Today's reefer operators are looking for improvements in the performance and reliability of refrigeration units, as higher fuel and truck operating costs continue to put pressure on their bottom lines.
Carrier Transicold says that while its customers are concerned with the cost of maintaining equipment, even more important to them are the expenses associated with disruption of service and delivery schedules when a refrigeration unit fails, including the cost of a lost refrigerated load.
Ignacio Aguerrevere, director of marketing and product development for Carrier Truck and Trailer refrigeration, says, “sound and emissions reduction are also more relevant now as refrigerated trucks are doing more deliveries in residential areas throughout the day, increasing the need for low sound operation. On the emissions side, EPA and CARB (California Air Resource Board) have upcoming deadlines for compliance with more stringent levels to reduce reefer emissions.”
To address many of these issues, Carrier has introduced a complete line of single-temperature trailer refrigeration units called the X2 Series. X2 models, which are based on the proven reliability of their predecessors, X Series, have been built to be quieter in operation, easier to service and more attractive in design, Aguerrevere explains. A new door material also increases heat resistance, making the units more compatible with the hotter 2007 truck engines. An optional chrome package offers increased aesthetic appeal.
In addition, Carrier has completely revamped its straight-truck diesel refrigeration Supra Units in the last 17 months. These models now also feature lower sound levels, improved serviceability and a more modern look.
Another industry trend Aguerrevere points to is a growing interest among fleets in remote monitoring and control of refrigeration units via a web browser. In late 2006, Carrier introduced DataTrak, a “software option that allows Carrier trailer and truck refrigeration units built since 1996 to interface with remote communications solutions from several vendors.”
The list of telematics providers offering services compatible with Carrier's DataTrak protocol has been steadily growing and now includes Qualcomm, Terion, StarTrak, PAR Logistics, Satamatics, and InterLink. “New and lower cost communications technologies are driving this trend,” says Aguerrevere.
For better temperature control, Carrier also offers fleets a software option called Product Shield. “Users specify when the unit runs on continuous [operation] or [when it runs] on start/stop, based on ambient temperature.” Product Shield is available for trailer refrigeration units equipped with Carrier's Advance controller.
Thermo King Corp. recently launched the SPECTRUM SB multi-temperature system with SmartReefer2 (SR-2) controller for trailers. The unit, Thermo King explains, achieves temperature balance in up to three different zones, with various configuration possibilities. The SPECTRUM-3 remote reefer evaporator allows each temperature zone to function like an individual trailer.
In addition, the unit's SR-2 controller features an enlarged display screen so fleets can easily view cargo temps and system set point values. Optional rear remote control and electronic door switches are available. Hybrid model 50 units feature electric-to-diesel switching capabilities. All SB models come standard with Thermo King's Whisper quiet technology and feature biodiesel-compatible engines.
For straight trucks, Thermo King offers the MD-100 line of refrigeration units. Introduced in May 2006, MD-100 models have a sleek, stylish look, according to the company, and are designed to reduce fuel and maintenance costs through improved performance features like the TK 370 three-cylinder liquid-cooled diesel engine. Thermo King notes that the TK 370 meets all EPA requirements, and the unit's low-decibel sound reduction system allows for quieter operation.
Thermo King says it also offers a variety of options to help fleets comply with new California Air Resources Board (CARB) regulations that go into effect December 31, 2008, covering model-year 2001 and older transport refrigeration units. These include the LETRU-Compliant Level 2 diesel particulate filter, as well as Tier II retrofit engine kits.
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