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Prime Mover Magazine

Cool route to the future

Cool route to the future

Transport refrigeration company, Carrier Transicold, offers transport refrigeration solutions. Its partner, fresh produce carrier DDS Transport, is an early adopter of new technologies and innovations that reduce environmental impact.

Brisbane-based cold produce operator, DDS Transport has been in business carrying refrigerated fruit and vegetable across the metropolitan area for 12 years.

It delivers to major supermarket chains from the Brisbane markets, relying on Vector 8500 units supplied by Carrier Transicold. DDS Transport, Managing Director, Steve McFadden, says they have exclusively used Carrier Vector units since his company’s inception.

The Carrier Vector 8500 model, which is now in use across the majority of his fleet, runs with special programs designed specific to each type of food DDS Transport moves, in a range spanning between 2 degrees and 14 degrees Celsius.

“Carrier has set up special programs called Intellisets designed for each type of produce we cart,” he says.

“As each type of produce has different refrigeration requirements it’s vital we can control the flow of temperature and air better.”

The safe transportation of lettuce, for one example, according to McFadden, relies on controlling the flow of air temperature, known as supply air, going out, rather than return air so as to avoid burning the top of the lettuces.

Carrier’s semi-electric refrigeration system architecture positions itself, according to the company, as a key development in the evolution of ultra-high performance units such as the Vector 8500.

DDS Transport, as Steve recalls it, chose the Vector units, at first the European made, Vector 1550, and then later the American manufactured Vector 8500, as they operate on electric standby.

“Quite often during the busiest times of the year we get preloaded 12 hours before we get to deliver,” Steve says.

“Therefore we don’t have to run diesel motors all night long. Instead we can hook up to mains power and it lowers the operating cost.”

The biggest advantage of the Carrier Vector 8500, according to Steve, is that it delivers the same performance on electric standby as it does on diesel motor.

As it doesn’t run any B-double combinations, DDS Transport hasn’t required the use of the streamlined and lightweight European Vector 1550, as its current, specialised application of a Maxi-CUBE trailer at the maximum length of 49.5 feet, hauled by a MAN prime mover, means they are not affected by the engine depth.

DDS Transport is equipped with the latest safety features including disc brakes, Performance Based Standards (PBS) and ABS, before it was mandatory, according to Steve.

“Any of the safety features on the market we run with as soon as they become available. We’re an early adopter,” he says.

“We jump into any of that high technology so we can be on top of it. The way forward is lowering fuel consumption and lowering emissions.”

The Vector E-Drive units comply with U.S.

Environmental Protection Agency’s Tier 4 regulations. The regulations began taking full effect in 2013.

Further efficiencies were achieved, for Carrier Transicold, through continual refinements of the E-Drive all-electric architecture.

This evolution brought about a system with advanced microprocessor controls, electronic expansion valves, suction modulation control, micro-channel heat exchangers and highly efficient six-cylinder electric compressors with the ability to “unload” to reduce fuel use.

In the early days, TRUs were powered by basic diesel engines that used reciprocating compressors directly coupled to the engine. A series of belts and pulleys powered the other key moving components such as condenser and evaporator fans.

The micro management of cold goods in transit is another crucial factor for a business like DDS Transport, as it looks to combat the all-year-round humid conditions of Southeast Queensland. Carrier Transicold helps Steve achieve this by monitoring his fleet and regularly upgrading unit software.

“Each time they do an update of the software we get a bit better performance and fuel consumption,” Steve says.

“They know the hours that we operate and they regularly call by our depot and provide advice on anything we need for our trailers any time we need it.”

Carrier Transicold originally introduced the Vector trailer unit and its E-Drive all-electric technology in 1994.

The patented design, now regarded by the company, as a major development in cold transit storage, replaced the direct-coupled compressor with a direct-coupled high performance generator to power an all-electric refrigeration system.

By this time, major advances had been made in electronic control systems leading to the eventual replacement of mechanical thermostats and control technology.

The all-electric system contained a semi-hermetic, high-volume electric compressor, electric fans and heating.

This would lead to an overall improvement of the refrigeration system and temperature management just as the refrigeration system became fully enclosed resulting in, for the most part, an elimination of more common refrigeration leak points of previous designs.

Retaining a higher performance-to-power ratio, the Vector 8500 contains the Carrier APX control system. It uses enhanced power management algorithms to communicate with a smarter engine.

According to Carrier Transicold this enables components to work in harmony instead of isolation, for maximum efficiency.

It’s an advantage, moving forward, as the company looks to future proof itself against additional restrictions imposed on transport operations through the likely event of increasing environmental regulations.

Each unit can utilise Intellisets that when selected adapt for a specific use. This is crucial for a company like DDS Transport as it carts products like berries, which are worth $19,000 a pallet. Steve says they carry a full load of 24 pallets on every run.

“If you deliver damaged product we’re liable for it. So it’s very important that we have those aspects covered and specific programs applied to the specific product whether it’s mushrooms or blueberries,” he says.

“The Carrier Vector 8500 is so efficient. It has better performance, better fuel consumption and a lower price point.”

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