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Interko promises further innovation in ripening on 50th anniversary

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Ripening technology pioneer celebrates 50 years of continuous progress with plans to complete its scope of solutions alongside presenting at Fruit Logistica 2018.

 

Interko marks 50 years of growth and development this year; having successfully evolved from a local cooling technology provider established in 1968 into the world’s leading independent designer, manufacturer and installer of revolutionary fruit ripening solutions.

Dedicated to progression, Interko now plans to focus on developing the complete scope of solutions for any retailer, importer, distributor, wholesaler or trader looking to ripen any fruit to perfection.

“The direction we are taking is to develop an entire range of products that suits everyone,” explains Interko Managing Director/Partner, Chris Maat. “We’re looking at the different logistical needs of every ripening installation; whether that’s large volumes and high efficiency or extreme flexibility for even smaller loads. Essentially, we are continuing to adapt to what the market needs.”

In recognition of its 50th anniversary, Interko will also present on the Fruit Logistica 2018 Tech Stage a technical exploration of the logistical role of ripening in the fresh produce supply chain during the last 50 years.

Chris will take the audience on a journey from field to plate. With different fruits arriving from various sources that are destined for distinct markets, he will illustrate the challenges of perfecting the ripening process for individual applications.

“From optimising airflow to accommodating various box designs and fine-tuning the subsequent logistics, I will explain how such challenges can be overcome thanks to the development of tailored and adaptable ripening rooms featuring state-of-the-art technology,” Chris explains.

Over the past five decades, the team at Interko has used its energy, experience and vision to continually push the boundaries of research and design to develop innovative solutions in response to evolving supply chain challenges and consumer demands.

“Interko has become a pioneer in the field of fresh fruit ripening technology,” Chris points out. “In the last five years alone we have made some major achievements in launching highly-efficient, cost-effective, and, therefore, profitable ripening solutions for our customers. In particular, we have focused increasingly on developing technologies that will reduce our customers’ energy usage in response to modern-day issue of rising energy prices across Europe and the often limited access to energy in third countries. “Our groundbreaking, energy-efficient REVERSO reversible fan is just one example that has been a big commercial success.”

 

The start of fruit ripening

Interko was founded in June 1968 near Rotterdam, by Cornelius Bolkestein, an aeronautical engineer who wanted to apply his knowledge of aerodynamics to the field of cooling in the horticulture industry. In the 1960s and ‘70s, Mr Bolkestein’s approach was quite a step change. In 1975, Interko moved to a much bigger factory in Delft which enabled the firm to expand its reach to banana ripening technology. There, the team designed and built the industry’s first patented banana ripening room. From then on, Interko designed banana ripening solutions for some of the biggest brands in the fruit business, including Chiquita and US retailer Walmart, for application in both Europe and the USA, where Interko set up a factory in South Carolina in 1978. With air flow crucial to the ripening process, the company soon progressed into developing technology for other fruits, such as mangoes, papayas, avocados and even pears. Interko’s aeronautical roots still represent the core of the business, and founder Mr Bolkestein is proud of the way it has developed. “Interko has always been a pioneer and I still see many opportunities for the company to continue being revolutionary.

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