APS Salads, a UK producer of tomatoes and salad crops, has a mission to produce fresh and high quality tomatoes. Following a multi-million pound investment in their Kent site, the company is producing their largest crop ever and achieving their quality goals. However, a lack of chilling capacity threatened to undermine the freshness and shelf life of the product giving rise to an urgent need for additional capacity for product cooling.

Smart Space responded to the challenge with a custom built insulated cold store designed, engineered and installed in less than one week from enquiry. APS director, Phil Pearson explained, “We approached several temporary building suppliers and from the outset were impressed by the professional approach at Smart Space. They not only supplied the building, but went out of their way to find us a cooling equipment supplier and fit a high efficiency strip door that provides convenient access and minimises air changes so cooling costs are lower.”

The new building from Smart Space is not an off the shelf package, but was engineered to meet APS’s needs precisely. The construction is modular with an aluminium frame and solid insulated wall panels together with double skin air-insulated PVC roof. Ground preparation was minimal because this is a light structure enabling the building to be secured directly to the concrete apron. Having a good degree of insulation and a door system to minimise air infiltration means that cooling operating costs will be minimised.

APS is very resource aware and has invested heavily in technology to minimise environmental impact at their Kent site. Two Rolls Royce generators power the site and export excess electricity to the local community. The installation is a combined heat and power system where waste heat from the generation process also warms the greenhouses. In addition CO2 from generators is also injected into the greenhouses where the plants convert this to sugars, improving both the quality of the product and crop yield.

Smart Space managing director Antony Hunt noted, “In this case it was particularly satisfying that we could deliver this project in such a short time, even though we were working from our Warwickshire base, 200 miles from the site. We understand that APS may need the building for 18 months or until they have upgraded their main cold store.”

High specification temporary buildings are a Smart Space speciality. The company also offer light weight and rapidly installed interim buildings – ideal for a three to five year term. Low cost fully insulated permanent buildings that comply to the latest Building Regulation and that have a 35 year design life are also available. All structures are individually engineered in the UK to meet client requirements. From their Midlands HQ the company provide a nation-wide service to clients in diverse sectors including not just horticulture, but manufacturing, distribution, retail, motor trades, education and leisure.