Imagine life without ice cream, fresh fruit, meat or ice-cold beer. Imagine having to go grocery shopping every day to make sure your food was fresh. Imagine there were no flowers to send to that special someone, or temperature sensitive medicine.
Over the last two centuries, refrigeration’s great strides offered us ways to preserve and cool food, commodities – and even ourselves. Refrigeration connected distant production hubs with urban centres burgeoning around the world. It tore down the barriers of climates and seasons. And while it helped to boost industrial processes, it became an industry itself.
Today, the transfer of land from agricultural use to mere housing increases not only food transport distances, but also unveils the vulnerability of populations to food insecurity if there are disruptions in the supply chain. Therefore, a vast fleet of refrigerated transport equipment is constantly on the move to feed the world, moving almost everything that can be found in the local grocery store.
But, ensuring an ample supply of fresh food and perishable goods is a task inconceivable without high technology. Australian company Cooltrax is at the forefront of that development, creating mobile refrigeration solutions that are being used all around the continent.
In a nutshell, Cooltrax’ refrigeration technology is able to integrate key performance data from refrigerated transport equipment and deliver it to the operator. It can monitor all parameters of the reefer unit (set point, return air, send air, mode etc.) across all zones, as well as fuel consumption, box temperatures and door events, and combine the information with continuous location monitoring.
“When an event is captured, it is reported in real-time,” says National Sales Manager Cooltrax Peter Goulis.. “Depending upon the severity of the event, we enable full remote control of the reefer so that corrective measures can be taken before the integrity of the load is compromised. Thereby, Cooltrax customers can be pro-active and meet all reporting requirements.
“Real-time visibility is the key to driving product losses and inefficiencies out of the supply chain,” Peter adds. “As food safety and product quality demands increase, refrigerated transport operators must have both historical and real-time visibility of pending failures and the tools at hand to address issues as they occur.”
In addition, Cooltrax is able to provide insight that may affect the trailer design of the future. “Several companies have already deployed Cooltrax RF tags to map temperatures throughout an entire refrigerated vehicle. This provides considerable insight as to the impact of loads on airflow and therefore the effectiveness of refrigeration,” says Peter.
After all, refrigerated transport is not all about cooling fresh food for a maximum time. It is a complex challenge to adjust temperature and humidity to suit a varying freight taks. Fur and woolen goods producers, for instance, beat the moths by using refrigerated warehouses and trailers. Refrigeration also helps nurseries and florists, especially to meet seasonal needs since cut flowers can now last longer and travel longer distances. Even sugar mills, confectioneries, and chocolate factories, as well as bakeries and tea companies find refrigeration help their business.
“In that sense, Cooltrax’ high-tech solution is more than just complex software system,” says Peter. “It’s is driving Australia’s economy. That’s why we have introduced their cooling solution across other segments of the cold chain to include monitoring at product level and at each of the temperature controlled environments in which products are held as they pass along the cold chain.”