If you are eating some nice fresh fruit such as a banana, pineapple, apple or a citrus variety then the chances are it was imported in to this country by MMD Shipping in Portsmouth – and the quality and freshness of the product has been significantly maintained by the newly installed Testo Saveris wireless temperature and humidity monitoring system.
The sheer scale of the MMD operation is truly impressive, utilising approximately 700,000 pallets per annum. Some 70% of all UK banana imports alone are handled by the company, which operates five dedicated warehouses where the different fruits are taken directly from the ships at the quayside.
Previously the company had relied on a combination of conventional thermometers and visual checks whilst using the massive doors as a cooling method in their own right. However, this system didn’t allow for on-going accurate written records of the air quality.
Maintenance manager David Simpson instigated a thorough assessment of specialist systems on the market and having visited Testo at Alton for a demonstration of the Saveris system and the calibration facilities, realised that this would be the ideal solution for his needs.
The system is comprised of a quickly installed base unit which controls multiple wireless probes with a range of up to 300m positioned throughout the complex and linked to the Ethernet via adjacent converters which are not affected by other radio waves. Where structural conditions may interfere then routers maintain the signal.
To indicate the scope of the base unit – which is connected to a PC – it can incorporate up to 150 probes or over 250 measurement channels and can save typically a year’s worth of data with its built-in memory.
In actual performance terms Mr Simpson is very pleased with the investment: "The Testo technology means that I can watch over the whole operation from my desk and ensure that absolute varied conditions can be constantly and accurately maintained to meet individual product requirements which range from 0 to +20 degrees. Where we reach a critical measurement value at any moment then the automatic alarm system alerts me."
"The data recording benefit has proved to be of great value, for example where a fruit producer has had a deterioration situation along the route to market. We will certainly be turning to Testo when our new storage building is completed, and the overall system contributes significantly to our quality control and business image," he added.