We are implementing a reefer truck (located outdoors by the loading dock) to handle storage of overflow finished goods. We plan to validate the reefer truck in the same way as we would a walk-in cooler (temperature specification 2 – 8°C and located indoors).
First, there is a potential long-run problem because we are located in very cold climate (Eastern Canada). Secondly, how would recording ambient conditions work in the validation of the reefer truck? Would seasonal temperature mapping be something you'd recommend in this case? Thank you very much for your advice!
Thank you for contacting us W!
You have highlighted some of the important differences between walk-in coolers and reefer trucks.
- It is outside.
- All 4 walls are exposed to the ambient conditions.
- Reefer trucks are typically not as well insulated as a cold room.
- Reefer trucks are not optimized for air-flow patterns like a cold room, because they are restrained by the trailer shape, and the location of the cooling system at the head of the trailer.
You will probably have a problem in winter, as reefer trucks (at least here in the more temperate climate of California) do not have heating capability. If your reefer truck has some heating capability, you may do fine in winter. I do not know what is typical for an Eastern Canadian reefer truck.
Normally, for a cold room, I wouldn’t worry about ambient conditions. That is because the assumption is that the cold room is operating inside a controlled ambient space, such as a warehouse. However, in this case, your reefer truck cold room is outside in an uncontrolled space. Therefore, I would apply some of the same principles as I would to a warehouse
, which typically has walls that are also the exterior of the building, and are therefore impacted more strongly by seasonal variations.
In your case, I would recommend seasonal mapping. To record ambient conditions in this case, I would simply place a mapping sensor adjacent to the reefer truck, in the shade, in an area where it won’t be affected by the heat output from the reefer compressor. This will allow you to: 1) prove that you mapped at a representative hottest/coldest time of year, and 2) you can correlate internal temperature variations to what is going on outside.
It occurs to me that it would be very much in your best interests to have the reefer truck in as sheltered an environment as possible – in the shade and out of the wind. Do be prepared to discover that your reefer cold room is too cold in the winter for refrigerated storage.
I hope this is helpful. Please feel free to ask any follow-up questions!
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