“Our prototype is a turnkey solution that provides uniform temperature control to manage the ripening process and helps eliminate handling damage for fragile produce at the store level,” explained Michael Wetzel, P.E., president and CEO of Air Innovations. “The end result is that the bananas can be displayed at optimal ripening levels, reducing waste and labor costs to the supermarkets.” Bananas are a grocery store’s No. 1 selling item, representing 1.3 percent of a store’s profits, Wetzel added.
The self-enclosed chamber, specifically designed for the retail backroom, has a 48-box capacity that enables supermarkets to accept and store partial to full pallets without uncapping or restacking.
“Air Innovations created adjustable temperature controls that protect and maintain fruit quality and ripening uniformity until the produce is placed out on display at the front of the store,” Wetzel said. Full production is slated for early 2009 after completion of final testing by THERMAL TECHnologies at selected supermarkets across the country.
According to Air Innovations, it produces specialty HVAC and environmental control solutions for original equipment manufacturers around the world. The company’s focus is on the design, test, and manufacture of products that require precise control of temperature, humidity, pressure, and air filtration. These are used in military, homeland security, R&D, health care, electronics, industrial, and retail applications.
The company said its technical expertise includes:
• Temperature control tolerances on its most sophisticated products as precise as +/- 0.008°F.
• Humidity control tolerances to +/- 0.5 percent.
• DX, chilled water, or thermoelectric capabilities.
• Broad filtration capabilities (HEPA, ULPA, molecular).
• Pressure control.
• Enclosure designs from bench top to room-sized.
For more information, visit www.airinnovations.com.