We consistently hear from our customers about how safe and easy-to-use our products are, but that’s not to say there aren’t a few questions, too. Check out this tutorial on setting up and using your new generator from Catalytic Generators Australia in Melbourne, Australia.
Operating Instructions are available here: download complete instructions for our generators.
Below are some questions we have received about the proper set up and use of generators. If you have a question that we can help with, please contact us.
How is the generator so effective at creating ethylene and helping to ripen fruit uniformly?
Our process of ethylene production is controlled by a mini-computer inside of each generator. It is intelligently engineered to regulate the conversion of Ethy-Gen® II and allows calculated and small amounts to enter the heated catalyst chamber. This precise control permits the generator to continuously emit ethylene…the “trickle” method as the ripening industry refers to it, for better, uniform fruit ripening. The result is a machine that is reliable, robust and safe, while creating enough ethylene to ripen tons of fruit.
There’s no need to use cylinder ethylene anymore that requires the injection of a large amount of ethylene into the ripening room. With our trickle application ripening is much safer, easier and efficient.
What generator setting should I use?
It entirely depends upon four factors:
- the parts per million level required (100-150 for most fruits, less than 10 for citrus degreening)
- the size of the room
- how “air tight” the room is
- number of air exchanges per time period.
Our settings are found to be applicable for most rooms and provide sufficient ethylene (100 – 300 ppm) to initiate the ripening process in bananas, tomatoes and other fruits (except citrus, which requires less than 10 ppm; for this, use our Citrus Generator). However, some ripeners prefer to take ethylene readings with an Air Sampling Kit and select the setting that produces the ethylene level desired. As always, please contact us if we can be of service.
Note that for rooms larger than 300 m3, additional generators can be used, if needed, to achieve the proper ethylene level. It may be possible to use just one generator for a room that is larger than 300 m3; it depends upon how tight the room is. We have some customers that are able to use just one generator in rooms that are larger than 566 m3 and achieve 100-150 ppm of ethylene.
Also please note that our conversion settings are based on two litres in the reservoir. The first liter will be converted slightly faster than the second one. So if you are using setting #3 / #7 and pouring in just one litre, usually this will take slightly longer than 24 hours. However, if you are using setting #4 / #8 and pouring in two litres, the first litre will be used in slightly less than 12 hours and the second one in slightly more, and the total time to convert the two litres (on setting #4 / #8) will be approximately 24 hours.
It is perfectly fine to use just one litre in the generator. Many customers with a one-load banana room will use setting #3 / #7 and pour in just one litre.
Can I use more than 100-150 ppm of ethylene to speed up the ripening?
It serves no purpose because the additional ethylene has no effect. Any ethylene exposure over 150 ppm does not hurt the fruit* but the extra ethylene provides no benefit. Once the proper ethylene level is attained, the only thing that will speed up the ripening process is a higher temperature. Sometime fruit that has been ripened at too high of a pulp temperature is referred to as “overgassed.” Often the cause of poor quality associated with this misnomer is not excessive ethylene but extreme pulp temperature at some period in the postharvest life of the fruit, or poor fruit quality, such as old, stale fruit.
Please note that there are reports of bananas responding better to higher ethylene levels. While 100-150 ppm is the proven and accepted standard to initiate ripening and ethylene production in bananas, there are some companies that require their ripening personnel to use 300-1000 ppm, saying that today’s banana ripens quicker and more uniformly with this higher level. So we certainly do not argue with success! But if you are having difficulty with bananas ripening properly, verifying current ethylene levels may resolve ripening issues. There are other factors that are likely the cause of poor ripening, like inadequate humidity and immature fruit; ethylene is not always the culprit. We do not advocate the use of more than 200 ppm; however, as mentioned, more ethylene* does not harm the fruit, so we will help you achieve the ppm level that you want!
*Note: Citrus is an exception; it should not be exposed to more than 5 ppm and the precise ppm level required depends upon variety).
Is it OK to turn the generator off with Ethy-Gen® II Ripening Concentrate still in the reservoir?
Yes, but not for a long period of time. A small amount may evaporate if left in the generator, especially if the lid to the unit is left open. Also, in a very humid environment, water may be absorbed by the Ethy-Gen® II over an extended period of time, which will decrease the effectiveness. So, it is perfectly fine to turn the generator off when the ethylene application is complete and leave Ethy-Gen® II in the reservoir, but it should be used within a week or so.
Is it OK to leave a generator on with no Ethy-Gen® II in the reservoir?
Does it matter where in the room to place the generator?
The generator should be placed in an out of traffic area in the room, located in a manner where it will not be damaged by a forklift or pallet jack. It should be in an area that has convenient access and view. Since ethylene is lighter than air, placement directly in the airflow pattern is not necessary, as the ethylene will quickly be dispersed throughout the room by the slightest of air movement. If mounting the generator on the wall is more convenient, we can supply all of our generators with a wall mount plate and generator bracket.
If the light on top of the generator is green, does that mean that ethylene is being produced?
This light, called the Proper Operation Indicator Light, measure critical production processes of the catalyst chamber. When green, this indicates that conditions in the chamber are perfect for efficient ethylene production. So as long as Ethy-Gen® II is being delivered to the chamber, ethylene will be produced. The only things that will stop production when this light is green is a reservoir that has no Ethy-Gen® II in it, a line that has been disconnected from the CRS generator (on the Centralized Ripening System – CRS®), or other disruption in the flow of Ethy-Gen® II to the catalyst chamber.
What would make the light on top of the generator turn red, and what do I do when this happens?
When conditions in the catalyst chamber are not perfect for conversion of Ethy-Gen® II into ethylene, the firmware of the generator will turn off power to the chamber and stop the conversion of Ethy-Gen® II. This is designed to only allow for proper and efficient conversion so that Ethy-Gen® II is not wasted and expected ethylene levels result from the conversion. The reason for a red light may be a fluctuation in the electrical supply, so there is a chance that this may be cleared by performing a reset. Follow the directions on the reset button. If the condition persists, contact us and we will get the issue resolved.
Any other questions? Please contact us and we will be glad to help.