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What Is a Reefer Truck?

With the development of globalization, the cold chain can easily connect everyone by providing fine art, fresh foods, pharmaceuticals… Not just developing countries relying on reefer freight to receive supplement and necessary pharmaceuticals, countries with developed economies also benefit a lot from this invention. For that reason, reefer truck is created.

In this article, we will discuss what is this transportation, where does it come from, and how essential it is to the cold chain system. 

What is Reefer Truck

reefer truck
The outlook of a reefer truck (Source: jingletruck)

Due to the needs of the world nowadays, refrigerated transportation companies create and deliver temperature controlled goods worldwide, thanks to the reefer trucks. There are various types of trucks and trailers around the world and their tasks are not simple.

To be more specific, they need to be able to maintain the consistent temperature, no matter the weather outside. In cold weather, the consignment of the car must be heated, while in hot weather a unit must be able to cool. And reefer trucks are the type of cars that satisfy all these requirements.  

A reefer truck, also called chiller trucks, is the type of vehicle which has a thermostat and a refrigeration unit. 

History of Reefer Truck

Many people think that reefer truck just appeared recently. However, the basic concept of this type of vehicle is already planned for a while. For example, people all around the world has been transporting goods using large chunks of ice since the 20th century. These transportation equipped with ice are the most basic form of reefer truck. 

The inside of the reefer truck
The inside of the reefer truck (Source: istockphoto)

In the 19th century, there were many companies in the US that used cars with cooled containers in order to transport food like fish or meat for short distances. Ten years later, car owners start to use built-in mechanical cooling units. And in the year of 1939, the first portable air cooling unit was invented by Fred Jones, and it opened up a whole new era for shipment and transportation.   

To be more specific, the technology employed in the reefer truck and trailer can also be applied to other kinds of vehicles, from planes to ships.  

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Reefer Truck Structure

There are two main types of reefer truck: Curtainsider and hardside. The curtainsiders, just in the name, use insulated curtains in order to make up for heat loss.

 reefer truck
The main difference from a normal truck with a reefer truck (Source: istockphoto)

On the other hand, hardside reefer truck, also known as box body truck, has more natural insulation. 

The size and design of reefer truck are various: Reefer trucks can also be small class 1 trucks to the largest combination cars. 

Talking about design, car owners can customize the truck’s doors as they want, based on the needs of storage. However, car designers will paint white for most of the reefer trucks and trailers. The reason for this is that this color reflects the most heat, which decreases the work of the chiller. 

Along with the car components and features to control temperature and load, it is impossible to forget the control panel. Before arriving at the pickup point, car owners usually set the thermostat carefully. By doing this, the chiller can adjust and maintain the load space to control the heat in time. In order to support the temperature adjustment of the reefer truck, the trailer’s floor has channels with the purpose of circulating air.  

The chiller’s fuel of the reefer truck is stored in a tank underneath the trailer. The location of the fuel tank will help the truck sustain for a few days of continuous operation. 

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