Eqstra Flexi Fleet, a division of Eqstra Fleet Management and Logistics, has partnered with New Way, Ice Cold Bodies, and Javgro Transport Refrigeration Solutions to design a cold trailer that will run “80% to 90% of the time” using power from the truck engine, says Javgro MD Kenan Gröss.
In essence, the technology eliminates the need for the inefficient diesel engine that currently powers the refrigeration unit, instead using the engine power of the truck pulling the refrigerated trailer.
“Truck engines today are designed to meet more stringent emission laws and are significantly more efficient than the diesel engines within the cooling units,” says Eqstra Flexi Fleet GM Johnnie Marais.
“It was incumbent on us to develop technology which draws on this sophisticated engineering to make our cooling units more efficient and environmentally friendly.”
A Hydro-Joule unit is mounted to the side of the truck and is powered via a hydraulic pump, driven by a clutch independent engine power take off (PTO).
Once the system is operational, the hydraulic pump delivers high pressure hydraulic fluid to a hydraulic motor, which, in turn, powers an AC generator and produces the 400VAC / 50 Hz needed to power the cooling unit.
The driver has the ability to switch the system on and off from the cabin by means of an auxiliary PTO switch.
At this point, the cooling unit can run off both its own diesel engine and its electric standby motor.
However, by powering the unit from the more efficient, more environmentally friendly truck engine, it will reduce maintenance costs, reduce fuel consumption and, most importantly, reduce harmful emissions, explains Gröss.
“Trucks today are considerably more advanced with regards to lower engine emissions and sophisticated fuel injection systems. Thus, it has become viable to harness this energy rather than the less efficient power produced from the industrial engine within the cooling unit. “
Javgro designed and engineered the new system.
Tests on fuel efficiencies were carried out using the Mitsubishi TFV2000D-E cooling unit.
“Current studies of similar hydraulic generators in Europe have shown savings of between 2 to 3 liters per hour with respect to the fuel consumption of the cooling unit,” says Grӧss.
“The cooling unit has a maximum current draw of 16 Amperes when running on 3-phase electrics.
“This equates to a power consumption of approximately 10.5 kW.
“Taking the power factors and losses from the hydraulic system into account, the true power take-off from the truck engine is in the order of 18 kW to 20 kW, which equates to a maximum of 5% to 6% of the power produced by the truck’s engine.”
Road tests will commence with a test unit within the Clover stable this quarter to quantify fuel savings.
The new cooling system also features a telemetry system, Euroscan MX1, which is installed with the cooling unit. The system connects directly to the cooling unit’s on-board computer as it shares the same protocols.
The Euroscan system monitors the cooling unit’s operation and sends alerts in the event of a unit malfunction.
An associated smart phone app allows the operator to access the information from the unit, including error codes, temperatures and GPS location.
It also allows for two-way communication to enable the operator to manipulate certain parameters and functions of the cooling unit from a smart phone.
Additional add-ons include vehicle tracking and driver management systems designed by GPS Tracking Solutions.
These include Vision Manager, which is a vehicle video surveillance system that provides a platform for live video streaming, GPS tracking, alarm and driver behaviour monitoring.
The tracking system will ensure 24-hour monitoring of the vehicle and also features speed governing ability.
New Look Trailer
The new cold trailer also features a new look.
New design elements include a fully curved roof, which increases the strength of the body, improves the aerodynamics of the trailer, fuel consumption and air circulation within the trailer, says Eqstra.
Side skirts help channel airflow away from the wheels to reduce turbulence.
The rear door opening of the trailer is 2.27 m high for ease of pallet loading.
“Another design first is that the aluminium extrusion floor is bonded to the floor structure during the vacuum process. This bonding process greatly enhances durability and strength, as do the 3 mm stainless steel kick plates,” says Ice Cold Bodies MD Burt Gildenhuys.
“In addition, a newly designed lightweight aluminium bulkhead has been fitted to prevent damage to the front wall while a stainless steel fridge protector has been installed on the outside to protect the cooling unit.”