3 TECHNIQUES TO REDUCE REFRIGERATED TRUCKS FUEL CONSUMPTION
Transporting temperature sensitive goods is much different than hauling normal goods. There is a lot of the variable’s such type of goods to be hauled, the temperature of the goods, container type, refrigeration type etc.
Here is a list of few things that can affect the fuel efficiency of refrigerated trucks
• Size and weight of the trailer used
• Type of food is transported
• The current type of thermal insulation in the container and what is the fuel/Thermos performance cost of the insulation (TRU)?
• Refrigeration expense — no. Of unit run hours plus fuel cost
If truck owner’s do not take these into consideration, they may be losing money on fuel consumption on every single trip that can drastically affect their ROI.
We have complied a list of 3 techniques that can help you reduce fuel consumption and increase your ROI
1. Maintenance of Refrigerated Containers:
Maintaining the truck’s interior insulation by removing any water clogged between the insulation cavities is very important. Water clogged between insulation materials can cause degradation of insulation materials, making them ineffective against temperature loss. Water clogging also causes corrosion to the container’s interior wall, making the trailer lose its air sealing capability. Thus, increasing the refrigeration units run time to maintain the temperature and effectively increasing fuel consumption.
So, it is very important to train employee’s on how to clean the interior of refrigerated trucks using high-pressure cleaners.
Also, a routine maintenance check should be done once in every 6-months on the insulated wall. This can be done by checking the Minimum Cooling Time (MCT) required to attain a certain temperature and correlate it with fuel consumption. Any drastic changes in the fuel consumption or cooling time can be probed more to check if there is a problem with insulation.
2. Type of Goods hauled:
Any refrigerated trailer loses its insulation by 3–5% every year. This causes the refrigeration unit to run more hours to keep the goods at the right temperature. Owners need to be smart on what type of goods can be hauled based on the trailers age.
Temperature and life span cycle of refrigerated trucks:
Trucks Life Span Temperature Type of Goods
0–3 years -20F to -0F Deep Freeze Food Products
3–7 years -0F to 10F Frozen and Produce
Packaging and how the goods are arranged inside the trailer plays a vital role in fuel consumption. Frozen foods should be packed well in pallet boxes and neatly arranged not blocking the interior air circulation or vents. In the case of long trailer, the trailer can be separated into two compartments using thin liner sheets. Frozen foods can be kept in a compartment closest to the refrigeration unit and chilled food in a compartment further away from the unit. This type of smart planning can help owners to better utilize trailer space and reduce operational cost.
Undercoating the trailer, hot-dipped galvanizing and using stainless steel on the exterior walls can also help owners extend the refrigerated trailer’s life.
3. Insulation and Trailer Type:
Insulation is the major cause for fuel consumption on refrigerated trucks.
Insulation type — What type of insulation material is used — foam interior, thermoplastic interior, plywood exterior etc.
For e.g. A thermoplastic insulation will not have any interior sideliners and thus eliminates the possibility of water clogging and corrosion. Using a SolarGuard roof on the exterior can reduce the amount of UV rays absorbed by the trailer roof and prevents the roof from heating up. Truck owners may need to invest more on these extra features initially, but it will save them more on the long-run on maintenance and fuel cost.
Insulation thickness — The insulation thickness greatly impacts the fuel cost. If goods are needed to be maintained at a lower temperature throughout journey then the insulation needs to be good. More the thickness of insulation there is a better chance of keeping the goods at lower temperature for a longer time thus reducing the refrigeration units running time
Door type — The trailer door type also plays a vital role in maintaining trailers internal temperature. For e.g. Let’s say ice cream is being hauled and the truck must make multiple stops. Using a roll over door will cause the trailers interior cold air to escape and will absorb external temperature. This puts stress on the refrigeration unit and increases its run time. But, using a hinged door that can be opened half-door when making stops can reduce the loss of internal cold air and thus helping in reducing fuel cost.
Also, it is highly important to fit the door with a cut-off switch. The cut-off switch will turn off the blower every time the door is opened. Otherwise the blower will let the cold air escape and will suck in outside, hot, humid air more stress on the refrigeration unit
Truck owners must understand trucks interior temperature and fuel consumption go hand in hand. So, it is crucial to keep monitoring the refrigerated trailers internal temperature always to reduce fuel and operational cost, and to stay compliant.