“We’ve been manufacturing ripening systems for more than 35 years and they make their way around the globe,” says Jacco Smid with VDH Products. Meanwhile, MTX is a turnkey provider of fresh produce facilities and other temperature-controlled environments and is based in Canada.
“We’ve been working together with MTX for a long time. Because of the growing demand for our products in North America and MTX’s ripening system expertise, we felt an official partnership was a logical next step,” Smid added.
VDH Products supplies the control equipment and other items for the complete ripening process as well as service and support to MTX. MTX on the other hand, works directly with customers based in Canada and the US. “We noticed that a lot of people were struggling to get support for VDH equipment in North America,” says Ethan Strawbridge of MTX Fruit Ripening Systems North America based in Rockwood, Ontario. “We have clients who have equipment made by VDH and they’re looking for solutions to help them move forward or access parts. VDH has had a very strong presence in the fruit ripening and produce control system business for a few decades now and we’ve now ended up on a partnership we could make work.”
For growers in North America this means there are more direct ways to access VDH products. “There have been hundreds of systems throughout North America that were built on the VDH architecture and a lot of them are having a hard time finding ways to get parts or intimidated about purchasing things from overseas. Although we live in a world market today, a lot of people still struggle to overcome that challenge.”
Improving accessibility to VDH systems without having to head overseas means that existing ripening rooms and systems may have an easier, and more economical time, updating those rooms and systems.
Reaching major hubs
Strawbridge notes that there is likely a concentration of growers and shippers with ripening rooms in major cities across North America including Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Chicago, New York City and Los Angeles that this partnership may appeal to. While bananas still dominate when it comes to products being ripened these days, avocados are also increasing in numbers considerably. “There has been some small growth for things like mangoes, pears, papayas, but nothing in comparison to the volumes we’re doing in bananas and avocados,” Strawbridge added.
Proba ripening system
Because of the high demand for ripening systems, VDH developed its own ripening system, Proba, about 35 years ago. “This system turned out to be very successful and is the most used ripening system in the world today,” Smid said. “Just like other VDH systems, the Proba ripening system is an ‘open’ system, meaning that its parameters and settings are freely accessible, operating independent from any supplier or installer”.
In the end, while accessing parts and improving systems is key, the partnership is ultimately about providing full solutions to North American customers. “Ripening rooms will always be a part of our heritage. But this really opens up options for people,” says Strawbridge. “If they need control systems solutions that are fairly economical and follow an existing architecture like VDH, they can access them through us.”
“In MTX, we found a dealer who is able to provide the necessary knowledge and support for VDH systems. We are convinced they are an excellent partner,” finished Smid.