Carrier Transicold celebrates milestones in 2015, promotes reefer unit efficiency

June 15, 2015

Carrier Transicold is celebrating a double anniversary this year: 75 years of Carrier road transport refrigeration innovation and the 45th anniversary of the Carrier Transicold business. At the same time, the company is highlighting the energy efficiency of its transport refrigeration units.

The Carrier Transicold brand was formed in 1970, when Carrier acquired the California-based transport refrigeration equipment maker Transicold Co and combined it with its Special Products Division, which had experience in trucking applications extending back to 1940. The business was responsible for all types of transport refrigeration, including ocean-going container refrigeration that it had pioneered in 1968.

“Carrier’s history encompasses more than a century of innovation in air-conditioning and refrigeration, and pioneering achievements in truck and trailer refrigeration have been an integral part of this story,” says David Appel, president, Carrier Transicold & Refrigeration Systems. “Now in our 75th year of providing products for road transport refrigeration, we continue to drive the industry forward with high-performance, environmentally sustainable refrigeration solutions.”

Carrier’s first foray into truck refrigeration in 1940 included the application of its model 7K refrigeration compressors in early systems. Although food haulers had experimented with mechanical refrigeration since the 1920s, most transport refrigeration methods by 1940 still used ice/salt or dry-ice/gravity flow refrigeration systems.

Initial success with the 7K compressor led to development of a complete truck refrigeration system for trucks and trailers, Carrier’s Type 68D unit. Available in two sizes, the Type 68D used a four-cylinder gasoline engine coupled to a high-speed compressor. The relatively compact and adjustment-free unit had minimal moving parts, making it durable enough for rough conditions encountered by refrigerated trucks with bodies ranging up to 35 feet long. The logistical improvement eliminated the need for haulers to replenish ice and assured more uniform temperature control over greater distances, helping to pave the way for long-haul refrigerated trucking.

Streamlined designs with minimal moving parts remain hallmarks of Carrier Transicold systems, as demonstrated by Vector trailer units, featuring E-Drive, all-electric refrigeration technology and Carrier’s X4 series of mechanical trailer units. In contrast to those early systems, today’s transport refrigeration units provide cooling power to haul perishable and frozen loads in 53-foot trailers, intermodal containers, and railcars ranging up to 72 feet in interior length. Recent innovations from Carrier Transicold, driven by Tier 4 engine emissions regulations, have further improved fuel economy and reduced carbon emissions.

Carrier Transicold’s operations have expanded worldwide, with manufacturing facilities in Athens, Georgia; Rouen, France; Singapore; and Shanghai, China. The company plays a growing role as a critical link in enhancing efficiency of the cold chain, ensuring that perishables such as food and pharmaceuticals reach consumers in developed and developing nations.

Energy-efficient container refrigeration systems introduced by Carrier Transicold in recent years are playing a vital role in helping the marine shipping industry strengthen its environmental profile.

Carrier Transicold, which in 2014 celebrated production of its one-millionth container refrigeration system, reports that total global sales of its PrimeLINE unit, introduced in 2007, has topped 250,000 units. Compared with prior models, the PrimeLINE unit is significantly more efficient, which reduces shipboard electricity demand and emissions related to power generation. This results in a 28% reduction of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.

“Over their projected life, our PrimeLINE systems account for a savings of more than 12 million tons of carbon dioxide—the same as removing 200,000 cars from the road,” Appel says. “Our environmentally sustainable portfolio of container refrigeration equipment can help shipping lines reduce their carbon emissions.”

To this end, Carrier Transicold’s recently introduced NaturaLINE unit has a similar energy profile to the PrimeLINE unit, but uses the natural refrigerant CO2 instead of a synthetic refrigerant. CO2 has a global warming potential (GWP) of one compared with R-134a, which is used in most other container refrigeration systems and has a GWP of 1,430; and R-404A, which has a GWP of 3,922 and is used in a smaller share of container systems.

“By offering an energy-efficient system using a natural refrigerant that delivers high refrigeration capacities, we provide the shipping industry with a viable hedge against procurement challenges or cost increases related to phase-outs of higher GWP synthetic refrigerants, which have been targeted by multiple governments and environmental agencies for a variety of applications,” he says.

The PrimeLINE and NaturaLINE units are also the first and only container refrigeration systems to achieve validation by UL Environment for recyclability—93% for the PrimeLINE unit and 95% for the NaturaLINE unit.     ♦

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