Pro Refrigeration, Inc., Offers New Technology in Cold Chain Verification
By Steve Weisman
Published Feb. 2021 | American Dairyman
Even before opening their doors in 1990, Pro Refrigeration, Inc., (www.prochiller.com) has been focused on the Milk Cooling process. According to Jim VanderGiessen, Jr., CEO, “Cooling milk goes back to my grandfather, one of the first dairymen in the State of Washington to install a refrigerated bulk tank, and it wasn’t long before he was in the milk tank business. The milk tank changed the game for my Grandpa’s generation, and we’ve seen Chiller Systems and Plate Coolers becoming the new standard for cooling milk.”
Initially, Pro’s mission was to offer the first Plate Heat Exchanger and Chiller System combination designed specifically to instantly cool the milk. The objective was to bring the milk below 40 F, (the USDA “Bacteria Danger Zone”) before the milk reached the bulk tank. On larger dairies, it was becoming a challenge to cool the milk quickly enough in the bulk tanks, and they needed a new way to get the job done.
Through their resourcefulness, ingenuity, and “plenty of mistakes,” the PROChiller System has grown to become a leader to not just the Dairy Industry, but numerous other markets including Brewing, Extraction, Pharmaceutical, and more. Pro Refrigeration is truly the pioneer in the process of instant cooling raw milk, designing the PROChiller System that paved the way for reliable, efficient, and innovative Instant Cooling.
“We’ve been lucky to have some great partners. Our network of dealers has been critical in helping us understand the challenges that today’s farmers face, and they provide our team the critical insight, feedback, and opportunities to produce the equipment our customers need,” VanderGiessen adds. “Although our focus today is well beyond Chiller Systems, it is ALL about helping our customers produce the highest quality products. As we say, it is all about the Cold Milk…
A History of Innovation
From the beginning, Pro has been focused on innovation and technology. Pro was the first to bring the “Packaged Chiller System” strategy to the dairy market. The offering of products and services now includes Heat Recovery, Product Storage, Field Services and the PROElliot Dashboard, providing “on farm” Cold Chain Verification with access to important data from anywhere.
Current standards require each producer to provide and maintain a Circular Paper Chart to verify milk temperatures on every bulk tank in the United States. PRO is currently focused on providing the same information, electronically, with additional features and tools to help improve the bottom line.
Steve Pretz, VP of Sales, summarizes, “Anyone in the milk business can read a Paper Circular Chart and see the difference between a good week of milk production and a week that had issues. Our goal makes sure PROElliot can provide the same verification as the Paper Chart, and more.”
How PROElliot™ works
The newest PROElliot Dashboard includes the PROE7chart, an electronic 7-day chart that tracks the cycles of the cold chain processes throughout the week. All of this can be monitored and controlled from anywhere, allowing you to analyze system data through visualizations displayed on a customized dashboard. This system gives real-time operational data with a historical view that includes trend charts and alarm logs. The system can even be set to provide producers operational alerts by text or email.
VanderGiessen says, “We securely obtain, store and analyze the operating data from the equipment we build. This data is stored in the cloud and locally, giving us the ability to serve your data to you on demand, providing farmers access to real-time system information, coupled with providing some predictive information based on data trends. We see a near future when they are informed of issues, before they occur, preventing downtime and loss of product.”
The PROElliot™ Platform can be viewed at www.proelliot.com.
What installers say
Jason Pearson, the owner of Leading Dairy Solutions (LDS) in Chilton, WI, has been installing the PROElliot™ system since March of 2020. “At LDS, we service approximately 230,000 cows throughout Wisconsin. The cows and their milk are the two most important things in the dairy industry. We will be installing our sixth system in the next couple of weeks.”
According to Pearson, this technology can be both a time saver and a money saver on the dairy farm. “In the dairy industry, time is money. No matter what, the milk is going to keep flowing. Farms are running 24/7. I think the PROElliot™ technology is going to be huge. For instance, the herdsman can put this on his phone and see in real-time exactly how the system is running. He can also look at the entire Chiller System history and check for any alarms, temperature pressures, pressure trends, say, for the last 24 hours.”
As an installer, Pearson finds he can access any system that he has installed. He can troubleshoot issues right from his phone.
“All I have to do is pull up the system, and I can immediately access the dashboard. So, if there is a problem or a potential issue, I have access to the entire system. I can see how the washing system is working, how much water is being used, the water temperature…just plain everything is right there. If I see a potential issue or something that needs to be corrected, I can reach out to the herdsman and save the precious time that it would take to make the site visit.”
Pearson also reassures his customers that he is there to help them become confident with this new technology. As with all equipment, “When we set up a system, we spend hours going through each one. Once we have them up and running, they are an excellent product. We’re there for any questions they might have.”
The PRO Team has grown to about 80 members strong with Regional Sales Engineers located across the country. Pro is honored and proud that thousands of companies around the world entrust us with keeping their products cool.
At the same time, Pro has expanded its facilities to include the original facility in Auburn, Washington, and the state-of-the-art East Coast production facility in Mocksville, North Carolina.