IFCO SYSTEMS, the leading global provider of reusable packaging solutions for fresh foods, is opening a new washing center for reusable plastic containers (RPCs) in Portugal. With the new facility, IFCO is expanding its washing capacity to further increase efficiency and deliver optimal customer service. As part of continuous innovation, the facility features improved technology to ensure efficient label removal and drying processes. The new washing center will triplicate IFCO’s washing capacity in Portugal to approximately 30 million RPCs per year.
The new IFCO washing center is located in Azambuja near Portugal’s capital Lisbon, and only 500 metres from the local IFCO depot. With 7,200 m² of covered and 4,000 m² of uncovered area, the facility provides enough storage space to improve the availability of RPCs in both Portugal and Spain. At the new center, IFCO will wash all the crates from the local Portuguese market as well as RPCs imported mainly from Spain.
With more than 50 employees, eight truck docks for loading and unloading, and innovative technology, the new washing center will triplicate IFCO’s washing capacity in Portugal. The facility is capable of cleaning 90,000 RPCs per day, amounting to approximately 30 million crates per year. By increasing its capacity, IFCO is able to clean RPCs imported from other markets, mainly Spain. By cleaning them directly in Portugal, IFCO avoids the transport of approximately four million empty and dirty RPCs to Spain per year.
IFCO RPCs are used to transport fresh foods like fruit and vegetables, bread, meat, and fish. In the food industry, safety has top priority – for food, suppliers, employees and customers. Therefore, IFCO adheres to strictly enforced standards of global hygiene and sanitation in all its washing facilities. RPCs are washed according to the highest standards in the RPC industry and in accordance with a strict HACCP plan. IFCO’s washing centers are equipped with state-of-the-art cleaning and drying equipment. The new washing facility in Azambuja features an innovative drying centrifuge, which thoroughly dries the RPCs to both increase the washing capacity and ensure there are no wet crates in winter. Furthermore, a new label remover ensures an improved washing productivity.
In many of its washing centers, IFCO has installed water-recycling equipment, which lowers the amount of water used during the washing process. In addition, the company employs energy saving technologies through combined heat and power generation. As the industry’s most advanced washing monitoring technology, IFCO’s SmartGuardian™ system measures and monitors key parameters such as water flow and temperature, pump pressure, contact time, as well as detergent and disinfectant concentration. The system continuously monitors washing processes and provides customers with verifiable data.