Cooling fruit and vegetables

BUCO Falling Film Chiller in use for effective hydro-cooling of fruit and vegetables

Our Falling Film Chillers as hydro coolers are an unbeatable alternative in the cooling of fruit and vegetables with a more effective and faster cooling of the product with lower energy consumption, as about 15 times faster than with air cooling. A negligible weight loss in contrast to 3% of the weight loss with comparable air or vacuum cooling. Easier processing of larger harvest quantities due to continuous flow over the conveyor belts, as well as greater flexibility in harvest processes due to cooling at the harvest site in the form of loose or box or tray stacking (single / multi-layer).

At the time of harvesting from the tree, bush or soil, the ageing of the product begins, especially at high ambient temperatures. The requirement for an optimal cooling system should be aimed at cooling down the product as quickly as possible after harvesting. If the crop is cooled directly with cold water or brine, this type of cooling is called hydro-cooling. For all fruits and vegetables, immediate cooling should take place directly after harvesting in order to achieve the highest product quality on the customer side.

Hydro-cooling, on the other hand, is extremely fast and effective even in relation to large quantities of product to be cooled and large product dimensions (aubergines). As a comparison of the processes, here are the data in which a BUCO hydrocooler was used: The customer was able to cool 1 ton/hour of asparagus (product mass per metre of belt 32.1 kg/ belt at bulk height 0.1m) from 25°C to 2°C with loose stacking in 11 minutes. Dimensions of the conveyor belt 5.4 m (length) x 0.80 m (width).

Hydro-cooling is extremely effective for the following fruits and vegetables:
Asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, lettuce, etc.

Our engineering services

We provide the thermal calculations for cooling the fruit or vegetables. On this basis, a Falling Film Chiller is integrated in the case of an existing, functioning conveyor belt or, in the case of new projects, a complete system including conveyor belt, motor, panelling and Falling Film Chiller is offered.

We then optimise the hydrocooler components on the basis of the available data:

  • Product throughput time (conveyor belt speeds)
  • Water volume requirement.

Process data such as conveyor belt widths and lengths, the quantity of product to be cooled, existing product inlet and desired outlet temperatures are to be provided by the customer (if available), or are based on experience after consultation with the end customer.


Hydro-cooling combines the two powerful arguments of cooling the harvest temperature of the product to near 2.0°C - 5.0°C and simultaneously cleaning it with water. The spoilage of the product can be controlled by adding chlorine or citric acids. No refrigeration is faster than vacuum refrigeration but this principle has major disadvantages in terms of the freshness cycle and weight loss of the product. Conventional systems, on the other hand, are too slow with the same negative effects. Hydro-cooling with a BUCO Falling Film Chiller is the most effective solution, as listed above.

We have always assimilated engineering science and thermodynamics optimally in the various manufacturing processes.

Thermodynamicists,mechanical engineers and welding engineers define the dimensioning, design and construction of customised heat exchanger panels and systems in materials ranging from mild and austenitic steels through to titanium, and ensure successful distribution of their work worldwide.

In doing so they fall back on production engineering expertise and calculations developed in the course of the past hundred years that are still being continuously optimised in an ongoing process.

In the perception of our customers, the Buco product stands for:

Technical and process-oriented consulting
Thermodynamic efficiency
Quality and longevity