Customers are driven by product quality and reliability, according to formal and informal surveys by Thermo King of fleets running refrigerated trucks and tractors. Carrier Transicold agrees, and adds good serviceability and low life-cycle costs to the list.
Before introducing its new X Series product line, Carrier says it talked with a lot of customers to find out what was important to them in refrigeration equipment. They said that getting the units serviced was the most critical factor to them, and as a result Carrier notes it has made tremendous improvements in its dealer network as far as parts availability and having trained and certified technicians on hand for 24-hour service, including mobile service trucks and quick response times.
To improve durability, reliability and overall longevity, Carrier has lowered engine rpms by 23% in the Ultra XT and XTC models, putting less stress on engines, compressors, idlers, bearings and belts.
Carrier is also helping fleets lower life-cycle costs by extending the service interval for oil and filter changes from 1-yr./2,000-hr., to 2-yr./3,000 hr. In addition, maintenance costs have been reduced through use of a long-life coolant with a change interval of 12,000 hr. Warranties on major components are now 3 yr./6,000 hr.
Getting refrigeration units with higher capacities and better overall performance is also important to end-users. To address this, Carrier put a new evaporator air management system into its products that improves airflow and air velocity, thus providing more capacity. The Ultra Fresh 3 microprocessor uses temperature control algorithms for better temperature control.
Carrier says that its units run quieter now, which will please drivers. The availability of a feature called IntelliSet will also make it easier for drivers to select temperatures. The features allows them to make selections by product name, such as ice cream, bananas, etc., so they don't have to know the set point for a given product. Improved capacities in the units have also helped reduce temperature pulldown times.
Thermo King has completely overhauled its MD and KD units. The new MD-200 (formerly the MD) and the MD-300 (formerly the KD) units were shown last month at the World Wide Food Expo in Chicago.
Improvements include making the compressors more durable and reliable by adding a deep sump that allows more oil to be added to the X214 compressor. Maintenance intervals have been extended from 750 to 2,000 hr.
The appearance of the MD model has also been improved, with a plastic front grill and curves that give it a style more in keeping with today's trucks.
The enhanced MD Series refrigeration units also feature improved control boards to make them more driver-friendly. Many of the codes and nuisance alarms that are not meaningful or necessary to drivers in their day-to-day operations have been eliminated.
From an efficiency standpoint, Thermo King says the current trend in design is to try to get data collection/management information integrated into the reefer control system. For the past three years the company has been working towards this goal and now offers a control system called the SR-2 (Smart Reefer 2). The SR-2 features an independent logger that not only enables operators to log cargo data alone, but also gives them the ability to log all operating parameters, e.g., humidity sensing and cargo monitoring, as well as service information.
The company says customers can also choose how they want to download the data from the SR-2; for example, using a wireless downloading system, a GPS remote asset monitoring system, or a physical download whereby the driver or technician would walk up to the unit and download data using a handheld device such as a PDA or laptop.
Thermo King points out that it offers a range of other telematic products to provide customers with all types of information instantaneously, including load quality or status. Track-King for example, provides complete remote monitoring, asset tracking and control of reefer temperature control systems.
A new fleet management system called Fleetwatch is also available to help Thermo King customers better manage reefer maintenance. The software automatically provides updates on any unit alarms, and tells fleets when maintenance and inspections are due. Since it's integrated into the reefer system, users can measure all types of trailer functions, including number and duration of door openings, fuel levels, and alarm occurrences. They can also customize the reporting system.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CIRCLE NUMBER ON REPLY CARD:
CARRIER TRANSICOLD 310
THERMO KING 311