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Ripening exotic fruits

Automation of the process of ripening exotic fruits (ripening) - as a process of optimizing logistics.

Article structure:
1. What is ripening, why is it needed at all, where and how is it used. A little about the developer company "HolodTechService"
2. What equipment and what software controls the ripening process
3. A little about the technology of the ripening process
4. DBMS. Technology of an external product analytics system, how and what works

A bit of history. Perhaps you remember how in Soviet times we bought green bananas, hung them in the bathroom for a week? So at that time there were no ripening systems, especially in Russia. They began to appear much later after perestroika, and basically the technologies for fruit ripening came to us from Europe (Holland).

The thing is that the logistics process (delivery of fruit from the plantation to the consumer) is quite complicated, expensive and lengthy. Time is the most precious ingredient, which is why smart people have come up with technologies whereby fruits and vegetables that come from far away end up on our shelves in a state of optimal ripeness.

At the same time, fruits are harvested on the plantation - unripe, that is, green, because it is impossible to calculate the time of delivery of products in such a way that it overcomes the distance, for example, from Nicaragua to Nizhny Novgorod, sailing in a ripe form through three oceans, overcoming several sorting warehouses and finally reach to the consumer. The secret lies in modern technologies and a certain margin of time, which is necessarily laid down to ensure the logistics process. The ripening technology is designed to reduce the ripening time of fruits and vegetables at the final stage of the logistics chain, to ensure that stores are filled with goods exactly at the moments when it is needed.

The automation system referred to in this article was created by the HolodTechService company (supply and maintenance of refrigeration equipment). We have modernized this system by creating automatic algorithms with the ability to control according to the recipe, a SCADA visualization system, as well as an external audit and recipe setting system with the ability to save reports.


The system was created on the basis of PLC110 4D controllers and OWEN equipment (input-output module).
The experience of use is described in the articlesExperience using Masterskad 4D
What the equipment looks like - the following images:

Ripening chamber

Refrigeration equipment

Refrigeration equipment

Ripening control cabinets

Ripening control cabinets

Process monitoring and control is carried out by Masterscada 3.12

The experience of use is described in the article Programming in Masterskada

Ripening operator station

Ripening video frame

The program for analytics, creating tasks and preparing recipes, sending reports to email is our own development. Masterscada has the ability to write components in C# and we were able to embed components that interact with an external DBMS, thus synchronizing the data.

AWP of ripening technologist

All software is implemented on external servers of the Customer's company, on virtual WDS machines, which ensures reliability when using the system by operators. All process values are transmitted in real time to MySQL DBMS.

A little about the technology of the ripening process

The ripening process is based on the physical principles of biodynamics. Products are "live" plants, which, depending on the illumination, either absorb or emit carbon dioxide.
When choosing the right algorithms for setting the temperature (heating) or lowering the temperature (cooling), the operator achieves a qualitative change in the fruits, monitors and records the actual percentage of rejects in the report.
The recipe parameters themselves are elements of the technology, selected by the technologist using an expert method, allowing the system to carry out the technological process with minimal operator participation.
The main catalyst for the ripening process is ethylene gas "banana gas". It is a colorless flammable gas with a slight odor. Under laboratory conditions, the product is treated with ethylene for at least 12 hours, and the actual time of exposure to ethylene is determined by the maturity of the fruit; slight discoloration of the fruit indicates that the mango produces ethylene itself and no external source is needed anymore. In our case, the product is processed with ethylene for several days. In addition to the concentration of ethylene, it is necessary to control the concentration of carbon dioxide. A high CO2 level slows down the ripening process, affects the taste of fruits and aroma, softness, color, and also contributes to the development of fruit diseases. In order to avoid these problems, it is necessary to use supply and exhaust ventilation. The chamber is ventilated by a threshold regulator, by a carbon dioxide sensor. The indicator should not be higher than 1.5%.

Ripening processes can take more than 5 days, so the issues of temperature control (keeping the set temperature) are especially important. Any temperature fluctuations can adversely affect the properties of the fruit.

The process of ripening and storage is significantly affected by both temperature and humidity in the chamber. In the case of mangoes, when the temperature regime during ripening is above +24 ° C, rot, spots and green skin color are formed on ripe fruits. If the temperature regime drops below +18 ° C, then acidity increases and external decay of the fruit begins. The set temperature is provided by refrigeration equipment that can operate in cooling and heating mode. Heating is carried out by electric heating elements (heating elements) at a speed specified by the recipe according to RAMP. Humidity in the chamber should be between 85 and 90%. These conditions provide facilitated penetration of ethylene into the fruit structure. At a lower humidity index, exotic products may be aired out due to the operation of extraction fans, loss of fruit mass, product presentation. A sufficient level of humidity in the chamber is ensured using a threshold humidity controller, which includes a humidifier. In order to ensure uniform distribution of temperature, humidity and ethylene, extraction fans and a covered tent are used. Extraction fans provide high-pressure blowing of the chamber, an awning is necessary to set the blowing direction directly through the fruits.

Process analytics is of paramount importance, as it allows you to remember and determine the parameters under which the ripening results were optimal.

DBMS. Technology of an external analytics system (ARM technologist), how it works

User rights management

Creation, editing, deletion of users is carried out from the interface of the workstation technologist. User records are used to authorize access to the technologist's workstation, as well as send event notifications in accordance with the settings to e-mail or instant messenger.

Directories management

Editing directories (adding a record, deleting a record, editing a record) is carried out from the AWP-technologist interface and is available for the following directories: product suppliers, product types, product calibers. Reference books of countries and ripening chambers are static, are loaded by the developer and are not available for editing.

Technology program library management

Creation, editing and deletion of technological programs is carried out from the interface of the workstation operator. Parameters of technological programs or a recipe of parameters are stored in an external MySQL database and transferred to MasterSCADA for use in the process control algorithm.

The recipe of technological parameters is connected with the PLC by interface variables and transfers to the controller the variables that the algorithm uses to control.

Registration of batches of products

Registration of batches of products is carried out from the interface of the workstation operator. Before starting, the operator enters data on the batch of products loaded into the ripening chamber and the initial parameters of the product. Batch registration is only carried out if the process is started with the selection of a technological program from the library of technological programs (normal operation). During the execution of the process and at the end of the ripening process, in the ripening chamber control window, the operator has access to the form for registering intermediate and final parameters of the ripening chamber.

Registration of data on the operation of the ripening chamber

When executing the process, MasterSCADA automatically transmits data on the operation of the ripening chamber to the product analytics system. Data on the operation of the chamber are used in the formation of a technological report upon completion of the ripening process.

The product audit system automatically sends notifications to e-mail or other informing channel (messenger) in accordance with the set user notification options.

Generating a process report

Upon completion of the ripening process, the product analytics system automatically generates a technological process report, which includes:

Parameters of a batch of products, camera data, date and time of the beginning and end of the process, the selected technological program (or manual mode), the presence of errors during the execution of the process, the values of the setpoint parameters and sensor readings, the state of the subsystems of the ripening chamber.

The generated report is saved on the disk of the product analytics system server and sent to the email address of those users for whom the corresponding option to send reports is set.

Viewing logs

The logs are viewed from the technologist's workstation interface. The following logs are available for viewing:

Camera Status Log, Camera Error Log, Camera Setpoint Value Log, Camera Sensor Value Log, Batch Log.

Fruit ripening chart

#Temperaturecontrol, #Fruitripening, #Masterskada, #OWEN, #Analytics, #Reports, #Recipes

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