Idle Free APU now offering option to tap into reefer power

Idle Free APU now offering option to tap into reefer power

LOUISVILLE. Phillips & Temro may not be a name many people know, but the chances are good that you may use one of their products. The company, based in Eden Prairie, MN, is known for making engine block heaters. A little over two years ago the company went on a buying spree, picking up fuel and hydraulic warming manufacturer Arctic Fox and shortly thereafter purchased Idle Free, a maker of auxiliary power units (APU).

At the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville this week, Phillips & Temro was displaying its Idle Free products and touting the uniqueness of the unit.

“An electric APU is what we feel is the future,” said Greg Stattine, national fleet manager. “We have four different models” to fit fleet needs.

One of the key attributes of the Idle Free system, said Robert Jordan, product specialist and inventor of the system, is its flexibility.

“When we talk to a customer, it’s really all about the frame and what space they have available on the frame,” Jordan said. “If there is room on the truck, we will sell them a system that has everything in one enclosure.”

But, if that is not the case, the Idle Free system is designed to flexible in where components of it are placed. “Phillips & Temro is more an engineering firm that engineers products that work for [the customer],” Jordan said.

For instance, Jordan said that the Series 4000 unit can be installed under the steps some trucks have along the frame, taking no additional space.

Each unit comes with shorepower capabilities, a battery charger, air conditioning and a coolant heater (which can be omitted for fleets that don’t need one).

The design flexibility is really the product of Jordan’s experience. A truck driver himself who used to haul refrigerated trailers, Jordan came up with the concept in 2006. That also led him to develop the reefer link.

The reefer link is connection that allows the driver to connect the APU to a trailer’s refrigeration unit. The cable allows the APU to pull energy from the trailer’s refrigeration unit to power cab heating, cooling and electrical power.

There is also another benefit, Jordan said: to keep a refrigeration unit running when its alternator fails.

“[Truckers] have been doing this for year, they just use other ways like connecting jumper cables to the engine,” he said. Now, if a driver sees that the alternator on a refrigeration unit has failed, he can plug into the APU’s batteries to maintain the temperature of the trailer.

The standard APU solutions are the Series 1000, 2000, 3000 and 4000. The Series 1000 requires 20 in. of open frame rail space and 24 in. of clearance. The 2000, 3000 and 4000 provide optional mounting configurations, such as relocating the 4 AGM batteries elsewhere on the frame.

Each saves up to 3,000 gals. a year of diesel fuel vs. idling, the company said, and 600 gals. of fuel per year when compared to a diesel-powered APU. Run time is up to 10 hours with a 4-5 hour recharge time. Other benefits include engine pre-heating to eliminate cold starts, unlimited run time with shorepower and EPA Smartway verified.

The evaporator cools the cab to 75 deg. F in only five minutes.

The Idle Free system captures energy from the truck’s alternator and stores that energy in 4 AGM batteries, which is used for heating and cooling. The system include a 7500 BTU compressor, 17,000 BTU coolant heater, 120 volt outlet in bunk and weighs 579 lbs. with the batteries.

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