Refrigerated vehicles are being used more and more as the cold chain continues to expand. These vehicles are crucial to the operation of many different businesses from pharmaceuticals through to flowers and meat through to chilled food, there are many industries who rely on the correct functioning of refrigerated vehicles to distribute goods safely to customers. These vehicles use advanced technology to maintain the highest levels of accuracy.
Refrigeration in temperature-controlled vehicles functions in a similar way to your refrigerator at home. They absorb heat in an insulated, airtight compartment and then dissipate this heat as required outside of this compartment. Insulation materials that are used for the refrigerator are one of the most important elements of the unit. The quality of the insulation in refrigerated vehicles is very important because vehicles are often exposed to outdoor conditions for long periods of time, sometimes in direct sunlight, or in operation on hot roads, propelled by heat-generating engines.
Most vehicle insulation will feature polymer foam which contains millions of air bubbles. This will reduce the absorption of heat. The better quality the insulation, the more heat you can keep out.
There are several components to the refrigeration unit, and these include:
- Condenser:A coil stored within a collection of fins and tubes similar to a car radiator. The fan will pass air over the condenser coil which is filled with refrigerated tubes. The liquid refrigerant then passes to an evaporator.
- Evaporator:An evaporator coil which moves the refrigerant into coil tubes where it evaporates at very low temperatures. The heat will be absorbed, and fans will circulate air over the coils into the load space which reduces the internal temperature.
- Compressor:The pump in the system which moves the low-pressure refrigerant from the evaporator, compressing it into a high-pressure gas and moves it to the condenser to begin the entire process again.
Every element of the refrigerated vehicle works in harmony to maintain a consistent temperature and the driver can monitor the internal temperature from the cab using advanced technology. This will include a series of sensors with a wired or wireless tracking system. Temperatures and humidity levels can be pre-set, and real-time alerts triggered if the temperature falls into the danger zone, allowing immediate remedial action to be taken so temperature-controlled goods do not spoil. Real-time and historical data will offer customers peace of mind that their products are being transported properly and there is an accurate audit trail throughout the journey.