Effective loading significantly improves airflow throughout the trailer. These configurations are best for palletized products, which should be placed away from walls and doors so air can flow freely around the load. The air acts as an insulator to protect pallets from hot or cold conditions outside the trailer and to maintain the set temperature inside.
3. Understand the Impact of “Off Time” in Start/Stop Operation. A unit in start/stop operation can significantly impact overall temperature variations within the trailer. Fleets benefit from understanding when to run continuous or start/stop mode based on the type of cargo in transport.
Carriers generally run a start/stop operation when transporting frozen products because frozen cargo isn’t as sensitive to temperature variations. Frozen cargo tolerates mild temperature variations of a few degrees without risk of spoilage. However, with temperature-sensitive fresh products, the temperature variations from the front to the back of the trailer can be significant. Small changes in the restart temperature could mean wild fluctuations in the actual trailer temperature, leading to cargo degradation and shorter shelf life.
4. Achieve Quality Assurance with Telematics. With telematics solutions, fleets open a window into their real-time operations and have critical visibility for temperature-sensitive cargo and equipment. In the past, drivers were alerted to alarm codes when they viewed a flashing remote status light on the side of the truck from their side mirror. This practice took driver’s eyes off the road and only alerted drivers to low fuel, temperature status or if an alarm was triggered, but not the nature of the alarm. Drivers would then have to pull over to the side of the road and look at the Human Machine Interface (HMI) to investigate further.
Today, telematics automates sensors and alarms to notify drivers and fleet managers of a potential problem before spoilage occurs. Drivers and fleet managers receive notifications straight to their smartphones with Bluetooth systems or via an app that makes equipment monitoring and remote diagnostics easier and more accessible. With state-of-the-art telematics solutions, fleets monitor cargo integrity, improve fleet uptime, and manage fleet operating and maintenance costs more effectively.
Telematics programs send instant notifications of problems within the unit so fleet managers can diagnose the issue and formulate a solution without disrupting the cargo temperature. Real-time remote monitoring mitigates potential issues like compromised load integrity or disrupted delivery schedules before they occur. Fleets improve uptime and drivers can keep their eyes on the road.
Integrating telematics is a process of continuous improvement. Fleets that are just beginning to utilize telematics typically start by installing door switches to ensure the unit turns off during deliveries, while fleets that take an all-inclusive approach to telematics implement driver training, change loading practices, adjust pre-cooling procedures, and more.
Kampf is the product manager for trailer and rail refrigeration units at Thermo King. Reach him at Tom_Kampf@irco.com.