Fuel Smarts

Mile-Hi Foods Plugs Into Savings

March 2012, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

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Western food service distributor Mile Hi Foods, Denver, is saving an estimated $85,000 annually in fuel costs while also improving the sustainability of its operations by taking advantage of the electric standby capability of its 27 Carrier Transicold Vector multi-temperature trailer refrigeration units.
Mile Hi Foods added 17 460-volt electrical outlets to its loading docks and installed 20 free-standing receptacles in its yard, so loaded trailers can be parked and run electrically while waiting to be dispatched.
Mile Hi Foods added 17 460-volt electrical outlets to its loading docks and installed 20 free-standing receptacles in its yard, so loaded trailers can be parked and run electrically while waiting to be dispatched.


A specialty food service company serving more than 300 national restaurants, Mile Hi Foods began adding Vector multi-temperature units to its fleet in 2007. Within the past year, the company completed the infrastructure needed to introduce electric standby at its central distribution center.

As hybrid diesel-electric systems, the Vector units have all-electric refrigeration architecture. Unlike mechanical refrigeration systems, the diesel engine is dedicated to one function: driving a high-performance generator, which powers the compressor, fans and operating system. When stationary, Vector units can be plugged into an electric power source, eliminating the need to run the engine and generator.

Mile Hi Foods added 17 460-volt electrical outlets to its loading docks and installed 20 free-standing receptacles in its yard, so loaded trailers can be parked and run electrically while waiting to be dispatched. The electric standby saves fuel, eliminates emissions, cuts noise and offers operating savings of 40% to 70%, depending on the price of fuel and electricity at any given time, says Carrier.

Mile Hi Foods calculates it is saving 1,800 gallons of fuel a month by using electric standby, which over the course of a year reduces its fuel expenditure by more than $85,000, enough to pay for the infrastructure investment.

Carrier dealer CT Power of Commerce City, Colo., supplies Mile Hi Foods' refrigeration units, the latest of which are Vector 6600MT units. Mile Hi Foods' eight-state trucking and backhaul operation taps the units' full range of heating and cooling. The Vector 6600MT delivers up to 20% greater fuel efficiency than its predecessor. Its electric heating capability reduces the refrigerant charge by 43% relative to conventional multi-temp systems.

Based on its success with the Vector units, Mile Hi Foods recently acquired 13 Vector 6500 single-temperature units for its specialty foods operation. Like its multi-temp sibling, the Vector 6500 is a diesel-electric hybrid with electric standby capability.

Vector technology also eliminates the need for routine maintenance items, such as belts, shaft seals and alternators found in conventional systems, resulting in a maintenance-savings benefit for Mile Hi Foods. As engine and compressor usage is reduced with the Vector units, the company plans to get two trailer lives out of each Vector unit rather than replacing them on the company's normal six-year cycle.

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