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French cold chain firms eyeing Indian forays offer interesting choices
Saturday, 24 November, 2012, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Akshay Kalbag, Mumbai
A delegation of seven French companies looking for Indian partners or end-users, which was in Mumbai recently showcasing its technological expertise in the cold chain sector at the Indo-French Cold Chain Summit, had on offer a number of interesting choices for tie-ups and collaborations.
The summit was supported by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) and co-organised by Ubifrance, the Association Francaise du Froid (AFF) and Cemafroid.
The participating companies were Absoger; JF Cesbron; Frappa Group; Janny MT; Lecapitaine; Petit Forestier and Samifi France.
Headquartered in Les Barthes, France, Absoger has been engaged in the manufacturing of carbon dioxide scrubbers, nitrogen generators, ethylene scrubbers and various systems to analyse in controlled atmosphere rooms.
The company has operations the world over, and besides operating more than 6,300 cold rooms, it is equipped to control and manage more than 1.7 million tonnes of fruit.
Absoger is a specialist in the preservation and storage of fruit, thanks to its controlled atmosphere technology.
A family-owned company incepted a century ago, the Angers-based JF Cesbron not only specialises in refrigeration and air treatment, but also in energy control and savings.
The company designs, installs and maintains complete installations such as cold rooms, chiller units and cold rooms.
They cover the French territory with about 60 agencies and 750 employees, and to support their network, they have six poles, each of which caters to a dedicated market, technology or service, such as refrigeration or energy savings.
Having realised the importance of energy savings to the industry, JF Cesbron has created a team dedicated to it and a specific offer named Optienergie.
They also have a research and development department which constantly endeavours to develop new technologies.
One of these innovations is the Ice Solar System, a patented technology originally developed for Africa. It gives an opportunity of sustainable, economic and social development.
The Frappa Group, which has been manufacturing bodies for the last 166 years, is located in northern Ardeche, about 70 km south of Lyon.
It has developed a range of refrigerated trucks. Frappa Truck and Trailer's product portfolio includes 3.5-tonne trucks and semi-trailers.
Apart from these, it has another company – Frappa Facilities Solutions – which offers its customers a variety of services such as leasing, repair, second-hand vehicles and spare parts.
Frappa Green Solutions is engaged in development and marketing of a fleet of eco-friendly vehicles.
In 2010, the Frappa Group was awarded a prize for technical innovation in industrial bodywork for its semi-trailer FT Silent Green.
According to 2011 data, the company had 150 employees, a fleet of 600 refrigerated vehicles, consolidated turnover estimated to be 35 million euros and an industrial site covering an area of about 70,000 sq m, of which 28,000 sq m had been covered.
Thanks to its new partner, it is now in a position to accelerate its innovation efforts, and aims to become one of the world's leading builders of sustainable and innovative bodies.
Desquiens said, “Janny MT's activities include preservation and post-harvest in a controlled atmosphere.” It offers flexibility and is accessible to all producers, be it those who produce one tonne or a hundred tonnes.
For several years, the Peronne-based company has a commercial network in place in most European countries, and it revolves around a technology that enables the preservation of fruit, vegetables, flowers and mushrooms.
The equipment comprises independent modules of controlled atmosphere – an industrial pallet-box in plastic closed by a patented lid.
Each unit is of flexible volume. For instance, it could hold 300 kg of apples or 150 kg of cherries, these are stored in ordinary cold rooms. All types of producers can access controlled atmosphere, irrespective of their size, the cold room they use, the fruit or vegetable they produce or the volume they need to preserve.
The patented process is based on the natural breathing of the product. This breathing creates an exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
Thanks to this innovation, Janny MT can control these exchanges of gas and consequently the internal levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide (between one and five per cent) inside each module that constitute the equipment.
It is a 100 per cent natural process. No gases are added and no machines are used.
The equipment can be used from one tonne to 100 tonnes, and even more in case of specific products. It offers a high degree of flexibility in storage and sales management and is better than ordinary cold conditions – the product can be stored during peak production times and sold for a better price at a later date.
It also offers the possibility of extending the shelf life of a product by several days, weeks or in some cases, even months. Some of the products which can be stored using this equipment include apples, asparagus, blueberries, cherries, kiwi fruit, leeks, pears and plums.
During the cold storage process, the fruit tends to lose weight. With Janny MT's technology, one of the main benefits is the drastic reduction in the weight loss – less than 1.5 per cent on an average after the preservation.
One or several modules can be taken off or put inside the cold room without disturbing the process of preservation for the remainder of the modules. The cold room can be opened at any time.
Cherries can be preserved for 25 days instead of five; asparagus can also be preserved for 25 days; apples can be preserved for upto 240 days (according to the variety) with a weight loss of less than 1.5 per cent at the end, and pears can be preserved for 4-7 months with no brown core and less than two per cent weight loss.
Lecapitaine, which was established in 1936, was headquartered in Saint-Lo. In 2000, it was acquired by Petit Forestier, one of Europe's leading refrigerated vehicle rental companies.
The company designs, builds and distributes a range of refrigerated bodies, which includes both small bodies and semi-trailers.
The bodies are available in three different packages – in-kit form ready to be assembled at the agent's premises; complete body ex-factory ready to be fitted, and complete body fitted on the chassis at the factory.
Petit Forestier, which turned 100 in 2007, has emerged as one of the leading refrigerated rental and contract hire firms in Europe, because they have constantly reinforced their expertise, anticipated new developments and of course, affirmed their industrial independence.
It offers a wide range of products, including vehicles, cold stores and display units.
From the perspective of the company's strategic development orientations, two factors have been identified as key to its success – (a) their conviction that all services related to t
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