The refrigerated vehicle emerges as an alternative to solve the needs of transporting perishable food, which requires a unit adapted to its characteristics. In this way, you will be able to preserve your properties during the tour. The purpose of refrigerated transport is to remove excess heat that usually appears in conventional means of transport. Thus, it will preserve the temperature of these foods, so that they reach their destination in the best conditions. These types of vehicles are often used to transport flowers, pharmaceutical products, and frozen foods, among others.

The use of this means of transport entails having refrigeration systems installed in the units and warehouses where the merchandise is available. These systems rely on the use of thermodynamics, thus allowing the transfer of heat from one side to another. Therefore, these refrigeration vehicles have the task of maintaining the cold chain of perishable products or foods. A mission that they must fulfill from their departure from the warehouse to the buyer’s facilities. This mandate is provided in the legislation that determines the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points or “HACCP”. It is worth mentioning that these systems do not need to be connected to an energy source such as diesel or electricity. This is because they work by emitting a low level of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

 

Operation of refrigeration vehicles for food transport

As we mentioned earlier, the units used to transport refrigerated foods have the ability to maintain the ideal temperature for each product. To do this, they isolate them from the same temperature and from external agents that may compromise the conditions of the food. This is obtained through the installation of equipment such as the compressor and the condenser in this class of transport units. Refrigerated vehicles often have to withstand outside temperatures ranging from -40°C to 55°C. While, in its internal part, temperatures between -35°C and 22°C are maintained, depending on the food transferred.

It is pertinent to remember that these products must always be refrigerated before being transported. In other words, it does not break the cold chain when entering the unit. Nor does it require an increase in temperature to keep the gender preserved, since it would cause an unnecessary cost of refrigeration in the unit.

On the other hand, the refrigeration systems that these vehicles have been ordered according to their cooling capacity. To reach an adequate temperature, low-capacity ventilation systems are used. They allow air to circulate inside the vehicle and thus be able to maintain the same temperature constantly. Certainly, some very relevant particularities are attributed to this type of transport, such as:

  • First of all, there should be no communication between the cargo and the cockpit.
  • The internal part of the vehicles must be waterproof and airtight.
  • Also, cargo should not be placed at ground level. It is advisable to store it in special containers since the surface must allow air circulation inside the unit.

 

Regulations applied to refrigerated vehicles for the transport of food

In general, the transport of food and perishable products has special parameters, which go hand in hand with the peculiarity of said products. Such criteria mean that its control and quality have a different development than that of an article that does not have these characteristics. These provisions are regulated under the Agreement on International Transport of Perishable Goods (ATP) and on the transport used for this purpose. Approved in Geneva in 1970, the ATP entered into force in Spain in 1976.

This regulation has been subject to various modifications to adapt to current technical and health realities, as well as to care for the environment. Indeed, the central objective of this regulation is to ensure that the transport of perishable foods is carried out properly. So that they reach their destination, preserving their quality and freshness. Here are some of the aspects that regulate this regulation:

  • ATP determines the temperatures of each product. In the case of meat, the indicated temperature is 7°C and for dairy products, it ranges between 6°C and 4°C. For its part, the transport of ultra-frozen goods is usually done at temperatures that reach between -20°C and -10°C.
  • Similarly, the regulations establish that the types of vehicles to be used for the transport of perishable foods must be isothermal. By these are meant those whose cargo compartment has walls, roof, doors, and floor provided with a thick layer of insulating material. This coating considerably reduces the temperature leakage between the inside and outside of the compartment. There are three classes of isothermal units contemplated in the ATP:

Refrigerated units

It is an isothermal unit that has a cold generating system with the capacity to reduce the temperature inside the empty box. And, subsequently, keep it at a temperature of -20 ° C as a maximum index. It can also keep such a low temperature, even with 30°C outside the unit.

Heating units

It is a vehicle with isothermal characteristics, but instead of generating cold, it produces heat through an internal device, which allows the interior temperature to be raised and maintained for more than 12 hours at a constant temperature of 12°C.

Refrigeration units

It is a unit similar to the isothermal vehicle. It incorporates a cold production device that can have a collective or individual mode that allows the temperature to be reduced, until reaching a constant range between -12°C and -20°C.

In particular, we must mention that the transportation of perishable food by land must always be carried out by means of refrigerated units, within national borders. In other words, the distances they have to cover have to be short-haul.

 

Conditions of isothermal units for food transport

Apart from the above, isothermal vehicles must meet a series of conditions. Each transport can have an exact specification, plus any one of them can transport items at varying temperatures. However, at a general level, there are some regulations that must be complied with in these cold units:

  • The materials used in the cooling boxes have to be waterproof, anticorrosive, and easy to wash.
  • The ventilation system must guarantee the necessary safety to prevent the entry of contaminating agents.
  • The closing systems have to be completely safe, as well as the insulation of the cooling box from the outside.

Furthermore, another issue to consider is the cleanliness of the refrigerated unit, as well as the products and tools used in this process. To do this, the protocol dictated by the ATP must be followed, for the complete disinfection of the vehicle.

In the same way, there is another norm that must be taken into account and it is the obligation to carry out the technical review of the units. In particular, refrigerated transport vehicles that, depending on their age, must undergo a specific review, in a test tunnel. Additionally, attention must be paid to the replacement of units that have a lifespan of more than 20 years.

 

The cold chain begins and ends with Intersam

Just as the transport of refrigerated food must strictly maintain the cold chain required by these products, the processing and marketing companies must start and end it properly. At Intersam we have been designing and developing customized industrial and commercial refrigeration and air conditioning systems for more than 27 years. Thanks to its design and advanced technology, our equipment provides high performance and energy efficiency.

Get to know our wide range of condensers, air coolers, evaporators for food preservation, fan-coils, and much more. We manufacture them in our facilities and take them to wherever your industry or business is located, inside and outside of Spain. Contact us and tell us about your needs! Refrigeration is our business!