Refrigeration technology that offers pinpoint temperature control and keeps Dole bananas fresh on ocean voyages also cuts distribution costs, according to a new marketing campaign by Sidney, Ohio-based Emerson Climate Technologies.

The company’s seagoing container refrigeration system, whose key element is a Copeland digital scroll compressor, was touted in a half-page ad Sept. 13 in The Wall Street Journal.

Technology said to cut produce losses, shipping expenses

Courtesy Emerson Climate Technologies

Emerson Climate Technologies' Copeland digital scroll compressor is the key element in a field-to-fleet temperature control system for bananas, avocados and other produce shipped by sea.

Emerson’s director of marketing Leland Smith said the banana industry as a whole could save $500 million annually on losses from shrink and spoilage and $10 million in fuel costs by using the system. Dole started using it in 2005.

“This product has been around for a little bit,” Smith said, but was not well publicized at launch.

“It’s much more energy efficient,” he said. “In today’s environment that’s becoming increasingly important. One of its advantages, left out of the literature, is that this compressor does interesting things that help with perishability.”

Temperature control to within 0.5 degrees Fahrenheit, or 0.3 Celsius, begins in the fields at harvest. Humidity is also controlled. With the technology, Emerson targets produce items shipped by sea, including bananas and avocados. Strawberries are among the other possibilities.

“Precision temperature control is very important for something like a banana,” Smith said. “If it’s too warm it ripens faster; too cool, it gets spots on it.”

“We have a sizeable presence in the market,” he said. “As a result we can be found in just about any application. Avocados tend to be another complicated product like bananas. You need good humidity control to extend their life.”

“Energy efficiency can save a lot of money. It can really help fleet owners with their total fuel consumption. Some compressors are able to do one or the other — precision or efficiency — but we can do both.”