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Refrigerated box trucks are more commonly known as fridge trucks, although this does not cover those that have to deliver frozen goods – these are technically ‘Freezer Trucks’ although no one ever uses that term. More common is to have dual compartments where a truck operator can have one section for chilled goods and behind an insulated partition use the other section for frozen goods. You will often see this type of configuration in the home shopping delivery vehicles that have ambient, chilled and frozen sections. Great care must be taken when buying a used refrigerated box truck, as the chances are you will be carrying foodstuffs and therefore will need to be mindful of any potential contamination of the fridge body in its first life.
As with buying any used truck it is important to not just check the driveline and cab out, the condition of the body is paramount. Check for sign of earlier damage on the sides and even to the roof of the body, in case it has had a disagreement with a tree or similar. If there have been any repairs, then check the quality of the work here. Does the floor look like it has been getting wet over a period of time? If so, then check the surrounding roof and sides for evidence of damage.
Important with a fridge truck is to give it the ‘nose test’. A good whiff when first opening the doors should indicate what it had carried and whether there is any contamination to the insulated lining of the body or flooring. Ask the truck dealer or the truck operator selling the fridge truck what the truck has carried in a previous life.
The type and umber of doors on the insulated body will depend on the type of work you will be carrying out. If the truck only ever gets loaded and unloaded once each way from a loading bay, then a roller shutter will be ideal. However, if the fridge truck is needed for multi drop work, then it is best to make a door available as small as possible to carry out the unloading required. Remember that this may often be at the roadside, delivering to convenience stores, so a side loading door will offer the driver additional safety rather than working at the rear of the truck.
Many trucks are available with triple hinged doors, so the driver does not need to open a huge barn door which would let all the cold air out.
Once you’ve checked the physical body over, then time to take a look at the fridge unit. Check the operating hours on the clock, then start the engine – ideally from cold. These engines require maintenance like all other engines, although an operator may choose to scrip on this side of the servicing if times are tough. Check with the seller if there is any servicing history related to the fridge unit.
Leave the motor running for a while and check the temperature drop. If it takes too long, it may indicate here is an issue.
There are a few manufacturers of refrigerated units for trucks, some brands – like the trucks themselves – are worth more in the resale market. Carrier and Thermoking are the two main brands that fridge truck buyers are looking for, although UK based Hubbard and sister company, the Italy-based manufacturer Zanotti (both owned by Japanese Daikin), French manufacturer Lamberet also sell in the UK market.
If the truck has the ability to be plugged in overnight to keep the temperature down, then this needs to be checked as well. After testing the motor, turn it off and not the temperature. Switch over to standby mode and check the temperatures – they should continue to fall.
Whilst you may not have to have a temperature recorder fitted to your truck, a used fridge truck will be more valuable with one. These gadgets keep a log of the temperature throughout the day to guarantee an audit trail for perishable items that need to be kept below a certain temperature.
Having one fitted will give you peace of mind as well as enhancing the resale value of the truck should you need to sell again – or if you gain a contract that specifies that a recording device is fitted.
The good news for the environment is that a national food wholesaler and distributor, Reynolds Catering Supplies, has put a new, zero-emissions DAF LF Electric at 19-tonne GVW into service for multi-drop deliveries around Leeds. However, the order also included no fewer than 29 diesel DAF trucks. The truck will be saving around 70 to 80 tonnes of CO2 every year, but think of the CO2 reductions from thirty of these trucks. We all understand that the electric trucks are still in their infancy, but they will need to grow up fast at this weight range, as they will be…
Mercedes-Benz Trucks UK has teamed up with bodybuilder Solomon Commercials to launch Britain’s first fridge-bodied eActros electric truck. The 19-tonne GVW eActros made its debut at the ITT Hub event in Farnborough on 9 May. A fully operational vehicle, it will now be offered for live demonstrations to operators across the country. The truck is based on a 4x2 eActros 300. Fitted with three nickel manganese cobalt battery packs, for a total installed capacity of 336kWh, it boasts a range of up to 330km (205 miles). The batteries can be recharged from 20 to 80% in 75 minutes, using a…
Electra Commercial Vehicles has completed a three-month trial with UK supermarket Sainsbury’s using its zero-emissions 19-tonne refrigerated hydrogen-powered truck. The Electra eCargo Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) travelled a typical daily journey of 208 miles from the supermarket’s depot in Sherburn-on-Elmet to Newcastle and back – emitting zero emissions versus an average of 314kg of CO2 emitted per day by a diesel truck making the same trip. Data collected from the trial also showed that the HGV used approximately 65% of its hydrogen capacity per trip, giving it an approximate operational daily range of 320 miles on one fill of…
Iveco and Petit Forestier Group have entered into an agreement for the supply of 2,000 eDAILY chassis cabs, with delivery of the first 200 planned for 2023. The vehicles will be fitted with refrigerated bodies by bodybuilder Lecapitaine, a wholly owned subsidiary of Petit Forestier. The eDAILY refrigerated vehicles will join Petit Forestier’s extensive rental fleet, advancing its energy transition to electric propulsion. The announcement was made at the IAA 2022 exhibition, the day after eDAILY was officially launched to the public during Iveco’s press conference. Visitors to the exhibition can view on display on the Iveco stand a vehicle…
Tesco, the UK’s largest supermarket chain, is rolling out its first 18 tonne 100% electric truck, a Renault Trucks E-Tech D Wide with Solomon Commercials refrigeration body. The new zero-emission refrigerated electric truck is now delivering from Tesco’s Dagenham distribution centre to more than 400 stores in Greater London, with further electric vehicles planned to enter service in the coming months. Fully electric, the E-Tech D Wide is eligible to operate in the capital’s Ultra Low Emission Zone and Congestion Charge Zone without incurring charges, while its zero tailpipe emissions in use and low traffic noise make it ideal for…