Anyone who has needed to ship produce, flowers, film, or medical supplies over long distances has heard of refrigerated trucks. They are a huge part of our current economy, since temperature-sensitive items would have to stay local if we didn’t have them. But how do they work, exactly? Are they just really well insulated?
There are insulated trucks, as it happens, but those are a different type than the ones used for produce. Insulated trucks have their walls and doors made of steel, laminated hardwood, plastic, or other non-porous materials that don’t conduct heat easily. They may have block foam in the walls and doors to keep the temperature as constant as possible. The rear door might have troughs to allow anything that drips to drain away. These insulated trucks are useful for living plants, produce, and many types of medical supplies. However, there is less control over how cold the truck gets as there is no attached refrigeration unit.
A refrigerated truck has walls and doors made of the same sort of materials as the insulated truck. After all, you don’t want to make the refrigeration unit to work just to lose all that cold air to the outside. The floor might have thin grooves, about 5 cm wide, built into it so that the cold air can circulate under the refrigerated items. The big difference is of course the refrigeration unit that is connected to the truck. This might be placed directly behind the driver’s cabin to allow folks to stack their items to the ceiling, but other trucks will have the refrigeration unit on the ceiling of the truck for convenience and safety.
These refrigeration units are sometimes connected to alarms and tracking systems. The tracking systems will give a detailed report of the interior temperature within the truck, and the alarm lets the driver know if the truck has gotten warmer than allowed. The driver can then return the truck to the prescribed temperature.
Here at Great Western Transportation, we have Less-Than-Load and Full-load refrigerated trucks, and many of them let you specify what temperature your products are kept at for the trip. If you would like any more information about refrigerated trucks and shipping, please contact us.