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CHEP launches new drying technology for plastic crates

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CHEP Australia has launched a new drying technology which will help deliver 80 percent drier plastic crates to the fresh produce industry.

Centrifugal dryer technology has been installed at CHEP’s Scoresby service centre in Victoria, helping make the crate the driest on the market. The service centre was the first to install the new dryer technology, which uses centrifugal force to remove 98 percent of the excess water from each crate.

Ashley Lockett, national equipment controller at fresh produce distributor, Moraitis, said "In our business moisture levels are critical to quality. We are very happy with the results from the new centrifugal crate dryer – it has already improved our ability to transport fresh produce to market in peak condition."

The centrifugal dryer complements CHEP’s HACCP crate wash system, allowing the company to supply crates with less than three grams of water.

"This will be ideal for fruit and vegetables that require very low moisture environments, such as onions, and will widen the opportunity for growers to benefit from CHEP’s reusable plastic crates solution," said CHEP’s senior director supply chain, David Hansen.

He said the centrifugal technology is an environmentally sustainable addition to CHEP's business model.

"We catch the clean water spun from the crates in a water collection tank before pumping it back into the washer for reuse and by doing this save around 180,000 litres of water a year. The dryer also uses up to 80 percent less energy compared to the existing blow dryer technology and it self-generates power which brings the total reduction in energy use to 90 percent," Hasen said.

Victoria is the first of three states to install the high tech dryer with New South Wales and Queensland to follow in early 2014.

The introduction of the dryers coincides with the launch of CHEP’s new industry standard crate, the Gen 3, which features the lowest fold down height in the world.

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