Visualization and control of the ripening process at Mathy GmbH in Austria

Mathy GmbH is an Austrian company specializing in the wholesale and import of various types of tropical fruits and vegetables. The company's headquarters and warehouse with ripening rooms are located in the city of Linz, Upper Austria. The company itself distributes ripe fruits all over Europe. The distribution is provided by several dozen modern and fully-equipped trucks.

Control system

In 2011, a new system designed to visualize and control the ripening process in all fifteen ripening rooms was installed in the company's warehouse. Fourteen rooms are used for ripening bananas, one is used for ripening pineapples. The control and visualization system was implemented by the Dutch company De Laat Koudetechniek.

Mathy GmbH's ripening rooms

Mathy GmbH's ripening rooms

Each ripening room is equipped with a cooling system, which consists of a cooling unit, fan, and evaporator. Cold water is used as a coolant during the process. The cold water is cooled based on ammonia (NH3) cooling in a 2MW cooling system.

The system controls the air circulation in the ripening rooms. This allows fruits to ripen equally. To control the fruit ripening, ethylene (C2H4) of a specific concentration is released into a ripening room. As a result, a mixture is created to start the ripening process. The ethylene is held in a tank located in a central unit. The tank is connected to all ripening rooms.

To control and visualize the ripening process, the Reliance SCADA/HMI system is used. Reliance is installed on the fruit storage main office's computer. The Reliance system acquires the process data from 15 Siemens Climatix POL638 PLCs, which are located in a control cabinet.

The fruit storage main office

The fruit storage main office

Thanks to a large number of well-arranged visualization screens, the warehouse operating personnel can view and control:

  • The ripening process in a ripening room including individual ripening stages
  • The cooling process in each of the fifteen ripening rooms by controlling the cooling units and fans
  • The air circulation process in the ripening rooms
  • The 2MW cooling system
  • The ethylene-releasing and dosing process

Examples of visualization windows

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Bananas, illustrative image