Simulating produce coolers challenges and opportunities
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Simulating Produce Coolers: Challenges and Opportunities. Khaled Mabrouk Operational Engineering Leader - SPS. Presentation Outline. Ag/Produce Business in California Operational Engineering & Farming Produce Cooler Processes Produce Cooler Simulation. America’s Salad Bowl.

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Simulating Produce Coolers: Challenges and Opportunities

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Simulating Produce Coolers: Challenges and Opportunities

Khaled Mabrouk

Operational Engineering Leader - SPS


Presentation Outline

  • Ag/Produce Business in California

  • Operational Engineering & Farming

  • Produce Cooler Processes

  • Produce Cooler Simulation


America’s Salad Bowl

  • Top Crop States:CA $44.7B, IA 31.9, NE 24.4, TX 22.7, MN 20.5

  • CA generates 15% of USA crops,and 50+% of USA grown fruits, nuts, and vegs

  • Watsonville & Salinas Valley generates $4.7B


Along Central Coast (South of Bay Area)


Produce Business

  • Some companies only fill one or two of these roles, and some are totally vertically integrated.


High Level Look at Growing Process


Detailed Look at Growing Process


OE & Produce Growers Shippers

  • Optimization models for field planting selection

  • Best Practice Standard Work for field work

  • Predictive Maintenance for Field Equipment

  • Simulation of Produce Coolers


Produce Cooler Example


Produce Cooler Processes


Arrival Rates


Cooling Approach By Product


Produce Cooler Challenges

  • Produce degrades quickly

  • Must be in cooler within 2.5 hours of harvesting, takes 30-60 minutes for product to arrive

  • Each product has it’s own cooling requirements; process and time in process

  • Different forklifts for inside vs. outside cooler; concern about emission affect on product


Produce Cooler – Simulation Challenges

  • Must keep track of every pallet

  • Arrival pattern varies by time of day

  • Should wait for sufficient number of pallets of a product type before starting cooling process

  • Use shade bay for staging

  • 12 pallet forklift


Produce Cooler - Sample Model

  • There are many excellent simulation software products.

  • The use of a specific product on this project is not an endorsement for any one specific simulation software.

  • Let’s RUN THE MODEL


Lessons Learned

  • Tube capacity should be a multiple of 12

  • Extra receiving personnel needed during busy period to reduce in-bound trucks queuing

  • Room available in Shade Bay Area to convert to other use

  • Both Dry & Wet Boxes are sized appropriately

  • Single move for AFC products has significant impact on Average Time to Complete Cooling Process


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