Demand for Refrigerated Trailers Remains Strong

FLEETS continue to purchase refrigerated trailers faster than manufacturers can build them despite new plants and plant expansions. Equipment suppliers, especially for bulkheads and other temperature control devices, are expanding as well.

Trailmobile has its new plant in Liberal, Kansas, up and running. The plant was formally opened on May 25, 1999. The plant can build any van trailer in the Trailmobile line, but it is primarily intended to produce 53/102 refrigerated trailers and insulated dry vans for truckload motor carriers.

Utility has the expansion of its refrigerated trailer plant in Utah ready for dedication. New trailer developments are expected when the plant begins production.

Not all news from trailer builders involves improved sales and expansion. After several years of slow sales, Stoughton Composites ceased production of its composite Revolution refrigerated van.

New Owner for Johnson Among refrigerated truck body builders, Johnson Truck Bodies of Rice Lake, Wisconsin, has a new owner. At midyear, the company sold to Carlisle Companies of Syracuse, New York. Carlisle Companies is a diversified manufacturer serving the automotive components, industrial components, and construction materials industries.

This has been a year of expansion for refrigerated trailer and truck body equipment suppliers. F/G Products of Rice Lake, Wisconsin, recently signed an agreement to license its bulkhead products for manufacture and sale in the European Community. The license is with FIT, a part of the French conglomerate AFE-C, which manufactures truck body kits, insulated panels, roll-up doors, and curtain sides for trailers.

To accommodate the expected increase in sales, F/G Products is expanding its US production capacity for the third time since the new plant was built in 1993. A new 14,000 square feet added to the recent 12,000-sq-ft expansion brings total production space to almost 65,000 square feet, more than double the original size of the plant.

Tempar Opens Sales Offices Tempar Inc is expanding as well. The company started sales and manufacturing for the European market at the beginning of the year, operating from facilities in the United Kingdom. More recently, Tempar opened a sales office for the eastern US in Nashville, Tennessee. This location puts Tempar close to major fleets and to its truck body builder customers, says Greg Boyer, president.

ROM Corporation has introduced a new bulkhead system for conventional multi-temp trailers and truck bodies that lifts to the vehicle ceiling for loading and for single temperature backhauls. It also splits in the middle and swings to the side to form a door through the bulkhead. Lifting the bulkhead, drivers are assisted by a spring-assisted counterbalance. The bulkhead is easier for drivers to handle because it can be lifted in two pieces rather than lifting a full-width partition.

The quest for higher refrigeration unit capacity continued in earnest as Thermo King formally announced its screw compressor trailer unit as the SB-III Magnum Whisper Edition. While the unit has been for sale since 1995, it has never been certified or given an introduction until March 1999. Thermo King has certified the Magnum for 46,000 Btu/hr at 35 degrees F and 38,500 Btu/hr at 0 degree.

Thermo King has a higher capacity unit, the SB-III CR that uses liquid carbon dioxide. The cryogenic unit has not succeeded in North America, but it is generating interest in Europe where food distributors are interested in its quiet operation. A multi-temp version for the UK market could result from this interest.

At the opposite end of the capacity scale, Thermo King has introduced two eutectic holdover condenser units for small straight trucks. One mounts under the truck body skirt; the other is nosemounted.

Stealth Noise Reduction Carrier Transicold has introduced noise reduction features with its Stealth options for the Ultima 53 highway trailer refrigeration unit. The Stealth options are available as two factory-installed packages and as one kit for retrofit installation in the field. The basic factory-installed Stealth option package results in a noise reduction of 4 dB(A), and the full package of factory-installed options reduces noise output 10 dB(A).

The field kit for retrofit installation offers noise reduction of 7 dB(A). All three installations share a new silenced air filter for the engine intake, a sound-blocking panel under the engine, new heavy duty door seals, and noise absorbing material in the doors. This constitutes the basic Stealth package.

The field retrofit kit adds a resonator to the air intake plumbing and a baffled grille to dissipate sound projected from the front of the unit. To reach maximum noise abatement, the full Stealth option, available only from the factory, adds more sound insulation around the engine, including a noise absorbing panel behind the engine and a panel above the engine. The top level factory option also includes a new low-noise condenser fan.

Using the Guide This is the 26th edition of our Trailer, Van Body, and Refrigeration Guide. The Trailer, Van Body, and Refrigeration Guide combined with the Power Guide published the previous month should provide comprehensive information on all the hardware a fleet may need.

The guide has been redesigned to make it quicker and easier to use. It presents a concise description of the basic products available from trailer and truck body manufacturers. A more detailed list of refrigeration unit capacities is included.

This guide is divided into five sections. Trailer and truck body descriptions are presented in alphabetical order by manufacturer. Refrigeration unit manufacturers are also presented in alphabetical order. Within the various manufacturers' listings, units are presented in order of ascending refrigeration capacity. Separate sections have been added for eutectic holdover equipment and cargo heaters. The Buyer's Guide section lists the name and address of truck and trailer suppliers.

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