After six years of success with its X-series of single temperature refrigeration units, a major upgrade of the Phoenix series released earlier, Carrier Transicold has given refrigeration systems for truckload applications an entire new look as well as a number of improved performance characteristics. The new series of Niagara single-temp refrigeration systems was introduced June 15, 2006, at the 2006 Truck Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The new series of units look different; they sound different; and, in many ways, they perform different, says Mike Murdock, product manager — trailer products. “Without losing one iota of the current X-series' benefits and reliability, the new units feature improved aesthetics, superior serviceability, and much better sound quality,” he says.
Technical issues aside, the new unit series should make the relationship between various units easier to understand for Carrier Transicold dealers and their customers, Murdock says. The differences between the Ultima XTC, Ultra XTC, Ultra XT, and Extra XT were always a little fuzzy with customers not always sure which unit provided higher performance than any of the others, he said. Now the entire single-temp truckload product line is served by a single group of units with the same basic name followed by model numbers that relate to the Btu/hr capacity of the systems at deep-frozen temperature. With this new naming convention, the Niagara 2500A now occupies the space previously held by the Ultima XTC; the Niagara 2100A goes in the Ultra XTC slot; the Niagara 2100 fills the Ultra XT spot; and the Niagara 1800 takes the place of the Extra XT.
By early 2007, any remaining confusion about where a unit fits in the product line will disappear as the Niagara series completely replaces the X-series. The new Niagara series units are currently in limited production alongside the X-series so that Carrier Transicold can fill large orders already being built with 100% of one series or the other rather than shipping orders that contain some X-series and some Niagara units, Murdock says. Full Niagara production is scheduled for late 2006.
In addition to being easier to understand, the Niagara series is easier to service, Murdock says. Hinged side doors open all the way to the top, giving technicians improved access to unit components. Front panels open from the center with a single latch. Controls are easier to read as well, because the control box is larger and tilts the display downward to reduce glare and improve users' view of it. Other serviceability changes include a pressurized coolant system for the engine and an improved air cleaner.
The new doors and front panels are part of a major exterior redesign, giving the Niagara series an appearance unlike anything Carrier Transicold has ever offered. Somewhat futuristic, almost robotic from the front with the white side doors rather resembling arms below black shoulders of the grille, panels are molded from DuraShell 2, a thermoplastic olefin composite that is considerably more rugged than the ABS plastic panels used on the X-series. Carrier Transicold says that the new material has triple the impact strength, double the resistance to UV radiation, 50% better thermal stability, and 20% more resistance to heat than previous skin material. One reason for changing skin material is to protect units from the increased heat rejection expected to occur with new tractor engines designed to meet the 2007 emission standards. Not only does Carrier Transicold expect tractor engines to put out more exhaust heat, the company believes much of that heat can become trapped behind more aerodynamic fairings as fleets attempt to reduce drag in a search for higher fuel economy, Murdock says.
Fleets seeking to differentiate the appearance of their units can do so. A chrome appearance package will be offered as an option.
The new skins do more than just look good, Murdock says. They also change the way the unit sounds when running. Skin panels are made with twin-sheet construction and have acoustic foam on the interior surfaces as well as integral door seals. A refinement of the gearbox previously used in the X-series runs quieter than its predecessor, and openings in the condenser grille are wider for lower resistance to air flowing through it, changing the way it sounds. For additional sound control, Niagara units can be ordered with an optional composite bottom panel to help contain unit sound. “The result of these changes is not that the units are quieter in an absolute sense, but the sound they produce is not as harsh as that from previous units,” he says. “We have changed the perception of how the units sound.”
Internally, the Niagara series is much like the X-series. They use the same 2.2-liter direct-injection Kubota engine and six-cylinder compressor, proven in earlier units. On average, the engine runs at 15% lower rpm and still moves more refrigerant through the compressor. Additional fuel economy is available with TurboAir and UltraFresh air and temperature management systems that allow the units to run less for the same temperature control.
The Niagara 2500A and Niagara 2100A are equipped with Carrier Transicold's Advance microprocessor control system. The programmable IntelliSet option in the control system along with an electronic stepper valve provides increased fuel economy for the two units. Carrier Transicold's ProductShield temperature monitoring capability helps fine-tune unit operation and performance.