Although diesel refrigeration equipment consumes small quantities of fuel relative to the vehicle engine, it clearly pays to maximise economy. A trailer refrigeration unit running 2,000 hours a year over a 7 year life can consume over 35,000 litres (7,700 gallons) of fuel. A saving of just 10% is going to make a significant difference to the operating costs of a transport business. Bill Roxby, Marketing Manager at Thermo King said: “With the current ever rising prices for fuel, there has never been a more important time to try to maximise fuel efficiency in order to maintain profit levels for your business. During our trials for the new SLX trailer refrigeration unit and through our 70 years’ experience of building units for the industry, we have put together general guidelines designed to improve fuel economy for operators.”
- select the right refrigeration unit for the application (over or under-specified equipment can result in fuel wastage)
- select a proven fuel-efficient refrigeration unit (get maximum energy from fuel burned)
- select an insulated box with a low K-value (minimise heat gain)
- select a light-coloured – ideally white / metallic – body colour (minimise heat gain)
- use door curtains (retain cold air in load space, keep ambient air out)
- use door switches to automatically turn unit off when doors are open (avoid unnecessary unit operation)
- use a temperature-controlled sealed loading dock (minimise heat gain)
- select the appropriate unit set-point, not a lower one (avoid unnecessary unit operation)
- select the appropriate unit operating mode: stop/start for frozen, temperature modulation for fresh (optimise unit efficiency)
- load the vehicle avoiding blockage of air passages around the cargo and use maximum load height lines to guide operators (maximise air circulation, minimise resistance)
- load all goods fully pre-cooled to the required set-point or below it (minimise heat load on unit)
- minimise frequency and duration of door openings (retain cold air in the load space, keep ambient air out)
- have unit and box serviced following manufacturer’s recommendations (optimum unit efficiency and box K-value)
- repair body damage as soon as possible and consider body door seals as maintenance items
- park the vehicle out of direct sun light where possible (minimise heat gain)
- maximise vehicle utilisation – avoid partial loads (avoid unnecessary unit operation)
- provide thorough driver training and established Standard Operating Procedures
Minimising fuel consumption was a key concern of the Thermo King design team who developed the recently launched SLX range. They carefully assessed where fuel economy gains could be made without compromising performance. Although the predecessor (SL) range was the industry benchmark for fuel economy, the SLX is now delivering further savings of up to 20%.
The SLX design team significantly increased the refrigeration components that relate to performance. This means that engine operating speeds have been reduced but with no loss in performance. Slower engine speeds give a quieter engine which uses less fuel and prolong the life of moving parts to increase reliability.
A final thought: every litre of diesel fuel saved is 2.7kg less CO2 released into the atmosphere.
Your Thermo King dealer can give specific advice to help you maximise the economy of your transport operation.
For more information about the SLX visit www.slx.thermoking.com