Right size, right temperature

At times, even the smallest conventional refrigerated straight truck is too large. Then the need arises for something that is just right, capable of carrying a small but reasonable amount of cargo, keeping it cold at the same time. Many distributors look for a compact or full-sized cargo van to fill that slot in their delivery systems.

Carrying the cargo is easy; keeping it cold takes a little more trouble, because vans are designed for cargo or passengers and are fairly difficult to insulate. Users have a few options. They can place cargo inside insulated containers or they can have insulation and refrigeration systems installed. Only a few vendors produce insulation packages designed to fit inside vans.

Polycoat Systems in Las Vegas, Nevada, provides an alternative solution. It fabricates custom-fitted insulation and refrigeration installations for vans and 12-ft utility trailers. The most popular vehicle for this custom package in the Las Vegas market is the Chevrolet G-3500 extended cargo van, says Larry Breen, owner of Polycoat. The larger Dodge Sprinter vans are beginning to attract attention, because they are tall enough for a driver to stand up in the cargo compartment, he says.

Installing an insulation package in a van is a five-step process, Breen says. The first step is to install a wooden frame inside the cargo compartment to provide support for the insulation. Most of the frame components can be cut to size and shape before installation begins. However, some of the pieces that fit around the rear doors need some massaging at times, he says. The second step is to spray polyurethane foam inside the van to cover the frame. When the foam has cured, it is cut back to a uniform thickness.

With the frame and foam in place, seamless fiberglass reinforced plastic liner panels are stapled to the frame. The staples are spackled followed by a two-part epoxy primer coating about one-sixteenth inch thick. Finally, the entire inner surface is covered twice with a polymer coating producing a seamless interior over a minimum of three inches of insulation.

As the insulation is installed, Polycoat makes provision for refrigeration plumbing by enclosing plastic conduit for the tubing and wiring in the walls. This eliminates the need to cut holes in the insulation at the time of refrigeration installation. Breen says his recommendation for refrigeration in the Las Vegas climate would be the new Carrier Transicold 35X truck engine-driven refrigeration system with a ceiling mounted evaporator and a roof mounted condenser. The Thermo King V300 fits most of the same applications, he says.

Custom installation gives customers considerable flexibility. One Las Vegas hotel chain insulated the back half of a 15-passenger van so that it could transport workers as well as floral products to its properties. For more information, contact Polycoat Systems Inc, Las Vegas, Nevada.

TAGS: Equipment
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