Significance of Temperature-Controlled Trucks in the Food Industry
In today’s online shopping-centric world, food is shipped all across the globe. Many of these shipments involve temperature-controlled trucks to ensure that perishable goods arrive at their destinations in good shape. This is no easy task—temperatures in these trucks need to be carefully monitored and controlled during transit.
General Purpose of Refrigerated Trucks
Refrigerated trucks can be used for several reasons, such as shipping food, medicine, and other perishables, but an essential explanation is providing temperature-controlled transportation.
Refrigerated trucks are used to transport everything from food and beverages to pharmaceuticals and blood. These trucks work by maintaining a constant temperature, whether cooling or heating the car. Refrigerated trucks come in various shapes and sizes but are often used by companies that transport perishable goods.
What Makes Refrigerated Trucks Different
Most refrigerated trucks in supply chain logistics are equipped with adjustable thermostat systems, which allow the driver to raise or lower the temperature as needed while they’re on the road. The most common type of refrigerated trailer is a dry cargo box trailer with a temperature-controlled semi-trailer.
These trailers consist of an insulated box, usually made of aluminium or stainless steel, with a built-in refrigeration system, typically mounted at the front of the trailer near the cab, while a door and access ramp allow cargo to be loaded into the rear of the unit. There are many ways in which they can be attached to the cab and towed, such as in a B-train configuration, where one trailer can be attached to another through the use of a fifth wheel coupling device.
Three Main Refrigeration Units
There are three main refrigeration units typically used in refrigerated trucks: vapour compression, absorption cooling, and engine cooling.
Vapour compression is the most used refrigeration method. Vapor compression systems use mechanical energy input to drive the process. They can be air-cooled (which uses air directly from outside) or water-cooled (the most common type that uses water from rivers or lakes). The energy needed for the process is supplied by an electric motor that drives the compressor. This method is suitable for road transport applications because it can be operated on electrical power or a diesel engine drive.
Absorption cooling uses heat instead of mechanical energy input to drive the process. The operating principle behind absorption cooling is similar to that of distillation. It uses heat as its energy source and is often powered using a gas engine. The only moving parts in this system are a pump and a fan, making it very reliable.
Engine cooling is only suitable for small vehicles because it relies on the heat produced by internal combustion engines for heat rejection.
Refrigerated trucks are beneficial for transporting food and other goods that are more perishable than others. For example, it would be nearly impossible to transport meat across long distances if it was not done with a refrigerated truck or trailer. Any delay in the shipment could cause a risk for contamination or spoilage and have devastating effects on consumers and retail food distributor businesses alike.
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