Taking refrigerated units to the future

Refrigerated transport operators in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region face challenges that include rough terrain, long distances and high ambient temperatures. Eqstra Flexi Fleet, a division of Eqstra Fleet Management and Logistics, has set out to ease the journey…

It has partnered with Pecsser & Carrier, Ice Cold Bodies, Hino South Africa and GEA to design a rigid refrigerated vehicle with new technology to power the refrigeration units.

“In 2017 we launched an articulated vehicle in the form of a truck tractor and a tri-axle refrigerated trailer combination, known as ‘Bessie’,” says Jacqui Carr, CEO of Eqstra Fleet Management and Logistics (EFML). “The success of that project led us to explore the opportunities to produce a rigid vehicle with auxiliary equipment driven by the power take-off (PTO).

“In this case, we have utilised a Carrier Eco unit, imported from France especially for EFML. It is the first unit of its kind in South Africa,” she adds.

The Eco-Drive is a power module that is fitted to the side of the truck chassis. It delivers constant 400 V, three-phase, 50 Hz power. A hydraulic pump is connected to the truck’s gearbox via a PTO. It drives a generator located inside the power module, delivering constant three-phase power.

The biggest advantage of this system is that it saves between two and four litres of fuel per hour.

It also boasts 100-perecent capacity from the idle speed of the truck engine; additional availability of electrical power for other three-phase applications; quiet operation and low emissions (as power is generated by the truck engine); limited maintenance requirements; and reduced weight (only 175 kg for the complete system).

Together with the Eco-drive unit, the truck utilises a Carrier Supra cooling unit which achieves superior pulldown and accurate temperature control at all set points.

This performance is supported by a large range of evaporators with electric fans, providing constant airflow independent of engine speed. New fans increase airflow by 15 percent for quick temperature recovery and improved air management.

To support the new technology, Ice Cold Bodies has designed an 8,5-m body that can carry a payload of 12 580 t.

Hino South Africa, in conjunction with Hino East Rand, has supplied the chassis and cab and GEA has sponsored a Dhollandia Tuck-away Tail Lift.

Clover will be testing the vehicle and the performance of the cooling unit in South African conditions.

“Bessie has proved to be immensely successful and we are confident this rigid truck configuration will meet the tough ambient conditions encountered in South Africa,” concludes Carr.

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Focus on Transport

FOCUS on Transport and Logistics is one of the oldest and most respected transport and logistics publications in southern Africa.
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