[what's new in:] Refrigeration

March 16, 2015
Technology changes help meet new food chain regs

Without question, environmental protection has been a driving force behind the latest developments in transport refrigeration. “Compliance with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tier 4 final emissions and California Air Resources Board (CARB) standards reduces our carbon footprint and generates fuel savings,” says Doug Lenz, vice president of product management and marketing at Thermo King.

“In anticipation of the European Union’s 2014 F-Gas regulation, Thermo King selected R-452A (DuPont Opteon XP44), a refrigerant that has about half the global warming potential of refrigerant currently used,” Lenz adds. “R-452A, which might be applicable in North America in the future, offers the same cooling capacity, pull-down and fuel efficiency performance as refrigerants currently in use.”

Patrick McDonald, product manager-trailer products at Carrier Transicold’s Truck, Trailer & Rail Div., says the most significant recent advance in the company’s trailer refrigeration units has been the upgrade to Tier 4-compliant models. “That not only responds to the EPA’s emissions requirements,” he states, “but does so in a way that delivers greater refrigeration capacity using less engine power and as a result, significantly lowers fuel consumption.

“Telematics can also help improve operational efficiency,” McDonald continues. “Beyond tracking asset location, telematics can enable changes to operational parameters of the refrigeration system— for example, once a unit is loaded or unloaded or exits a designated area. These systems can also help ensure units are set correctly and running properly throughout a trip. Control examples include starting the unit, selecting temperature setpoints, switching between continuous and start-stop operating modes, defrosting units, clearing alarms or running diagnostic routines.”

Over the last year, notes Lenz, Thermo King has seen more than 30% growth in the adoption and use of telematics on its refrigeration units. “The dramatic increase is the result of fleets looking at cost reduction opportunities,” he relates, “For example, fuel savings can be realized with real-time temperature monitoring and by ensuring that units aren’t running when trailers are empty.”

Thermo King enables this capability through its TracKing system, which interfaces with third-party suppliers.

Through Carrier Transicold’s DataTrak protocol, telematics providers can access unit information and data can be transmitted to a central location to monitor refrigeration unit activity and comply with a fleet’s recordkeeping requirements.

“Remote data transmission may also simplify centralized recordkeeping for hazard analysis and critical control points monitoring, and may possibly play an important role in compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act,” Carrier Transicold’s Patrick McDonald says. “Although the final rules are not expected to be published until 2016, we expect to see more data recording and tracking requirements throughout the cold chain.”

Thermo King’s latest refrigeration units for long-haul distribution operations are the Precedent Series models, including the S-600M multi-temperature unit and the S-700 single-temperature unit with shore power capabilities, as well as the S-600 and C-600 single-temperature designs. Precedent models feature the manufacturer’s new Diesel Direct Electric (DDE) architecture that utilizes a compressor directly coupled to the diesel engine and electrically driven fans and other operating components.

Carrier Transicold’s current trailer models are the hybrid Vector 8500 single-temp unit and the Vector 8600MT multi-temp unit. Additionally, the company’s X4 Series includes the 7500 and 7300 single-temp units. All are based on a suite of ecoForward technologies consisting of an engine, sensors and electronic control modules that communicate with the refrigeration unit’s control system.

Many modern refrigeration units also feature built-in electric standby capabilities that conserve fuel and eliminate noise and emissions. Included is Carrier Transicold’s E-Drive all-electric architecture for the Vector platform, and SmartPower offerings for the Thermo King Precedent Series.

Zero emissions all-electric refrigeration technology as an alternative to diesel-powered systems is offered by Johnson Refrigerated Truck Bodies (JRTB). Four models in the AE Series are included for small- and medium-size truck bodies with free-hanging cold plates and cold plate blower systems with automatic defrost.

JRTB also offers the EMX Series with cold plates and evaporator-blowers. The latest features of the systems include new condenser fans and programmable logic controller technology with a broader set of control parameters for defrost, compressor operation, and temperature management functions.

Overall, the technologies in today’s refrigerated trucks and trailers provide more than emissions compliance by also offering fleets improved performance and lower cost of operation.

For more information, visit these websites:

Carrier Transicold

Johnson Refrigerated Truck Bodies

Thermo King

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