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Reveals 7 Secrets Refrigerated Trailer Insiders Don’t Want You To Know
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- What type of trailer structure should I buy.Steel & Aluminum have been the industry standard for decades and that has not changed today. Today’s refrigerated transport vehicles are lighter and stronger than its predecessors but still use steel and aluminum for strength and durability.
The keyword in the first sentence is structure. You don’t see 48′ tractor trailers made from fiberglass, camlock coolers or other homemade materials built on top of a trailer. These alternatives offer no structural support and are dangerous.
Shopping for a portable refrigerated trailer is not rocket science but it does require some common sense. You don’t need an engineering degree from MIT to realize that most things in life are designed for a specific purpose. For example a stand alone walk in cooler that snaps together quickly and easily on a slab floor, should not be a candidate for strapping to a flat bed trailer and traveling down the road.
These products and others like them offer no structural support to handle the rigors of the road going side to side and up and down the rough road.
A sturdy built trailer was designed for that very purpose
We encourage you to check with your local D.O.T. And bet that you will find several of these kits are not only in violation and can cost you a fine but can also lead to injury of others while going down the road. Ultimately it’s your liability at stake why risk it.
- What type of door construction should I look for.
This is easy for us because our trailers are built specifically to be refrigerated trailers so our rear doors are steel tubed framed with aluminum skin outside. This also makes it easy for us to insulate properly.
There is a clasp in the center to allow for a lock just in case theft has made its way to your town.
Others that just convert a trailer off the lot will have plywood rear doors with aluminum skin over them. Once the moisture gets to that wood it won’t take long for the mold and mildew to set in. They usually have wood in their walls also. Be sure to ask about this one its crucial.
- What type of floor should I look for.
Once again our trailers are built specifically to be refrigerated trailers so we build a sub-floor meaning that all of our insulation is below the floor giving you more room above for your cargo and we put an aluminum skin underneath so the foam does not get knocked off when you pass over a speed bump.
Other floors that are built up inside the trailer will form high spots and low spots over time from stepping on top of the foam instead of it being below the floor. We see this happen even if the foam has diamond plate over it.
- What kind of foam should I use.
A good quality polyurethane closed cell foam like the one we use, has twice the R-value per square inch as polystyrene or styrofoam. We use a blend that gets us almost R-8 value per inch while polystyrene is R-4 per inch.
What all that jibberish simply means is that the higher the R-value per inch the less room you take up in trailer insulating it and have more room for cargo and quicker cool down and recovery times on your refrigeration unit also saving on electricity and or fuel cost if using a generator.
Try to stay with closed cell over open cell polyurethane it is more dense and provides better insulating features. With styrofoam you take up twice the room in trailer to provide same R-value and lose valuable cargo space and also need more cooling capacity to keep up with hot temps in summer.
This is where we take advantage of some great technologies available out there today that was not available years ago. We are the only one that I know of that utilize some of the same technology that is used at NASA.
Old school thinking in this industry is that if a box had three inches of insulation it must be a cooler. If it had four inches of insulation it was a freezer. We can get better and faster cool down times with less insulation than almost anyone out there today. You can imagine how tough our four inch insulated boxes are.
A secret up our sleeve is a special coating we use to seal our trailers inside and provide a better thermal shield. Simply put strength and durability combined with quick cool down and recovery times.
- Power Requirements
Look for something that is easy to plug in or power anywhere you go whether you are using a generator or not. You are almost guaranteed a 110 volt outlet wherever you travel to.
The deciding factor is what temperature your product needs to stay at and how many times will you be opening and closing the doors going in and out of trailer to get product. Most of the time 15- 40 degrees fahrenheit will do the job and is a candidate for our 110 volt trailers.
Some products like ice cream and certain frozen meats need to stay below 0- minus 20 degrees. In that case we recommend a 220 volt system that can handle the job.
We specialize in both but our 110 volt unit is capable of handling beverages and flowers one day, ice and other frozen products the next day. Our system is simple to find power for any 15 amp 110 volt outlet will do the job.
Other units on the market that we have seen struggle to accomplish this feat and most require either 25 amp outlet (hard to find) or have to use a generator at all times. We prefer to give you the choice.
We have extended the tongue of our trailer and provide steel cross- members just in case you want to mount a generator directly to the trailer for usage on the road or in transit.
- Hot Gas Defrost
This is the most overlooked piece of the puzzle. Most people shopping for refrigeration equipment are unaware that they need a unit that defrost itself even if they are only looking for a cooler and not a freezer.This is another area other companies cut corners on equipment cost and don’t tell you that their unit does not have defrost capable. Let me save you the money and aggravation you will have on lost product. Always ask what type of defrost does your unit have and if the answer is none then keep shopping.
I really want to stress this point because it’s that important. Even if you are using your refrigerated trailer as a cooler at 35-40 temperature fahrenheit, in order to maintain that temperature your evaporator coil has to stay 12-15 degrees cooler than that or around 20 degrees fahrenheit.
Well let me take you back to your science class that taught you what happens to water at that magical number 32 degrees. It changes from a liquid to solid or ice.
It may take 12 hours or 24 hours for this to take place but it is a scientific fact it is going to happen. Now the question becomes how am I going to remove this ice so I don’t lose my product.
You have options in this matter. The bury your head in the sand and hope for the best guys will tell you to just unplug your unit until it thaws out. Obviously they did not write the check for the product you have in the trailer.
The next step up is electric heat strips on the backside of evaporator coil. This is better than the above option but electric heat strips take longer, require more power and only thaw the area where the heat strips are.
The most effective and fast way is hot gas defrost. Without getting too technical on this matter your system uses the heat it has generated from the compressor and distributes it across the back of your evaporator coil evenly and efficiently and between 2-5 minutes your coil is fresh again.
We use hot gas defrost exclusively on all of our equipment. Make no bones about it, it cost more money for this type of equipment but we feel your product is worth it.
- What type of refrigeration unit should I get.
There are a lot of choices out there but we feel like the best bang for your dollar is with standard refrigeration. Some folks still use refrigeration that is installed on larger trucks and reefer trailers and pay an arm and a leg for it.Our thought process has been this:
Provide a unit that will do what you need it do. Be cost effective to maintain and cost effective to repair. Simple.
We also modify all of our systems for transportation with special high pressure hose to connect the evaporator coil to the condenser coil. This allows the unit to handle the side to side and up and down motion the road provides. (It’s not cheap but your product is worth it)
We learned our lesson from the big boys on this one. Copper is a soft metal that will twist and break easily. Besides, you won’t find any copper lines connecting the units on big transport rigs and you won’t find it on our trailers either.
Hopefully these tips will serve you well and remember that if you have any questions at all, feel free to contact me.