Multipurpose line for tomato and fruit: the Patagoniafresh story

Patagoniafresh: a mission for tomato and fruit processing

Patagoniafresh, a Iansa Group company based in Chile, is a CFT Customer whose story has intertwined a lot with CFT’s over time and even today, we continue to work successfully together on innovative projects for tomato and fruit processing.

Chile, is quite a unique country, with a peculiar and somehow hostile geography.

In fact, it is the country of the Atacama Desert – the driest desert in the world – where it has not rained for over 400 years; the land with the most powerful earthquake ever recorded with a magnitude of 9.5 and finally, the nation of the Andes Mountains and the home to some of the world’s highest volcanos.

Due to the largely mountainous and arid terrain, only 3.1% of the country’s surface area is cultivated but, notwithstanding the above, some of the best quality fruits and tomatoes are grown in the Country. Patagoniafresh has embraced the goal of feeding the world with the best products its homeland has to offer. This is where awareness and care for the product throughout the production process comes from.

At CFT, as a company that has been serving the food processing businesses for over 75 years, we couldn’t but espouse Patagoniafresh’s cause by providing them with the best processing technology for their fruit and tomatoes.

CFT & Patagoniafresh: a shared passion for high quality tomato and fruit processing

2011: sterilizer and juice filler

2011 was the year of our first project with Patagoniafresh, which included a plate sterilizer and a Macropak AF-2 aseptic filler for the production of apple and grape juice concentrates. Since then our paths have crossed and we are still one of the main suppliers of processing technology to this company.

2014-2017: multipurpose line for tomato and fruit

In March 2014, we started working on a new project involving the construction of a greenfield installation in Molina for tomato and fruit processing.

For this production site, we built a multipurpose line with a capacity of 1200 t/day for tomatoes and 600 t/day for fruit with and without stones.

The CFT solution included a high-level of technological innovation, specifically:

  • It was the first line we produced for processing 25 t/h of stoned fruits, with a double rubber-free mill in parallel and a double Giubileo extractor;
  • It included a Venus triple-effect evaporator with four stages, designed to minimize product holding times at high concentrations (thus reducing the Maillard effect);
  • It included Zenith technology, an ultra-fast, anaerobic enzymatic extraction and inactivation system patented by us.

From the point of view of the quality of the final product, the line showed its potential from the very beginning. In the concentrated peach puree 28/30 Bx, for example, a (Hunterlab) L colour of 63 was achieved compared to typical market values of 50.

Thanks to the flexibility of the multipurpose CFT line, the customer is able to process various product categories such as natural purees, concentrated purees from fruits with or without stones, HB and CB tomato paste and vegetable purees such as those from pumpkin and carrot.

This makes it possible to extend the annual period of operation of the line itself, thereby expanding and differentiating the product portfolio. 

2022: new fruit processing line

In 2022, Patagoniafresh acquired a CFT processing line, with an infeed capacity of 550 t/day of product input, from a company moving out of business and integrated it into the Molina plant, with the aim of dedicating it primarily to fruit processing.

2023: expansion of the tomato line

2023 has been the year when the customer decided to expand the existing tomato line. Once again, CFT we their first choice.

In order to meet the Patagoniafresh needs, we supplied an Apollo MVR evaporator (40 t of evaporated water), an Eldorado 2400 t/day and a Flash Cooler (20 t/h).

Venus and Apollo MVR evaporators
Aseptic Flash Cooler

Thanks to this investment, the tomato processing capacity has doubled from 1.200 to 2.400 t/day. At the same time, thanks to the MVR technology, Patagoniafresh has been able to double the steam utilization efficiency of the tomato evaporators from 1:3 (1 kg steam evaporates 3 kg water) to 1:6 (1 kg steam evaporates 6 kg water).

Lastly, the colour of the final product was further improved due to the higher flow rates of the product, which reduced hold time at high temperature.

One of the special features of this factory is that it can process tomato and pear or tomato and peach at the same time (as shown in the photo below), as well as other products with similar seasonal timings.

Multipurpose line for tomato and fruit
Peach puree and tomato paste

Challenges and goals achieved: ready for the tomato season

With the project confirmed in March 2022 to be ready for the 2023 tomato season, the main challenge for CFT and Patagoniafresh was the one against the clock to get up and running.

The autumn of 2022, the designated delivery period, was one of the most critical we can recall for the transport sector.

Despite the shortage of carriers and lack of space on board, CFT and Patagoniafresh managed to get the 37 containers and 9 over size loads to their destination within the original timeline.

Finally, with a last push in the field, the line was installed and started up in the second week of February as planned.

Thanks to superior technology, customer relations and the power to handle enormously complex orders in a punctual and professional manner, the recent story of Patagoniafresh Molina’s development has been a huge success and reinforces the foundations for the continuation of our collaboration.