Thermo King Introduces TS-series Truck Units

Feb. 1, 2000
CHANGING appearance and performance, Thermo King introduced its new TS-series truck units to the North American market on January 18. The three new units

Changing appearance and performance, Thermo King introduced its new TS-series truck units to the North American market on January 18. The three new units make use of open-drive scroll compressors for higher capacity and lower noise emissions.

The new units are the TS-200 for 16- to 20-ft trucks, the TS-300 for trucks in the 20- to 24-ft range, and the TS-500 for 24- to 28-ft trucks. These units were designed to meet all European noise standards and were previously introduced to that market in May 1999. They were first shown to Thermo King dealers on January 10 and will be available for order beginning this month for delivery beginning in April. Although originally shown in Europe, the TS-series will be manufactured at the Thermo King plant in Hastings, Nebraska.

The TS-series represents a reinvention of the wheel in terms of truck refrigeration units, says Steve Stucky, Thermo King's global director for truck products. They are the first production use of open drive for scroll compressors. Open drive turns the compressor with belts from the engine instead of an electric motor inside the compressor housing. The new design contains 83% fewer moving parts than units with conventional reciprocating compressors. "In fact, the scroll compressors have only four moving parts," he says. "This results in improved reliability, lower noise, and light weight."

60% Quieter

Lower noise is a big advantage for the new TS-series. These units are more than 60% quieter than previous units in the same capacity range. This is made possible by improving the intake and exhaust systems, by using a quieter engine and compressor, and by shrouding the entire system in noise absorbing panels. The new intake and exhaust system, especially the high capacity cyclonic dry element air filter, contributes 20% of the noise reduction. The new engine and compressor contribute 35% of the improvement, and the new sound absorbing panels of the unitcase contribute 45%.

As is the case with other Thermo King truck units, the TS-series will be built as 30-series systems with engine drive only and 50-series units with electric standby. Sales data suggests that electric standby will account for roughly 60% of TS-series deliveries.

For enhanced operation in standby mode, the electric motors used in the TS-series are about 50% larger than motors used in previous Thermo King truck units. In addition, a new two-belt drive system is designed to increase belt life by up to 500% to 6,000 to 8,000 operating hours. The belt from the engine connects to a pulley on the front of the electric standby motor. A second belt from a separate pulley connects to the compressor. This allows the diesel engine to operate at a moderate speed and still drive the compressor at 4,000 rpm. Units without electric standby use a jackshaft between the engine and compressor to support the two intermediate pulleys.

Copeland Compressor

The compressor used in the TS-series is a joint development with Copeland to produce a system with a horizontal open drive configuration. Previous scroll compressors have been in a vertical configuration with an electric drive motor in the bottom of the compressor case with the scrolls housed at the top. Thermo King is the exclusive purchaser of the two compressor models used in the TS-series.

The TS-200 and TS-300 use the Thermo King TKO 4.0-hp compressor with a displacement of four cubic inches (65 cubic centimeters). The TS-500 makes use of the TKO 6.0-hp compressor that displaces 5.98 cubic inches (98 cc). Scrolls in the two compressors are the same diameter; increased displacement is provided by making scrolls in the TKO 6.0 deeper than those in the TKO 4.0. All units in the TS-series are charged with R-404A. The new compressors can be serviced, but presently Thermo King is selling them as replacement items only.

The TS-200 and TS-300 both use the same TK 3.74 three-cylinder diesel engine from Yanmar. It displaces 45.2 cubic inches (740 cc) and holds 8.7 quarts of oil. The TS-500 is powered by the TK 3.95 three-cylinder engine with 58.2 cubic inches dis-placement (950 cc). The TK 3.95 holds 11.6 quarts of oil.

The electric standby motor for the TS-200 produces six hp. Alarger 7.2-hp motor is used in the TS-300. Electric standby power is boosted to 10 hp for the TS-500.

Heavier Than Reciprocating Units

Units in the TS-series are marginally heavier than Thermo King units with reciprocating compressors. Most of the additional weight is contained in the sound absorbing case. The basic TS-200 weighs 908 lb and 959 lb with electric standby. The TS-300 is slightly heavier at 919 lb for the 30-series unit and 970 lb for the 50-series. The TS-500-30 weighs 1,091 lb, and the TS-500-50 with electric standby tips the scales at 1,146 lb.

Although Thermo King projects that the new TS-series will account for 50% of truck unit sales, the company is not discontinuing its reciprocating compressor units. The TS-200 is designed to perform the same task as the CD Max or the MD-II; the TS-300 fits the niche for the KD-II; and the TS-500 does the same job as the RD-II. In an ironic note, the only Thermo King unit slated for replacement by the new TS-series is the XDS, the newest unit prior to the TS units and the first truck unit to use a scroll compressor.

"We will keep the MD, KD, and RD in the inventory as long as our customers show an interest in those product lines," Stucky says. "We don't believe in forcing obsolescence on our customers."

Increased Capacity

Capacity of the TS-200 is 11,000 Btu/hr at 0 degree F and 15,750 at 35 degree compared to 10,000 at 0 degree and 15,000 at 35 degree for the MD-II. The TS-300 offers 12,500 Btu/hr at 0 degree and 22,600 at 35", which is more capacity than the 12,000 Btu/hr at 0 degree and 18,000 at 35" of the KD-II. The TS-500 boosts capacity as well with 18,000 Btu/hr at 0 degree and 25,000 at 35", well above the 15,500 at 0 degree and 20,500 at 35" of the RD-II.

The new units will carry a 5% to 8% price premium compared to the MD, KD, and RD series, Stucky says. This price increase covers development costs as well as some standard features that were options on previous models. The noise abatement capability of the new units is the best example of this.

Few options will be available on the TS-series. Customers can specify door switches to shut the unit off during delivery stops. In addition, the new truck units can be equipped with Thermo King's DAS (data acquisition system) for automatic temperature and performance recording during operation.

Smart Reefer Controls

All units in the TS-series are equipped with Smart Reefer control systems. The only control on the unit case is a master switch. All other controls and displays are contained in a truck cab-mounted console that fits into the radio slot on the truck dashboard.

Thermo King projects the refrigerated straight truck market at 8,000 to 9,000 a year with additional growth potential. This will come from a more rapid replacement cycle as more straight trucks are sourced from leasing companies. A growing home delivery market also can drive growth of the straight truck market.

"Home delivery fleets represent a strong customer base for the TS-series, because they will attempt to satisfy demand for low noise during residential delivery stops," says Steve Everly, Thermo King truck products engineering manager. "We also see potential food safety concerns as a spur to growth in the refrigerated straight truck market. New regulations will push distributors that now deliver in dry vans to purchase refrigerated trucks. Many fleets that already use refrigerated trucks to distribute a wide range of products will be pushed to positive control multi-temp systems for the same reasons."

The next generation of TS-series units will offer multi-temp capability. Thermo King says multi-temps for the TS-series will be ready by the middle of 2001.

About the Author

The Refrigerated Transporter Staff

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