Thermo King, provider of transport temperature control solutions for a variety of mobile applications and a brand of Ingersoll Rand, has launched the SLXi Hybrid, a refrigeration unit for semi-trailer applications designed for lower environmental impact and reduced operating costs. Initially introduced as a technology concept in 2016, the new unit is now officially available as part of the SLXi portfolio.
The Thermo King SLXi Hybrid uses a Frigoblock EnviroDrive package. This package includes a generator installed on the tractor engine and an inverter-drive system to provide constant electric power and operate in electric mode both when connected to a three-phase power supply at the loading dock and while driving on the road. The technology allows for all deliveries to be performed with the refrigeration unit's diesel engine turned off for minimum impact on the cities' or stores' environments. This offers a unique flexibility to transport companies, as the diesel engine can be restarted whenever needed and allows the unit to keep its full autonomy at all times.
"The SLXi Hybrid is a truly innovative technology that answers our customers' demand for solutions that will give them easier access to restricted, low-emission urban areas while lowering their environmental footprint and operating costs in the same time," said Laurent Debias, product management leader at Thermo King and Frigoblock."With this new hybrid technology our customers can create a truly flexible long haul and urban distribution refrigeration fleet for all their semi-trailer applications."
For even more operational flexibility, the new hybrid technology from Thermo King and Frigoblock can be applied to a SLXi trailer fleet already in operation. One tractor can pull different trailers operating in hybrid mode and customers can easily upgrade their existing fleet with the hybrid mode capability at one of the hundreds Thermo King authorised dealers and service centres across Europe.
Thermo King and Frigoblock closely cooperated with their German dealer EURAM and MJ Transport GmbH from Dortmund to conduct thorough, real life testing of the unit. For the last few months the tractor and a semi-trailer equipped with the SLXi Hybrid system has been transporting frozen and temperature sensitive fresh products and plants between Germany, The Netherlands and Belgium.
"We are a family-owned company which believes that ecology and economy should go hand in hand and we've always combined sustainability with efficiency of our operations," said Thomas Sadowski, CEO of MJ Transport GmbH.
"Thermo King is a company that leads and accelerates the innovation in the transport refrigeration market. We believe in the future and always want to be one step ahead," said Max Sadowski COO of MJ Transport GmbH. "This is why we were happy to partner with them and EURAM to take part in testing of the latest innovation, the new SLXi Hybrid unit,"
In result, MJ Transport reported that during the eight weeks of testing, the semi-trailer unit needed to be refueled only once in comparison to an average refueling cadence of every 1.5 to 2 weeks in case of a standard refrigeration unit. In the same time, the customer experienced only 0,6 liter increase in the fuel consumption of the tractor for every 100 kilometers.
Furthermore, continuous high-capacity operation of the unit provided very accurate temperature control and better air circulation. This created ideal conditions in the temperature controlled compartment for the transportation of sensitive products and proved to be a cost effective advantage in the shipment of plants and flowers.