Cool Trailer Trends

Pending 2013 regulations and more on the list.

Pending changes to rules and regulations that will affect refrigerated trailers are among several key items that the industry is currently watching.

Specifically, on January 1, 2013 new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations on compliant engine solutions will come into force. This is the compliance date for the Tier IV standards, which requires that emissions of particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) be reduced by approximately 90 percent.

But, how will this impact the industry?

“Our Tier IV compliant units are going to consume significantly less fuel, operate quieter, and deliver better performance all while running cleaner than anything that we’ve offered before,” says Dave Kiefer, director of marketing and product management of Carrier Transicold, Athens, Georgia.

Meanwhile, another trend in the transportation industry has been an increasing demand for fuel savings. Food and beverage customers have been requesting side skirts in order to decrease the drag of the trailer.

According to Adriano Melluzzo, group director of industry sales, fleet management solutions for Miami-based Ryder System Inc., side skirts can create fuel savings from between 5 to 8 percent. Utilizing electric standby units is another way food and beverage customers are looking to save on fuel.


Temperature controls and monitoring

Many truck companies provide customers with the ability to monitor the temperature inside of the trailer, resulting in better monitoring and visibility. One example of a temperature monitoring program is PLM’s Cold-Link service. This allows a customer to see what’s going on inside of the trailer remotely. A customer can also view historical data about the freight and ascertain more information about the shipment’s condition.

Thermo Kings’ OptiSet Plus is an advanced monitoring system that enables a customer to easily customize a specific temperature for their trailers. Using OptiSet Plus, customers can select either a named profile, product (e.g. strawberries), or a specific temperature, says Tom Kampf, product manager for Bloomington, Minnesota-based Thermo King.

Mayo Rude, vice president of sales and marketing for Johnson Refrigeration, Rice Lake, Wisconsin, believes that,“The cheapest form of refrigeration is good insulation and a well made body.”

One way a company can decrease the amount of heat transfer is by utilizing Johnson Refrigeration’s Arctic Therm Liner, which is a seamless fiberglass interior liner designed for superior insulation. This seamless liner prevents any possible gaps and as a result there is a high level of thermal efficiency.

In conjunction with good trailer insulation, interior curtains are a low-cost way to maintain and control temperature. Interior curtains, while not new to the industry, are becoming increasingly popular, in part because they are a relatively affordable investment.


2013 Regulations and CARB

January 1, 2013 marks the start of the new EPA regulations on engines. This will impact transport refrigeration unit (TRU) diesel engines, which will need to be compliant with the new emission standards.

TRU engine manufacturers will need to utilize emission control technologies, which are similar to the technologies used in standard truck engines. In addition to this new federal regulation are those from the California Air Resource Board (CARB), which introduced emission regulations that require the trucking industry to become more fuel-efficient and limit the weight of their loads.

These regulations, combined with rising diesel prices and an ongoing interest to operate more sustainably, have helped drive interest in electric standby units.


Sustainable alternatives

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, approximately 650,000 long-haul heavy-duty trucks idle during rest stops.

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