Potato storage, in boxes with lateral ventilation
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A storage system which only uses lateral ventilation with air-mix units, is the most economical storage system.

Box storage with lateral ventilation, using air-mix units.

By "lateral ventilation", we mean moving air around the (open) storage boxes, not forcing it between the potatoes and onions. This type of ventilation is suitable for potatoes, fruits, tomatoes, etc., but is not suitable for onions. Onions require forced ventilation between the bulbs, because they have a lot of loose skin between them, which prevents homogenous ventilation with a lateral system.

air-mix units in a crop storage facility

An empty storage facility with air-mix units. In this picture the placement of the ventilation hatches and the air-mix units can been seen clearly.

air-mix unit for lateral ventilation in a patato storage

Please note the spacing between the boxes (bins). This spacing (10 to 15 cm) facilitates homogeneous lateral ventilation.

Potato storage with lateral ventilation

Boxes with potatoes. Please note that this kind of storage setup is not fit for storing onions. Onions need ventilation that is forced through them.


If the walls cannot support the weight of the air-mix units, they are placed on the ground, but require a kind of chimney to force the air over the produce.

How does a storage system with lateral ventilation and air-mix units function?

A air-ix unit to mix outside and inside air in a crop storage.

An air-mix unit with its green servomotor that moves the hatches according to the instructions from the Multiserver.

The position of the hatch determines how much internal and external air is mixed. The hatch position is determined by the MULTISERVER, which gets its information from all the temperature and relative humidity sensors, and computes the correct hatch position according to the programme it is running. For instance, a programme for drying onions, or curing potatoes, etc.

The air-mix unit blows this mixed air over the produce (it is very important to maintain a free headspace of at least 1.80 m above the boxes for optimum ventilation). The air is forced down against the front wall of the storage facility and forced back between the boxes to leave through the exit hatch (again, its position is determined by the MULTISERVER), located at about 1.5 metres above the ground. As can been seen in the drawing below, the system can ventilate 100% with outside air or 100% with inside air, or any other ratio determined by the MULTISERVER.

The MULTISERVER is the computer that fully automates the internal climate conditions.

air-mix units come without heating or cooling equipment. If required, these can be installed separately, and connected to the Multiserver.

Below is a schematic drawing of the storage system, with lateral ventilation using air-mix units.

Storage system with lateral ventilation using air-mix units

To see more details regarding the major components of a storage system, like: sensors, the Multiserver (the brain of the system), boxes to be used etc., please go to: Components of a computerised storage facility.

To function optimally, this system requires:

  • A minimum of 1.8 metres of free headspace above the boxes.
  • The airflow should be disturbed as little as possible, therefore the rows of boxes should be straight and the surface of the walls should be as smooth as possible.
  • We want a smooth air-flow, not a turbulent air-flow. The distance between a smooth wall and the boxes can be about 15 cm, but if the wall has an irregular surface or there are struts, a safe 30 cm should be maintained.
  • Maintain between 10 to 15 cm of free space between the boxes.
  • The maximum length of the rows of boxes should not exceed 24 boxes.
  • The produce should enter the storage facility dry, this system is not suitable for drying produce.
Lateral ventilation with air-mix-units

Please have a look at our Floor Plan Tool for box storage, and optimise your storage dimensions within minutes.

Advantages of this storage system.

  • Requires very little maintenance.
  • Very low energy consumption.
  • Low investment.
  • Also suitable for storing bagged produce.
  • Very easy to add a cooling or heating system if required in the future.

Disadvantages of this storage system.

  • If the installation doesn't have a cooling or a heating system, the internal conditions are very dependent on the local weather conditions.
  • This system cannot dry onions, and for other crops like potatoes, an extra cooling and humidification system should be added.

This very simple system uses the outside air temperature, relative humidity, and the temperature differences between day time and night time, to control the indoor climate conditions in a limited way.

For complete climate control, the following equipment should be added: a) heaters, b) coolers and (if necessary) c) a humidification system

Without this extra equipment, this system is only fit for limited storage. However, the system is easily expanded by adding, at a later date, a cooling system, heaters or a humidification system.

To mechanise your post harvest processes:
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