temperature almost to the point of packing to achieve optimum produce shelf-life.
This Bunker Hopper operates on a ‘first-in, first-out’ basis. Flume conveying provides gentle and efficient means of filling the bunker. As the produce is received into water, there is minimal risk of damage to the produce. The water buffer tank absorbs the excess water displaced by the produce and is used to control the level of water in the bunkers. The buffer tank also supplies water to incoming flumes (if fitted). Water is drawn from the buffer tank via the refrigeration tank which cools the water before being pumped to the required jets.
Jets of water, in the base of the bunker, move produce through the water towards the out-feed elevator. Out-feed flow is achieved by integrated, speed-controlled gooseneck elevators. Temperature sensors located inside the bunkers measure water temperature.
From a refrigeration perspective, our Wyma Engineers will estimate the electrical load required to meet your desired output core temperature. This estimate (in kW) will give you the total required load of the system including heat inputs from pumps, potential heat loss through tanks and a safety factor to ensure carrot temperature is managed correctly. Wyma have significant experience in this area and will work with you to ensure the refrigeration plant is specified correctly for:
(a) The temperature change required in the carrots (including safety factors for pumps and other heat loss through tanks)
(b) The volume of carrots and flow of cooled water in the system
The Wyma Refrigerated Bunker Hopper also allows for storing in a dry tank. Loading of produce into the tanks must be done wet, but once loaded water can be removed from the bunker by a circulation pump. In this case, the drained water would need to be stored to re-fill the bunker once dry storage is not required any longer. Water for the bunkers can originate from the Hydro-Cooler (if one is present earlier in the processing line).
This storage system provides a time-buffer for harvesting teams at the start of each day. Processing staff and machinery are not reliant on morning harvest to begin their daily work as produce is stored overnight ready for immediate processing each morning. It also means harvesting teams are not forced to work on a Sunday in order for processing to begin Monday morning as produce can be stored over the weekend.