New cold rooms for MassFresh Meat

By Ilana Koegelenberg

MassFresh Meat in Benoni was a greenfield project where the main objective was to build a new meat production facility complete with central two-stage ammonia refrigeration plant to supply cooling to the various cold rooms.

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The cold rooms supplied for the meat production facility were as follows:

  • Ammonia rooms;
  • Receiving area;
  • Carcass chiller;
  • Offal chiller;
  • Despatch area;
  • Finished goods chiller;
  • Despatch freezer;
  • Raw material freezer;
  • Finished goods freezer; and
  • Blast freezer 2.

Glycol rooms included:

  • Deboning room;
  • De-boxing chiller;
  • Chicken breaking chiller;
  • Chicken packing chiller;
  • Ground and retail cutting chiller;
  • Processed polony;
  • Processed polony cold room;
  • High-risk area; and
  • Polony packing.

Ammonia and glycol chiller valve stations. Mycom reciprocating compressor with the -10°C and -34°C accumulator drums. Outside MassFresh Meat’s new ammonia plant room. The five Mycom reciprocating compressors in the plant room.


Marine Refrigeration Engineering (MRE) was appointed as the refrigeration contractor in November 2016 after the tender phase had been completed and adjudicated. The project was commissioned in June 2017.

The upgraded refrigeration plant has a low-stage operating capacity of 480kWR and high-stage operating capacity of 1 486kWR.

The plant room equipment included:

  • 2 × low-stage Mycom reciprocating compressors;
  • 1 × swing Mycom reciprocating compressor;
  • 2 × high-stage Mycom reciprocating compressors;
  • -35°C accumulator vessel with 2 × ammonia pumps;
  • -10°C accumulator vessel with 2 × ammonia pumps;
  • Liquid receiver;
  • Hansen air purger;
  • Evapco Evaporative Condensers;
  • Sondex PHEs;
  • Evaporators by HC Heat Exchangers;
  • PLC for monitoring and control by Carel; and
  • 3 × KSB glycol pumps.


The refrigeration plant was designed with operating efficiency and longevity as the primary design considerations.

This has resulted in the following operating principles being incorporated into the design:

  • Ammonia as a refrigerant.
  • Two-stage refrigeration with pumped recirculation for the highest practical efficiency. A coefficient of performances (COPs) of 4.4 can be achieved on the compressors.
  • Reciprocating compressors with water-cooled oil cooling.
  • Variable frequency drive (VFD) for the reciprocating compressors to ensure close matching of the operating compressor capacity to the system heat load.
  • VFD for the condenser fans.
  • Freezer evaporators mounted in pods for quick, effective defrosting.
  • Glycol cooling supplied in all production rooms.


The upgraded refrigeration plant has a low-stage operating capacity of 480kWR and high-stage operating capacity of 1 486kWR.

There are two low-stage duty compressors, two high-stage duty compressors, and a swing compressor.

The accumulator vessels have been designed to allow for future expansion of the refrigeration plant.

Two ammonia to glycol plate heat exchangers are used to cool down the glycol, which is then pumped to the various glycol rooms mentioned above.

Two new Evapco induced draft condensers were installed, with close-coupled, mono-block-type circulating pumps that circulate water over the galvanised coil. A closed-loop cooling circuit for the compressor oil is also installed in each unit.

Heat rejection rate: 923kW (each)

Condensing temperature: 34°C

Wet bulb temperature: 20°C


Sufficient and regular communication between subcontractors on site is always a crucial aspect to ensure efficient production from all parties, explains Charles van der Walt of MRE Gauteng. “Finding the solution to the primary steelwork misalignment above the cold rooms was a good example of this.

The 10°C and -34°C accumulator skids complete with plate heat exchangers, ammonia pumps, and gauge panel. Raw material freezer pods and valve stations. The three KSB glycol pumps. The MassFresh roof void with refrigeration piping and valve stations complete with stainless steel cladding.

“Keeping in mind that everyone needs to work as a team to finish a project on time, moving away from the immediate blame-shifting, and moving towards a positive mindset to create innovative solutions to unexpected problems, is vital for the successful completion of any project,” says Van der Walt.


 Owner    Massmart / Wallmart
 Architect / Designer   R&L
 Quantity surveyor   MLC
 Consulting engineers  Electrical  WSP
 Mechanical  WSP
 Contractors  Refrigeration  Marine Refrigeration Engineering (MRE)
 Main building  Edilcon Construction
 Panelling  Rudnev
 Steel supply  Ferro
 Electrical   Qualect 

 Click below to read the January/February 2018 issue of Cold Link Africa



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