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Robin Vercammen, Carrier Transicold, Wommelgem:

“Rain and road network major culprits for refrigerated transport”

When cooled fresh produce products are transported from A to B via roads, not just the car or lorry is important. The refrigeration in which the products are kept at the right temperature is just as important, if not more so. 

Carrier Transicold in Wommelgem, Belgium, ensures that all cars without refrigeration that enter one of the four Belgian branches leave with a large cold store. “We provide both smaller delivery vans and lorries with cooling systems,” says assistent workshop manager Robin Vercammen. “Lorries arrive with an appendage for trailers, but without a load. We slide the refrigerated part over that, as it were, and attach it to the lorry. Small commercial vehicles are assembled via a Lego-like step-by-step plan.”

The inside of a large refrigerated transport of Carrier Transicold. This refrigeration can both cool and freeze at the same time.

Different types
The transport refrigerations can be installed in various ways and on various vehicles by Carrier Transicold. “Take, for example, refrigeration model Vector,” the assistant workshop manager continues. “We install this model on trailers meant for long-distance transport. For lorries with multiple door openings, the Supra type could be a solution. The smaller and mid-sized delivery vans that transport fresh and frozen products can choose from various models such as, among others, Pulsor, Xarios and Viento, each with its own quality. Each year, we install about 200 refrigerations in our branch in Wommelgem.”

Cooling and freezing
The various types of cooling systems each have their own qualities. According to Robin, customers can choose which way their products have to be refrigerated. “Some refrigerated transports can both cool and freeze,” he continues. “Three different temperatures can even be maintained in one room. By means of a slide in the ceiling that can be pulled down, a part can be used as freezer and a part can be used as refrigeration. That way, the space can be used optimally.”

Another important point to bear in mind for the company in Wommelgem, is temperature. Not just in the refrigeration system, but outside temperature is also of influence on the cooling process. “When it’s -30 degrees in the refrigeration and outside temperature is 20 degrees, that’s a difference in temperature of 50 degrees,” Robin says. “When temperatures have to go up to 20 degrees above zero after part of the loading, it means you’re dealing with major temperature differences. A problem people in the fresh produce sector could face is that a refrigerated system is actually one large dehumidification system. Lettuce, for example, is very moist. When a cooling should be 6 degrees, the thermometer should always be a little lower to achieve the desired temperature. In this case, it would be around freezing, which means the moisture could freeze. That’s why we make sure there are antifreeze systems that ensure that the refrigerating elements and doors of the refrigeration don’t freeze shut.” 

A smaller delivery van with a cooling system that has not yet been installed, which will be placed on the ceiling.
European Food Transport is a major customer of Carrier Transicold, and they transport, among other products, fresh produce. Parties such as catering wholesaler’s Hanos and transport company Peter Appel are also customers of Carrier Transicold. Although the company is a major player, they have one large competitor in their field: Thermo King. “Most buyers buy 50 per cent from us and 50 from Thermo King,” Robin says. “Companies want to know who can provide their services cheapest, us or Thermo King. What they often do, is buy part from us and a part from the competition. We’ll be cheaper one time, and Thermo King the next.”
And what is the biggest problem for the company according to Robin? “The roads and weather circumstances,” he says. “The vibrations of the lorry on the road can cause problems with the refrigeration, but so can wind and salt. Not just the weather is a problem for the cooling. When drivers suddenly drive onto the refuge and cargo hits the side of the refrigeration, damage can occur. Regular maintenance of the refrigeration will relieve many of the problems. In my opinion, people often come in when it’s too late.”
With company Euroscan, Carrier Transicold takes care of the track and trace system in the refrigeration. By means of the Euroscan MX2, temperatures can be monitored at a distance. “Because foreign drivers drive the lorries more and more often, track and trace systems can be a solution,” Robin says. “Because they don’t always have the knowledge, and don’t always speak the language, it could come in handy to see what is happening in the refrigeration. When they then run into problems, we want to ensure, in future, that the location of the driver can be found out by means of GPS, so that the nearest help can be offered, whether that’s in Belgium or in Spain. That’s what we are currently working on.”           
For more information:
Carrier Transicold Belgium
Koralenhoeve 8A-B
B-2160 Wommelgem – Belgium
T :+32 (0)3 354 23 00
F :+32 (0)3 354 23 33

Publication date: 8/25/2017


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