Refrigerator truck: principle of operation

Refrigerator truck is an isothermal van insulated with sandwich panels and equipped with cooling equipment, which maintains the ambient temperature within a specified range. 

The standout feature of refrigerator trucks is that many different materials may be used as a cooling agent – dry or water ice, gas, eutectic plates. In order to maintain above-zero temperature in the van during the winter season, it is permitted to use a heat source. In such a case, temperature inside the truck can reach +12°C, while the outside temperature is higher than -20°C.

Multi-temperature refrigerators hold a special place among such vans. Their advantage is the ability to maintain different temperatures in separate compartments.

The most commonly encountered types of refrigerators are semi-trailer vans or isothermal vans on special chassis. In case of the latter, carrying capacity of the refrigerator is higher due to lower tare weight.

Refrigerator’s principle of operation

Sandwich panels from 4 to 8 mm thick are used for manufacturing the refrigerator’s body. Those panels are reliably connected together with special fixture elements, and joints are carefully sealed. Draught excluder provides for additional insulation. 

Foamed polyurethane is one of the most popular materials used in sandwich panels. This material has a number of advantages: immune to fungus and rot, non-toxic, and has low heat conductivity.

When constructing refrigerators, special attention is paid to dead weight reduction. For this purpose, high-strength materials and frameless technology are utilized. For outer skin of refrigerator-type vans, possible options are sheet metal (stainless steel, aluminum), plastic-laminated plywood as well as enameled or polymer-covered zinc coating. Van floors are covered with foamed polyurethane sandwich panels, plywood, polymer alloys or sheet metal.

Types of cooling units

Most modern refrigerators adopt one of the following types of cooling equipment. 

  • With independent power supply source. It is usually installed on high-capacity semi-trailers. In this case, power supply source doesn’t depend on the operation of the vehicle’s engine.
  • With power supply from vehicle engine. It is used in small-sized refrigerator vans, since it consumes a lot of the engine’s power resource.
  • Cooling unit with eutectic plates. This equipment confines the cold within the van, even if the doors are opened frequently. Its operating principle is that it freezes plates to a deep below-zero temperature, when the vehicle is parked up. After that, eutectic plates maintain the set temperature regardless of how often and for how long do the van’s doors open. 

Do you need to transport cargoes in a refrigerator truck in Baltic states? BaltFreight company will undertake that task. Call us!


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