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Carrier Transicold Marks 75 Years of Road Transport Refrigeration

April 17, 2015

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Photo courtesy Carrier Transicold.
Photo courtesy Carrier Transicold.

Carrier Transicold says it is celebrating a double anniversary this year: 75 years since Carrier entered the road transport refrigeration business and the 45th anniversary of the Carrier Transicold name. The company now builds and sells reefer equipment for trucks, trailers and containers, and is a part of United Technologies Corp. 

“Carrier’s history encompasses more than a century of innovation in air conditioning and refrigeration, and pioneering achievements in truck and trailer refrigeration have been an integral part of this story,” said David Appel, president, Carrier Transicold & Refrigeration Systems. 

The Carrier Transicold brand was formed in 1970, when Carrier acquired Transicold Co., based in California, and combined it with its Special Products Division, which had experience in trucking applications extending back to 1940. The business involved all types of transport refrigeration, including reefers for ocean-going containers that it claims to have pioneered in 1968. 

Carrier’s first foray into truck refrigeration in 1940 included the application of its model 7K refrigeration compressors in early systems, Appel said. Although haulers had experimented with mechanical refrigeration since the 1920s, most transport refrigeration methods by 1940 still used ice/salt or dry-ice/gravity flow refrigeration systems. 

The initial success with the rugged 7K compressor led to the development of a complete truck refrigeration system for trucks and trailers, Carrier’s Type 68D unit. Available in two sizes, the Type 68D used a four-cylinder gasoline engine coupled to a high-speed compressor.

The relatively compact and adjustment-free unit boasted minimal moving parts, making it durable enough for the often rough conditions encountered by refrigerated trucks with bodies ranging up to 35 feet in length.

The logistical improvement eliminated the need for haulers to replenish ice and assured more uniform temperature control over greater distances, helping to pave the way for long-haul refrigerated trucking. 

Today, streamlined designs with minimal moving parts remain features of Carrier Transicold systems, Appel said. as demonstrated by Vector trailer units, featuring E-Drive all-electric equipment and the X4 series of mechanical trailer units, which claim high capacity, reliability and ease of service.

In contrast to those early systems, today’s transport refrigeration units provide cooling power to haul perishable and frozen loads in 53-foot trailers, intermodal containers and railcars ranging up to 72 feet in interior length. While meeting federal Tier 4 diesel emissions regulations, recent engines also claim improved fuel economy.

Carrier Transicold’s operations have expanded worldwide, with manufacturing facilities located in Athens, Ga.; Rouen, France; Singapore; and Shanghai, China. 

“Our products have long served an important need delivering food and other temperature-sensitive goods to expanding population centers,” said Appel. “It’s a heritage we’re proud of and one that we intend to build further upon with more sustainable and innovative transport refrigeration solutions. It is this higher purpose that motivates and excites us to continue.”

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