As we often say here at CoolKit, the cold chain is a vital part of successful transport refrigeration; it has to be maintained at every stage so that perishable products remain at their correct temperatures. This week, we’ve got a few simple tips for you to help avoid any breaks in the cold chain in the transport process. This ultimately prolongs the lifespan of your products, and makes life a lot easier for you.
Before you load up your refrigerated van, some good quick checks to make include noting whether everything is sufficiently clean. This should a particular priority if you’re transporting consumables like dairy or meat, as unclean equipment can result in contamination to your products, ultimately posing a health risk to your customers. Things to inspect include cargo pallets, load-securing devices and hand trucks, as well as heavier loading equipment like forklifts and conveyors.
Meanwhile, this is a great opportunity for the driver to check the integrity of the interior, as well as doing a quick additional sweep for any dust or dirt. At least one hour before loading, the cooling unit needs to be switched on so it can start to bring the interior or the fridge or freezer van to the correct temperature, ready to accommodate the products.
The next tip is probably fairly obvious, but bears saying anyway: get the loading done as quickly as you can, and keep the door opening times to a minimum. This not only saves on energy usage when maintaining the van’s interior, but also means that the products stay as close to their desired temperature range as possible during loading.
This brings us onto another thing worth checking – double check that the products are at this desired temperature before they’re loaded up. If there are any breaks in the cold chain, it’s crucial to identify them at the right point. Otherwise, you may risk spending a lot of time and effort trying to work out what the problems in your vans are, before later discovering that it’s not a problem in your chiller vans at all.
Before moving off, make sure that all the products are stacked properly so that they’re not in danger of being damaged in transit, and that there’s proper air circulation around throughout the van’s interior.
When the van’s in transit, it’s a good idea to check occasionally that any strip curtains remain in position to minimise heat loss. At each stop – whether it’s a scheduled one or a personal one (such as mealtimes) – the driver should quickly check the chiller van’s interior to make sure that there aren’t any issue with the seals, and that the cooling unit is still doing its job properly.
When it comes to unloading, the same rules as earlier apply – everything should be moved as quickly as possible, giving it minimal opportunity for the temperature to change too drastically.
Finally, at the end of each day, the van’s interior should be manually defrosted. This removes any excess frost or ice from the evaporator coil, helping to ensure maximum performance for when it’s next used.
At CoolKit, we stock a range of fridge and freezer vans to suit your needs, whatever your industry. On the other hand, you could transform one of your own vehicles using one of our fridge van conversion kits. Click here to learn more about them, or contact us on 0845 459 5418 to discuss your plans for a bespoke transport refrigeration unit. Our friendly experts are here to help!
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