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New cold store for jam factory

Wilkins & Sons have a deserved reputation worldwide for their high quality jams and marmalades. They have been produced at their factory in Tiptree, Essex, since 1885 and last year the company manufactured more than 65 million mini-jars of preserves for hotels and restaurants alone. Their overall production of jams and marmalades now tops the 7300 tonnes mark a year but to cope with growing demand a new cold store was needed to replace an aging freezer system which had been out of use for ten years.

On the advice of installers Adcock Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, and wholesalers AFR Refrigeration, four J & E Hall Fusion Scroll Condensing Units were chosen for the new 200m2 cold store. Wilkins & Sons’ electrician Mike Fitzgerald takes up the story: “Fruit for the production lines is kept in the cold store and the temperature has to be just right for our jams and marmalades. It is there for no more than 12 hours and should be stored in conditions varying between 0°C to 5°C but we like to have the room temperature at between 2°C and 3°C.

“The old system had been running on a refrigerant no longer available. We did look at getting a drop-in replacement gas but were advised by Adcock that because of the age of the system it would not be worth doing – so a new installation made a lot of sense.”

The Ipswich branch of Adcock Refrigeration and Air Conditioning are no strangers to working for Wilkins & Sons. They have looked after the company’s refrigeration and air conditioning needs in recent years.

Easy to install

Adcock asked AFR Refrigeration, of Wandsworth, South London, distributors of the Fusion Scroll Condensing Units, to handle the design for the new cold store system. AFR refrigeration marketing manager John Purbrick said: “We knew that matching the Fusion Scroll units with Guntner evaporators would be a perfect combination. The JEHS-0800-M3 units are Enhanced Capital Allowance Scheme approved and extremely efficient. They are supplied in a plug and play configuration, making them easy to install. Maintenance is straightforward and the price competitive. So there is a lot going for them.”

The Government’s Enhanced Capital Allowance Scheme allows the customer to claim ECA on the cost of the qualifying equipment, transportation of the equipment to site and for direct installation costs in the first year – instead of ten years. Wilkins & Sons are currently in the process of claiming this tax relief.

Managing energy efficiency is key, as John Purbrick explained: “This is at the heart of the installation. We recommended four evaporators, four condensing units and two control panels. Each control panel operates two evaporators and has a digital step controller operating the condensing units individually – matching the cold room’s load. This means the units do not have to run flat-out all the time and this keeps the running costs down. At night time when demand is low it allows you to have the cold room ticking over on two systems.”

The installers are happy too. Manager of the Ipswich branch of Adcock, Keith Augustus, said: “Logistically the job was a breeze. We wanted something available quickly and at the right price.

Ideal design

“The design for the new cold store was ideal. The Fusion units were easy to install and with the evaporators everything came together perfectly. The icing on the cake for the customer is that not only do they have a new cold store but the running costs are a lot lower than they would have been in the past.”

The new cold store has already made an impact, as Mike Fitzgerald explained: “It is making a big difference in the production of jams and marmalades – especially during the summer months. We now have a dedicated cold store for the fruit destined for the production lines – and everything is working well.”

Tiptree jam