Thermo King introduces new truck units, focuses on technology

THERMO KING used its space at the Mid-America Trucking show to introduce four new truck products, a communications tool for all Thermo King Smart Reefers, and a new entry in the SB-series of wide post trailer refrigeration units. The show was held March 21 to 23, 2002, in Louisville, Kentucky.

In its effort to offer clean, quiet refrigeration for straight truck applications in urban settings, Thermo King introduced two units that make use of cryogenic liquids for refrigerant. Cryogenic units do not rely solely on diesel fuel and, so, have lower exhaust emission levels, says Jay Seshadri, Thermo King's vice-president of emerging technologies. Fleets in Europe have been using cryogenic trailer units for four years. “We recently expanded the cryogenic unit line to include two truck units, the ST-CR 300 and a CO2 hybrid unit,” he says.

Both units allow multi-stop delivery while maintaining consistent temperature control and addressing environmental concerns about exhaust emissions and noise. With fewer moving parts than conventional refrigeration systems, cryogenic units offer rapid temperature pull-down after a door opening along with reduced maintenance requirements.

The new ST-CR 300 is a totally cryogenic system that uses liquid carbon dioxide as refrigerant and as a power source for unit fans. Stored in a vacuum insulated tank, the cryogenic fluid provides instant cooling capacity. As an alternative to the ST-CR 300, Thermo King has introduced cryogenic hybrids for its MD, KD, RD, TD, and TS diesel truck units. The hybrid system incorporates a second heat exchanger inside the evaporator section of the host refrigeration unit. When the truck doors are closed after a delivery stop and the unit begins to recover from the temperature gain during the stop, the unit runs in high speed cool. During that period of high-speed operation, low temperature CO2 is circulated through the second heat exchanger to accelerate the pull-down cycle. This results in fewer hours of high-speed operation along with lower fuel consumption and lower maintenance requirements.

The high capacity of cryogenic refrigeration results in little variation from thermostat set point even when truck body doors are constantly opened and closed, Seshadri says.

For application on small trucks and compact vans, Thermo King's new C-290 truck engine driven refrigeration system offers simple installation and use. For maximum cargo space, the units have an ultra slim evaporator as standard equipment. “The C-290 meets two objectives,” says Steve Stucky, Thermo King global marketing director. “It is focused on the delivery of fresh, chilled product as an economical alternative to other systems with similar performance. At the same time, it is designed to be as easy to use as possible.”

For ease of operation, the C-290 has a fixed thermostat set point of 35° F. Controls on the in-cab unit panel consist of an on/off switch and a digital thermometer. It has automatic defrost and constant air circulation. Unit capacity is 9,500 Btu/hr at 35° F.

In addition to the C-290, Thermo King offers its V-series units for small trucks and vans. The V-series has a variable thermostat that allows protection of fresh, frozen, or deep frozen commodities. The V-200, smallest in the series, is designed primarily for vans. It is truck engine driven and has electric standby. The more capable V-200 Max TCI offers multi-temperature capability. A special module can be added to the system to manage refrigeration requirements as well as truck cab air-conditioning with a single compressor. This is ideal for trucks without enough room in the engine compartment for two compressors, Stucky says.

For larger trucks, Thermo King has expanded its line of EC- and ENC-series eutectic condensing systems with a choice of scroll compressors. Future eutectic systems will offer reciprocating compressors, the company says.

The EC series is a line of 16 unit models with hermetic scroll compressors. The units use two or three horsepower compressors operating on single- or three-phase electric power. The condensing section can be nose- or skirt-mounted. The condensing sections mate to any eutectic holdover plate system.

In addition to truck units, Thermo King used the Mid-America Trucking show to feature its new SB-100 trailer refrigeration unit for single temperature applications. It is designed for quiet operation in food-service and wholesale grocery fleets. It has a quiet engine and acoustic grilles and bottom panels for noise abatement as standard equipment. For quieter operation, the unit is available with Thermo King's Whisper package as an option.

Capacity of the SB-100 is 18,000 Btu/hr at -20° F. It has a single switch TG-VI controller and an extended service interval of 3,000 hours. Long life coolant and silicone radiator hoses give the SB-100 a 12,000-hour cooling system service interval.

Thermo King also cooperated with Great Dane trailers to show a high technology demonstration vehicle with advanced communication capability. Equipped with an SB-200 refrigeration unit, the Great Dane trailer gathers information from a wide variety of trailer components and communicates these to the driver. This information, including trailer box temperature, refrigeration unit discharge air and return air temperature, and fuel level also can be transmitted to remote locations.

Thermo King's new i-Box communication link makes this possible. The i-Box can operate with either the J1708 or the J1587 SAE communication protocol. It can be connected to any Thermo King smart reefer. The i-Box acts as an electronic interpreter for information flowing back and forth between components on a tractor and trailer.

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