A good call: knowing your options in transport refrigeration

25th July 2019

These days the fleet manager is presented with a wide array of transport refrigeration options. In fact with so much choice it can be a challenge to be sure you’re consistently selecting the right technology for the right vehicle, power source, and journey type.

That’s why it helps when an equipment manufacturer details its range and shows how this can apply to your business – which is exactly what we’ve done.

From ice to innovation

It was only in 1940 that Fred Jones (the founder of Thermo King) received a patent for the ‘Model A’ – the first transport refrigeration unit. Up until then, access to fresh food was based on how close you were to the source of production – or large blocks of ice (a trade started by Frederic ‘Ice King’ Tudor in 1806).

Since then, a series of landmark innovations have introduced a host of different options into the mix. As a result, the modern cold chain continues to evolve. Changing capabilities, customer expectations, and government regulations are the driving forces – which in turn puts the pressure on fleet managers to get their investments right.

Asking the right questions

For any cold chain distributor, the ideal refrigeration solution incorporates all the features they need to complete their day-to-day tasks. That means finding answers to a number of key questions:

  • What are the typical journeys involved?
  • Will these be made at night, in urban areas, or over long distances?
  • What types of vehicle are in the fleet; electric, natural gas, conventional diesel or hybrid?
  • What regulations do I need to comply with?
  • Where do I stand on purchasing price versus Total Cost of Ownership?

Putting options on the table

Flexibility is obviously an important consideration. That’s because the modern cold chain calls for a portfolio of technologies to be deployed (low noise/emission options for the inner city versus long-haul distribution being an obvious example).

Which is why Thermo King has gone to great lengths to create a product portfolio that’s big on choice, and on giving customers cooling technologies that fit perfectly with both their budget and assignment:

Hybrid ranges

Thermo King offers the industry’s first true hybrid trailer unit to extend the benefits of both diesel and electric power. By dynamically switching between modes, the technology helps transporters adapt to both urban low emission zones and the requirements of the open road.

Range included:

SLXi Hybrid

All-electric ranges

Thermo King is leading the market in developing all-electric solutions that are compatible with diesel and electric vehicles. These are units designed to deliver true constant capacity independent of vehicle operation, as well as plug and play installation and intelligent power management.

Range included:



Conventional diesel ranges

These include products for trailers, trucks, and smaller commercial vehicles. Technology with single- and multi-temperature cooling options, designed for ultimate autonomy, carefree installation and use, and solid performance.

Ranges that include:

SLXi-Series for trailers

T-Series and UT-Series  for trucks

Direct Drive ranges

Flexible systems for smaller delivery vehicles, whether single- or multi-compartment, which help ensure tight temperature control even with multiple delivery drops. Add in low noise/low emission features, and you have the ideal solution for last mile operations.

Ranges that include:



Alternator technology ranges

The Frigoblock line of refrigeration units for trailers and trucks draws its power from an alternator integrated into the belt drive of the vehicle engine. This means that the unit itself runs on all-electric power, resulting in high capacity, low emissions, and almost zero maintenance costs.

Ranges that include:



DK- Series


CryoTech ranges

A system that uses liquid carbon dioxide as fuel – sourced from recycled waste gas, to generate zero net emissions. The result is a whisper quiet solution with unrivalled performance, and that gives vehicles access to restricted zones both night and day.

Range included:


Find your perfect option

Our brief summary of the Thermo King and Frigoblock product ranges (hopefully) show that if nothing else, you’ll never be short of options. The challenge for many of our customers however is in finding the perfect blend.

That’s why we always recommend you first talk to your specialist dealer to explore both what you need and why you need it. With access to such expert advice, you can be confident of making the right call every time.