Trailer Magazine


The long and the cool

  • From the July 2020 issue.
The long and the cool

When EuroPantech owner, Dave Murphy, set out to create a 33-pallet refrigerated semi-trailer with a 38-tonne payload capacity, he entrusted Carrier Transicold with the task of supplying a fridge unit capable of efficiently cooling the vast interior.

Efficiency is key in any transport operation, even more so with refrigerated transport where the cost of running the fridge plant adds to overall running costs.

While refrigerated B-doubles provide a substantial increase in payload and cargo capacity over single trailers, the trade-off is the extra time it takes to split the combination for dock loading/unloading.

It was these factors that led Dave Murphy to develop his own unique refrigerated trailer that he says alleviates a common complaint with B-doubles doing linehaul work.

“There’s too much work involved at either end for a B-double driver running between Melbourne and Sydney,” Dave says. “Because of this you need to have a support structure involving extra drivers to do the loading and unloading at each end, which adds considerable cost to the operation.

“We found that our B-double drivers were regularly running late so about 10 years ago we changed to 24-pallet single trailers rather than B-doubles on our Melbourne-Sydney runs.

“I also wanted a better class of van so when I first started EuroPantech my mission was to import European vans into Australia.

”But then I discovered Performance-Based Standards (PBS) and was curious to find out if a 16.75-metre 28-pallet van could be used under Level 1 PBS,” he says – adding that at this stage a 28-pallet van was unheard of.

“I contacted Marcus Coleman (Managing Director of PBS certification company Tiger Spider) who initially told me it couldn’t be done. It was only after I asked him to show me why it couldn’t be done that we proved it could.

“After ongoing discussions to see if we could push the envelope further, I engaged Marcus to find out if a 33-pallet van measuring 20 metres would be allowable on PBS Type 2 road networks. After doing the research he discovered it was possible too, so that’s how this latest concept was born.”

The rear of the van tapers in a ‘boat-tail’ fashion to improve highway speed aerodynamics, and as a result, only has space for one pallet space at the very back.

Due to the bespoke design, Dave devised bi-fold rear doors that close to form an obtuse angle and when fully opened provide unimpeded forklift access to the trailer.

“On the Type 2 network we proved that a 32-pallet van was possible,” Dave says. “Then while trying to get aerodynamic components approved I worked out that if I could build bi-fold doors then an extra pallet could be carried.”

Other aerodynamic enhancements of the semi-trailer include full-length side skirts and ultra-close coupling to the Kenworth T610 prime mover, which features a full aero kit along with aerodynamically optimised front bumper, hood and cab designs. The overall length of the combination is 24.5 metres.

The next challenge for Dave with a van of this size was in ensuring effective cooling of the larger interior volume and it was here that Carrier Transicold’s expertise came to the fore.

Dave says the superior thermal efficiency of the van is largely thanks to the high-tech sandwich panels imported from Unitrans in Italy. This feature, along with the ample cooling capacity and other benefits of the Carrier Vector HE 19 fridge unit, make the super-long EuroPantech fridge van suitable for the hot Australian climate.

Furthermore, the close coupling requirement demanded a slim-line fridge unit that would operate effectively in the confined space between the trailer front wall and prime mover.

With the HE denoting High Efficiency, the up-to-the-minute Vector HE 19, launched in Australia at last year’s Brisbane Truck Show, has proven more than up to the task.

It features Carrier Transicold’s patented all-electric E-Drive™ technology whereby the diesel engine drives a generator which produces AC electricity to power the entire refrigeration system. It can also be plugged into mains power when stationary.

“This was a huge step forward for trailer refrigeration and the most important refrigeration unit to be launched by Carrier Transicold in Australia in more than a decade,” says Kelly Geddes, Director of Product & Aftermarket Solutions, Carrier Transicold Australia.

“The new multi-speed engine design helps deliver up to a 30 per cent reduction in fuel consumption, compared with the existing Vector 1950 unit.

“This has been independently verified using the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) and the Association Technic Energy Environment (ATEE) partial load fuel burn standards,” he says.

Another advantage, Carrier claims, of its hermetically sealed compressor is superior refrigerant gas retention over the life of the unit compared to mechanically driven compressors which over time are prone to refrigerant leakage past the drive shaft seal.

“Carrier’s hermetically sealed scroll compressor and economiser helps to deliver a 40 per cent increase in refrigeration capacity during pull-down, while reducing the chance of refrigerant escape by 50 per cent,” Kelly says.

Less maintenance is also a strong point of the Vector HE 19, with a doubling of the oil drain interval from 1,500 hours to 3,000 hours contributing to a claimed 15 per cent drop in maintenance costs compared to the Vector 1950.

There’s also a number of features of the Vector HE 19 that make it particularly suited to the EuroPantech trailer, specifically in terms of the aerodynamically optimised close coupling to the Kenworth 8x4 prime mover and the gigantic interior volume.

“There’s a new condenser and revamped condenser fan design for superior heat exchange and better airflow across the coil,” Kelly says.

“This translates to elevated performance in high ambient temperature conditions and in tight coupling scenarios common with PBS combinations.”

Inside, the evaporator airflow management system has also been heavily revised in order to harness the Coanda effect.

“In a fridge van sense, this essentially means the cool air ‘sticks’ to the ceiling of the trailer, creating a much more efficient airflow which helps maintain consistency of the set-point temperature throughout the EuroPantech trailer’s lengthy interior,” Kelly explains.

According to Dave, this was verified by the fact that the unit was able to maintain a temperature of -30°C in hot ambient conditions.

Also critical for PBS units is tare weight, and at 805kg the new Vector HE 19 is a significant 85kg lighter than the Vector 1950.

In terms of remote monitoring, the EuroPantech’s Carrier Vector HE 19 unit is fitted with Carrier eSolutions telematics system that enables full temperature monitoring, GPS tracking and two-way control over the refrigeration unit.

All up, the innovative features of the Carrier Vector HE 19 make it an ideal fridge plant for the equally innovative EuroPantech 33-pallet trailer.

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