Thermo King, Wal-Mart team up for energy efficiency

Aug. 22, 2007
When Wal-Mart wanted a three-zone, multi-temperature reefer unit for trailers with a 30-foot frozen compartment in the middle, it came to Thermo King, and, after much development and testing, the Spectrum SB was born.

When Wal-Mart wanted a three-zone, multi-temperature reefer unit for trailers with a 30-foot frozen compartment in the middle, it came to Thermo King, and, after much development and testing, the Spectrum SB was born. Today, every one of Wal-Mart’s fleet of approximately 6,000 refrigerated trailers is equipped with a Spectrum.

Thermo King’s TriPac system also came about as a way for Wal-Mart to address a specific need. The company liked the efficiency of the Espar cab heaters it was using, but wanted air-conditioning as well. Wal-Mart played a key role in the testing of the TriPac system.

Thermo King’s Spectrum SB with the SmartReefer2 (SR-2) controller provides Wal-Mart with environmentally friendly features. This unit is available with electric standby, which lets it use electricity during loading and stationary operation, reducing fuel consumption, diesel emissions, maintenance, and noise. The hybrid Model 50 units offer electric-to-diesel-switching as a standard feature, and all models have biodiesel-compatible engines. Another environmental edge provided by the Spectrum SB is the TK486V engine, which meets EPA Tier 4 emission requirements, exceeds current Tier 2 requirements, and meets all EPA requirements through 2012.

The Spectrum SB also offers the EMI-3000 Extended Maintenance Interval, which allows for 3,000 hours between scheduled maintenances. Maintenance costs are also reduced up to 45 percent.

The hybrid TriPac system provides heating, cooling, and power to the truck cab while charging the battery, all without needing to run the engine. The fuel savings and reduction in emissions with the TriPac system was so significant that Wal-Mart retrofitted its entire fleet of 7,000 tractors with APUs.

Since California may soon require plugging in at loading docks, Wal-Mart has begun testing of the Spectrum SB 50, the multi-temp hybrid unit that meets the proposed legislation. Wal-Mart is also providing Thermo King with tractors and trailers to help test future technologies, such as a high-capacity, alternative APU system. Thermo King’s newly expanded Frederick McKinley Jones Research and Development Center provides a laboratory for testing and development of technologies, and Thermo King is ready to deliver them.

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