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Tuesday, June 1, 2021

7 Things To Know When Buying A Ref Van

When ordering a refrigerated van, not knowing your operating parameters may lead you to a mistake in the specifications. This might be an expensive and time-consuming ordeal. It is therefore very important to know at least these seven things when you need to order your next batch of ref vans.

In technical terms, the generic name of the vehicle is temperature-controlled van. When you just need to maintain ambient temperature within the box, then you do not need a ref system at all. You just need an insulated dry box using about 2-inch thick insulated sandwich panels (ISP). If you need to maintain a temperature range of +2 to +8 degrees Centigrade, then what you need is a chiller of about 3-inch thick ISP. If you need a temperature of up to -25 C, then you will need a freezer of about 4-inch thick ISP.

These are just for starters. Other than these basic knowledge, you need to talk to your operations guys to give you these seven other things:

#1. Cargoes or commodities to be transported

This will determine the temperature at which the goods will be transported. It will also help if you know the melting point or melting temperature of the cargo. For all you know, you just might need an insulated dry box and not a ref van at all. But if you do need a ref van, this will determine the type of cooling system needed, whether chiller or freezer.

#2. Temperature or range to be maintained

The desired transport temperature or temperature range will determine the type of cooling unit needed, whether chiller or freezer and the thickness of the ISP for the ref van body to be used. So your next question will be: can I have a freezer unit but if needed, operate it as a chiller? The answer is yes, since ref vans are equipped with a thermostat and a temperature controller that allows you to do this. Needless to say, if you have either a chiller or a freezer, just turn off the ref system and you have an insulated dry van. Talk about multi-tasking!

#3. Your operating procedure

How do you load and unload your cargoes? Is the ref system turned on or off during loading and unloading? How long does it take? How many kilometers or hours is a typical delivery cycle? How many “drops” or stops are there as this translates into door openings?

All these will be needed by your ref van supplier to be able to recommend the perfect ref van to match your operating needs.

#4. Volume or weight of cargo to be transported

This is called the payload and will determine the size or gross vehicle weight (GVW) of the truck and the size of the truck body (LxWxH) to be mounted on it.

#5. Body size and specs

Normally, ref van suppliers already have standard measurements for the LxWxH of the ref van box. The most important dimension needed here is the thickness of the ISP. This influences how fast the desired temperature is achieved and how efficiently it is going to be maintained over a period of time. The truck body size also determines the size and specifications of the components of the cooling system, including the compressor and the fan that generates the air flow inside the box. For the material of the ISP, go for one that is less absorptive of water yet is lightweight and has a low thermal conductivity, such as extruded polysterene (XPS).

#6. Preferred truck brand and ref system

Normally, a customer approaches his preferred truck dealership if he wants a ref van. And more often than not, it is the most common, most reliable truck in his fleet. He also already has a preferred ref system in mind. He wants to take advantage of economies of scale. So all that is needed now is to determine the correct body size and specs. It is advisable to go to a ref van supplier who can mix and match body sizes with truck brands and models and with ref system brands available. This is best served by a local manufacturer of ISP who has the facility to cut and trim the ISP panels to the desired panel sizes.

Oh by the way, some truck engines are not originally designed to handle the extra power needed by the compressor, so an alternator upgrade might be needed. Make sure this is part of the deal.

Bonus tip: In choosing the truck and ref system brands, look at their warranty coverage and their track record in delivering after-sales service nationwide in terms of competent technicians and spare parts support.

#7. Options available

Depending on your operations, there are many options intended to make things faster and more convenient for you. You might want a side door at the curbside to facilitate loading and unloading. Or maybe a hydraulic tailgate lift for easier loading or unloading of heavy cargoes at the rear. Or the ref van might be used as a storage facility overnight or even longer. So as to relieve the engine of the stress, you might opt for a standby 220-volt power supply provision to drive the compressor and the fans. Or you might even want a front cab aircon for the driver and the helpers. But since the refrigerants for the aircon and the ref systems are different, you will need a separate compressor for this. So is there still enough room in the engine compartment for this?

But through all these, there is an easier way to go about it! Leading truck body builder Centro Manufacturing Corporation has partnered with Japan’s leading truck body builder Nippon Fruehauf to locally manufacture ISP using XPS then using these ISP to assemble temperature-controlled vans. Introducing Centro Nippon Fruehauf Cooltech Inc. They have re-engineered their products to enable them to mix and match body sizes with different truck brands and models and ref systems preferred by the customer! All within seven working days if retail and within Metro Manila or surrounding provinces.

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