FRUIT PACKING FACILITIES

deadmancrossingraceAI and Robotics

Nov 13, 2013 (3 years and 9 months ago)

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FRUIT PACKING
FACILITIES

Thoughts on Appraisal Issues and
Methodology

FRUIT MARKET

Tremendous consolidation on the retail side

1.
Traditional broker markets/networks have seen significantly reduced

2.
Fewer buyers

3.
Retailers want direct relationships with commodity sales desks

4.
Desire to control year
-
round produce demand

5.
Marketplace clout
> delegation
of
promotional
support, variety selection and inventory control


Response?

1.
Consolidations and mergers within the fruit growing and packing community

2.
Required to meet the demands of the
Kroegers
,
Safeways
,
Costcos
, and other large retailers

3.
Value added services (5 above)

4.
Walmart

(2009 decision)


Manage their own inventory in an attempt to reduce fruit prices


Result?

1.
5 of the largest sales desks in the state of Washington reportedly now control 60% of apple sales by
volume

2.
It is anticipated that this consolidation will continue.


COMPONENTS

Refrigerated Storage


Controlled Atmosphere

Generally Concrete Tilt

1.
Sandwich panel

2.
Single concrete panel w/ interior urethane coating

3.
Old style


concrete wall, interior wood framed walls with fiberglass insulation

4.
Sealed wall joints

Style

1.
Exterior room loading or interior hallway

2.
Interior equipment mezzanine

3.
Roof top “dog house” equipment housing

4.
Cost


depends on room size, building style, CA equipment ($160 to $200+/bin) ($80/$85 per
SF to $100
-
$110 per SF)

Equipment

1.
Atmosphere maintenance

1.
Nitrogen injection (On
-
site nitrogen tanks), (Nitrogen generators)

2.
Carbon
DiOxide

(Scrubber or Lime)

3.
Oxygen, Ammonia, and Carbon
monitoring

2.
Refrigeration

1.
Generally ammonia based (some Freon
-
being phased out, and food grade Glycol)

2.
Compressors (reciprocating and screw)

3.
Condensers

4.
Evaporators

5.
Monitoring equipment

CA Designs

The picture to the left is an exterior room entrance CA building with roof top “dog
-
houses”
containing the ammonia surge vessels and the necessary piping connections to the room
evaporators


one dog house per two rooms.

The picture on the right is an exterior room entrance CA with an interior mezzanine hallway
containing all of the refrigeration piping and ammonia surge vessels.

In both pictures
note
the piping bridge that carries the defrost water, ammonia refrigerant, and
nitrogen piping from the equipment room to the individual CA rooms.

CA Interiors

To the left is the interior of a roof top “dog
-
house” style structure. Note the yellow pipe on the left.
This as ammonia piping from the dog house above the evaporator. The green piping is for defrost
water.

On the right is the interior of an internal mezzanine style building. Note the hallway projection at
the upper part of the room behind the evaporator. The other difference in this picture is the blue
piping. The refrigeration system in
this
CA is glycol based. As seen the refrigerant piping is
coming through the wall out of the mezzanine area. Also note the viewing window to the left of
the evaporator.

Interior Mezzanine Hallway

Typical view of an interior mezzanine hallway. Yellow piping


low pressure ammonia (return),
orange piping


high pressure ammonia liquid (delivery), green piping


defrost water to rooms.
Also not the yellow surge vessels (balance system for evaporators). The white PVC piping below
the
yellow surge
vessel is a “burp tube” to allow excess room pressure to be released from the
room without compromising the room atmosphere. The other piping seen in the hallway is a
combination of electrical, nitrogen, and room atmosphere monitoring equipment.

Interior Room Entrance CA

The photo to the left shows the exterior of a CA with in internal refrigerated hallway that can be
used as common cold storage as well as an unloading area for the CA rooms that are located on
each side of the hallway. This is a more typical design in the northern portion of Washington
(Wenatchee and north) due to weather and topographical considerations. An internal hallway
design building typically takes a smaller foot print, but is more expensive to build.

To the right is a photo of the internal hallway. Note CA room doors on each side of the hall.
Also
note the equipment mezzanine circling the hallway above the CA room doors.

CA Equipment

Upper left


equipment room with a roof top
mounted condenser

Above


ammonia compressors, high
pressure receiver (orange), low pressure
accumulator (yellow)

Left


water
tank
used for room evaporator
defrost, condenser
(to cool
hot
high
-
pressure
ammonia from the compressors),
and to cool the compressor units.

CA Atmosphere Equipment

Left


Nitrogen generator system. What you see here is the prism system that monitors the rooms
to determine the degree to which nitrogen gas needs to be injected into each individual room.
There is a compressor located behind this unit as well as a high pressure air tank to supply the
prism system with
the air pressure required
to separate the oxygen and nitrogen molecules.

Right


Carbon scrubber. Atmosphere from the rooms is pulled through this system and the
carbon that has been expired from the stored fruit is separated from the atmosphere and stored in
the orange tank. The carbon free atmosphere is then returned to the room. The carbon stored in
the orange tank in periodically purged into the atmosphere outside of the building.



Regular Cold Storage

Generally Concrete Tilt

1.
Sandwich panel

2.
Single concrete panel (may be urethane coated)

3.
Old style


concrete wall, interior wood framed walls with fiberglass

4.
Open clear span or steel post supported roof

5.
Bin storage configured ( receiving)

6.
Packed fruit storage
-

Pallet storage configured (either stacked or on pallet racking)

Cost

1.
$45/$50 per SF
-

$70 per SF

2.
Racking systems
-

$20 to $30 per square foot of racked area depending on configuration

3.
Shipping cold storage


to $100+/sf including racking, shipping dock equipment, palletizing
equipment

Equipment

1.
Refrigeration

1.
Generally ammonia based (some Freon
-
being phased out, and food grade Glycol)

2.
Compressors (reciprocating and screw)

3.
Condensers

4.
Evaporators

5.
Monitoring equipment

Regular Cold Storage

Left
-

Typical interior view of a regular cold storage building. This is a field run storage unit where
bins of fruit are kept after removing from CA and prior to run across the packing line.

Right


Typical interior view of a common cold storage room being used to hold packed fruit prior
to shipping. The fruit has been palletized and the pallets stacked. Inventory control is slightly
more difficult to manage with this type of packed fruit storage as pallets must sometimes be
shifted is they have not been stacked in proper shipping order.

In both photos note the open ceiling joist typical of a non
-
sealed cold storage room as opposed to
a sealed CA room.

Racked Storage/Shipping

Upper left


racking (3 pallets high) in a
packed fruit storage. These are “push back
racks allowing pallets to roll forward as the
front pallet is removed.

Above


load consolidation area. The
shipping door is to the right of this picture,
racking behind the photographer.

Exterior of the packing fruit storage showing
the open shipping dock.

Refrigerated Shipping Dock

Upper left


racked packed fruit cold storage
showing door leading to the refrigerated
shipping dock.

Above


Refrigerated shipping dock, load
consolidation area to the left, dock doors to
the right.

Left


Truck well and shipping dock doors.
No compromise of the cold chain in this
system as the fruit moves from the
refrigerated dock right into a refrigerated
truck.

PACKING WAREHOUSE

General Construction


Either concrete tilt or steel frame


Free Span construction or steel roof supports


Some trench draining in the floor


Suspended F/A or radiant heating


Components


Office


Employee lunchroom, restrooms


Open packing area


Refrigerated segregation and shipping area


Shook storage


Steel Packing Warehouse

Typical steel frame packing house interior
and exterior views.

Concrete Tilt Packing Warehouse

Typical exterior views of the construction of a concrete tilt packing warehouse.

Pre
-
Size Packing Line

Equipment


Pre
-
size line

Bin dump/return

Flume

Empty bin wash and transfer chains

Wash, brush section

Inspection tables

Singulator

and color sorter, weight
sizer
/dimensional sizing, infra
-
red defect sorting

Sorter drop section with cross belts to accumulation lanes

Accumulation lanes with full lane sensors

Vacuum bin fillers

Tag printing and bin tagging capability

Full bin accumulation lanes

Full carton conveyor configuration



Associated tray fill or bagging lines

Bin dump/return

Flume

Wash/brush section

Dryer (air fans)

Wax section w/additional brushes

Heated dryer

Inspection tables

Singulator
, limited scope
sizer
/sorter

Sorter drop section with cross belts

Tray de
-
nesters

Automatic tray fillers (sometimes utilize round hand packing tables)

Automatic baggers

Carton erectors, empty carton conveyors

Full carton conveyor configuration

Carton stampers, check
-
weigh

Carton pad inserters, carton closers/tapers, glue
spitters

Full box accumulation lanes

Either hand palletizing, top
-
down automatic palletizers, or robotic palletizers


Receiving

Left
-

Full bin lanes and empty bin return lanes.

Right


Full bin conveying system to the packing line.

Bin Dumping

Left
-

Stainless steel bin dumping tank and stainless steel flume.

Right


After being dumped, washed bins are conveyed to the automatic bin fillers for fruit that has
been sorted and graded.

Sorting/Grading

Left


apples are floated to the inspection tables via the stainless steel flume on the right. After
inspection the apples are transported via the stainless steel flume on the left to the grading
equipment.

Right


apples being color and weight/dimension sorted. The line on the left also has lazer
technology to determine internal quality if needed.

Bin Filling

Upper left


Graded fruit accumulation
lanes. Same size and grade fruit
accumulates to a full bin load.

Once a full bin is ready in a lane, that lane is
“called” to the vacuum bin fillers and the fruit
is place back into an empty washed bin.

The bin filler (right) releases the bin, the bin
is tagged with the variety, size and grade
and the placed in cold storage (not CA) until
taken to be packed on the associated tray fill
or bagging line.

Commit To Pack Packing Line

Equipment


Commit
-
to
-
pack line

Bin dump/return

Flume

Wash/brush section

Dryer (air fans)

Wax section w/additional brushes

Heated dryer

Inspection tables

Singulator

and color sorter, weight
sizer
/dimensional sizing, infra
-
red defect sorting

Sorter drop section with cross belts

Tray de
-
nesters

Automatic tray fillers (sometimes utilize round hand packing tables)

Automatic baggers

Carton erectors, empty carton conveyors

Full carton conveyor configuration

Carton stampers, check
-
weigh

Carton pad inserters, carton closers/tapers, glue
spitters

Full box accumulation lanes

Either hand palletizing, top
-
down automatic palletizers, or robotic palletizers



Fruit Delivery System

Left
-

Bin destacker (right), empty bin return and restacker (right). Behind the destacker is the
stainless steel dump tank.

Right


stainless steel flume (heated water) helps remove field debris from the fruit/

Dewatering elevator to the upper right of the photo.

Fruit Washing

Left


pre
-
inspection table to the left of the photo followed by the wash/brush section. The hooded
washer is shown with the vent stack through the ceiling.

Right


looking back at the hooded washer unit with the continuation of the brush bed and air fans
to remove water from the washed fruit.


Wax and Dry

Left


Continuation of brush bed with wax unit to apply fruit wax to the apples prior to entry into the
enclosed, heated drier used to set the wax finish on the fruit.

Right


following the wax process the fruit is passed across inspection tables to be visually
inspected. Obvious defective fruit is removed and sent to the cull bins.

Grading Equipment

Upper left


singulator (weight) and color
sorting equipment (may have dimensional
sizing capability also.

Above


Sticker machines

Left


Continuation of sorting line.
Sized/graded apples are designated as to
what belt they drop onto to be packed into
cartons or bagged.

Packing

Left


Automatic tray de
-
nesters. Trays pass underneath the sorting equipment to the other side
of the line where apples are placed onto the trays to be placed in to boxes according to size and
grade.

Right


Workers align the apples in their trays and place trays into cartons, then place the cartons
on the full carton conveyor line.

Carton Conveying

Upper left


Empty carton carousel from the
box makers to the packing line.

Above


Full box conveyor with pad inserter,
check weigh (checks box weight), and box
closer/taper.

Left


continuation of full box conveyor
through the glue spitter (keeps boxes
together in the pallets), and continuing into
the segregation area.

Segregation/Palletizing

The above is an automatic palletizing system. On the left are the box accumulation lanes. Boxes
are scanned and then sent down a designated lane with all of the boxes on that lane being the
same size and grade. When a lane accumulates a full pallet a lazer is triggered that it is full.

On the right is a robotic palletizer. When a lane is full the palletizer calls for the release of that
lane. The robot will then fill the pallet and release the full pallet to the forklift area. The robot will
alter the stacking of the boxes to tie the pallet together. There are two pallet positions in the robot
area so that when one pallet is near completion the nest full accumulation lane will be called.

Segregation/Palletizing

This is another example of an automatic palletizing system. To the left are a series of
accumulation lanes similar to the last example.

To the right is an automatic top
-
down palletizer. Full lanes are called and the boxes are arranged
on a pallet level. The level of those boxes then is lowered on level and the palletizer forms the
next pallet level. The process is repeated until the pallet is formed, the pallet is released to the
forklift area, and the process starts again with a new pallet.


Required Information

Product Flow


Packing Capacity

Bins per day


Single or Double Shift

Annual packing history, minimum 5 years if possible



Packing Operation Pinch Points

Receiving

Packing

Shipping


Revenue and Expenses


Packing Charges


Expenses Per Bin


Marginal Revenue Per Bin

Break
-
even analysis


Estimated Net Income Per Bin


The warehouse should have a good feel for this number


If you have good industry information, direct capitalization should be able to be completed, if not you may
need to do some sort of a built
-
up rate


Ask what the warehouse has returned as a “cash
-
on
-
cash” basis


Waste Water Flow


Required Permits (Waste and Fresh Water)


Self Contained Site or Municipal Disposal



Property Comparisons


Challenges

Property composition

Age and style of buildings/equipment



Comparison on a component basis?

Sum of the parts may not equal the whole

Accounting for functional obsolescence and extra
-
ordinary depreciation



What is the Unit of Comparison?

$/SF of Building?

$/Bin of Storage (CA and Cold Storage)


How balanced is the facility (Storage
vs

packing capacity)

$/Bin of Packing Capacity?

Can You Use a Multiplier?


Does looking at the balance of a facility make sense? Price/verified packing history, and comparing the balance of a facilit
y
(storage vs. packing capacity) and comparing the resulting “multipliers”?




QUESTIONS / THOUGHTS