Product Review: Cold Plate Refrigeration
by Apex Capital | July 5, 2012
If you’re in the business of providing transport to customers who need their products to stay refrigerated, you’re unlikely to improve on cold plate refrigeration. Among the most reliable of the shipping methods available to trucking companies, they come with the distinct advantage of flexibility. Various systems can be designed to freeze at a wide range of temperatures, accommodating a vast array of products. Here are some things you should know about this classic-yet unsurpassed-shipping method.
How Cold Plate Refrigeration Works
Cold plate refrigeration works in similar fashion to those blue cold packs you keep in the freezer. These packs freeze overnight and can serve as a portable freezer for your trip to the beach the next day. Cold plates aren’t much different. When the truck is off the road, the owner plugs the condensing unit into shore power, allowing refrigeration to pass through the plates. This refreezes the solution inside the plates over an 8 hour period. When this time is over, you’re free to take the truck back on the road.
Advantages of Cold Plate Refrigeration
There are numerous advantages to cold plate refrigeration. For one, you don’t have to worry about your refrigeration breaking down halfway through the route. This can be an expensive waste of time under the best of circumstances. Under the worst of circumstances, it could result in your perishable shipment being ruined. Low operating costs, elimination of maintenance, and a long lifespan are also among the benefits.
While cold plate refrigeration offers a number of advantages over mechanical systems, there are some negatives. One of the most distinct of these is a short radius. You’ll have to return to your plug-in point at night, which means hauling on a national scale is not going to be practical. The required down time can also be a disadvantage, as it is going to take your truck out of commission for at least 8 hours a night.
The backbone of the trucking industry has and always will be non-refrigerated shipping. Few truckers or trucking companies would find themselves unable to make a profit sticking solely to non-refrigerated items such as the vast majority of beverages, HAZMAT materials, furniture, and virtually anything else outside of perishables. But that doesn’t mean refrigerated shipping is without its place. Products such as meat, fruits, dairy, fish, medical supplies and even unique products such as paintballs must be kept cold during the shipping process. Opening your company to these markets can have surprising benefits.