As the world’s population grows, so does the demand for high-quality fresh produce, making controlled environment agriculture (CEA) increasingly important. CEA is the practice of growing crops in a controlled environment, often indoors, using hydroponic, aeroponic, or aquaponic systems. These systems provide growers with precise control over environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, light, and nutrients, resulting in consistent crop yields with high nutritional values.

Climate-Controlled Greenhouses: A Sustainable Solution for Year-Round Growing

CEA can help address some of the most pressing issues facing our food systems today. Climate-controlled greenhouses, for example, allow for year-round growing of fresh produce, even in areas with extreme weather conditions. Greenhouse-grown produce is also less susceptible to pests and diseases, reducing the need for harmful pesticides and herbicides. In addition, CEA systems can help achieve zero food waste to landfill by utilizing efficient nutrient management and recycling systems.

Hydroponic growing systems are a popular choice for CEA because they use up to 90% less water than traditional farming methods and can be set up in urban areas, reducing the distance that produce needs to travel from farm to table. These systems also use less land, making them ideal for densely populated areas where space is limited. Resilient and equitable food systems are critical for ensuring that everyone has access to healthy, fresh produce, and CEA can help achieve this by providing a sustainable and reliable source of food that is less susceptible to weather-related disruptions and can be grown in areas with limited access to arable land.

Complete Line Solutions for Various Types of Produce

rendering of a complete line of JBT equipment

CEA technology has advanced significantly in recent years, and JBT Corporation is one of the companies leading the way. JBT offers complete solutions for salad applications, postharvest solutions, processing equipment, and packaging systems for the fresh produce industries. With over 90 years of experience in the fresh produce industry, JBT’s total postharvest solutions is a complete package of high-tech machinery designed to maintain and enhance the quality of fresh produce after it is harvested. Our expertise in the field of Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) makes us a leading supplier of processing equipment and packaging systems for the fresh produce industry.

Controlling Product Flow: JBT’s Receiving Solutions

JBT’s postharvest solutions comprise the receiving, washing, and drying stages of the fresh produce supply chain. In the receiving stage, JBT Corporation offers a preparation table which is designed to do the first visual inspection of the products. Defects can easily be removed. The preparation tables are made from stainless steel, designed following the latest technologies of hygiene and ergonomics. To move product down the line, the Weigh Hopper system is added to control the product flow and checks the amount of produce passing through the conveyor. With the weigh hopper integrated, the product quality will be guaranteed.

Potatoes on JBT conveyors

Ensuring Quality, Traceability, and Hygiene: JBT’s Washing Solutions

In the washing stage, JBT Corporation has a range of machinery solutions that prioritize quality and hygiene control. By using a flume system in combination with a single stage flotation washer the product after harvesting is washed in the gentlest way. The washers of JBT are designed in such a way that retention time can be controlled, flow by using water and air to create the best washing result and easy access to different parts of the system. The washers are designed in a very hygienic way and exist out of folded sheet material. Automatic flushing of the system, water filtration by using parabolic filters and demister boxes can added to the total solution. By using demister boxes for dewatering of the product, JBT’s machines save water on average 20% compared to conventional systems. For even greater cleanliness, JBT offers the Largest Fly Catching Drum/Screen to remove small particles like leaf parts and flies. To ensure the highest levels of pathogen protection, JBT Prevenio’s patented post-harvest antimicrobial food wash decouples pathogens from the surface of produce.

JBT also offers Crate & Tray Washing Solutions like the FTNON Crate Washer, which efficiently and hygienically washes crates and trays, reducing water waste through filtering and recirculating water. The Bin Scrubber cleans and scrubs up to 200 bins per hour, making bin washing efficient and easy. With JBT Corporation’s machinery, you can maintain the quality and hygiene of your produce while minimizing waste and water usage.

produce being washed on JBT equipment

JBT’s System for Drying Produce

Drying is an important stage in the processing of fresh fruits and vegetables, and JBT Corporation’s drying solutions offer improved food safety, reduced labor costs, and a smaller footprint. JBT’s fully automated drying systems eliminate the need for manual labor, and their hygienic design ensures the highest levels of food safety. These systems also have a smaller footprint than traditional drying methods, making them ideal for facilities with limited space.

JBT’s drying solutions are also easy to program, allowing for the drying of a variety of products. For delicate products, JBT’s FTNON Gentle Drying technology offers a solution that reduces product damage while still achieving optimal drying results. Using air is the most optimum and gentle way to treat the CEA processed products.

Innovative Packaging Processes for Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA)

Packaging plays a critical role in ensuring that products remain safe, fresh, and protected throughout the supply chain. In recent years, technological advancements have significantly improved the packaging industry, making it easier for manufacturers to seal, label, and identify their products.

Tray sealing is a popular method for packaging fresh produce, with Proseal machines designed specifically for this application. Tray sealing provides increased flexibility, opening the door to the utilization of Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP), sustainable & innovative materials, and a variety of packaging shapes. Tray sealing also opens the possibilities for ‘value-added produce’ and ‘on-the-go’ convenience foods, where you can include eating utensils, dressing pots, or other additional toppings/items within the sealed tray.

Proseal is a leading provider of tray sealing solutions, with their GT Platform being the world’s most successful range of tray-sealing machines. These machines offer the fastest cycle speeds, the most diverse sealing capabilities, the smallest physical footprint, and the quickest product changeover. Proseal solutions cater to both large and small vendors, spanning throughputs from 6 packs per minute to 240 packs per minute. In addition, Proseal provides 24/7 live support always answered by an engineer, remote diagnostics technology, local support, and next-day access to spare parts for machines and tooling.

Sealing Processes Suitable for CEA include Atmospheric Seal, Gas Flush, and Hermetic Shrink. Atmospheric Seal is a simple method where the pack is simply sealed, and there is no shelf-life extension method applied, unless perforated film is being used in the fresh produce sectors. Proseal offers a gas flushing system that is often selected over vacuum because it is rapid, cost-effective, and can achieve low residual oxygen levels. Hermetic Shrink means the product can be sealed tightly with a stretch film in a shallow base tray allowing vertical shelf stacking and minimal product movement in the tray. This style reflects the look of a product that is shrink-wrapped but is instead hermetically sealed around the tray flange, which also helps to cut plastic use.

Labeling & Identification Solutions: State-of-the-Art Technology for Food Businesses

Effective labeling and Identification are crucial for any food business, not only for regulatory compliance but also for consumer safety and satisfaction. In recent years, technological advancements have revolutionized the way food packaging lines operate, ensuring that every piece of packaging is error-proofed as part of the production run.

AutoCoding Systems is a global specialist in code assurance, packaging verification, and device automation across packaging lines. AutoCoding Systems’ software fully integrates with equipment across the JBT family of products, and every piece of packaging is checked in line as part of the production run. The modular approach of ACS allows businesses to gradually create smart packaging lines, error-proofing primary and secondary packaging in the process. ACS gives complete confidence that correct packaging and labels are being used, improving traceability with an unbroken audit log of all activities on the packaging line.

Fresh Oranges with JBT Lables

Labeling & Identification Solutions offer state-of-the-art technology for food businesses. With a portfolio of high-speed labelers that are fully customizable, businesses can find a labeling solution that meets their needs. The high-performance labels used in these solutions feature durable micro-thin films and superior adhesives that promote application to a variety of commodities. JBT labels are manufactured using conventional or compostable materials.  Innovative label designs can be used for branding, PLU identification, or country of origin requirements, with in-house graphic design support to assist in meeting marketing needs.

Controlled Environment Agriculture Expertise

Overall, CEA has the potential to revolutionize the way we grow and consume fresh produce, offering a sustainable and scalable solution to the challenges facing our food systems today and JBT Corporation’s Total Postharvest Solution is a comprehensive in the fresh produce industry. Our expertise in Controlled Environment Agriculture and over 90 years of experience make us a leading supplier of processing equipment and packaging systems. With their advanced and high-tech machinery designed to maintain and enhance the quality of fresh produce, JBT Corporation is undoubtedly an asset to the industry.

Learn More About JBT’s Fresh Produce Technologies & Solutions