Keeping it cool – Past, Present, and Future

25th April 2019

Thermo King and Frigoblock have a long tradition of helping customers access the technologies they need to sustain an effective cold chain – and we’re not finished yet!

Let’s face it: few consumers give much thought as to how their seafood or fresh fruit arrived from lands far away in near perfect condition. Yet in truth, it was only half a century ago that companies were still earning money selling large cubes of ice to factories and the rich!

Today of course we have global cold chains featuring networks of refrigerators, cold stores, freezers, and cold boxes – arranged to ensure perishable foods remain in prime condition throughout the storage, transportation, and distribution phases.

A fully integrated cold chain that began with the innovations in portable air-cooling units for trucks – patented by the founder of Thermo King, Fred Jones in 1938.

The origins of staying cool

It’s doubtful however that even a forward thinker like Jones would have envisaged the scale of innovation his company has delivered in the last 80 years. Or a global cold chain market that’s anticipated to reach $381 billion by 2025.

Equally, he wouldn’t have predicted Thermo King joining forces with Frigoblock. Founded in Essen in 1978, Frigoblock is another company with a proud heritage of product innovation – going back 40 years.

80 + 40 = 120 years of market-leading research and development, and we like to think that we’re only just getting started!

A tradition of industry firsts: innovation in the past

The origin stories for both companies are full of stand out products that have been instrumental in radically changing the cold chain landscape, including:

  • 1938: the first ever transport refrigeration unit
  • 1955: the first bus HVAC system
  • 1956: the first marine system
  • 1966: the first intermodal service: rail and track

What’s more, these are industry firsts designed to expand the choice of transportation mode. Hence why Thermo King launched refrigeration systems for small trucks and vans (in 1971); why Frigoblock introduced alternator-based multi-temperature truck refrigeration (in 1984); and why it was also at the forefront in inverter technology (2013).

Staying relevant: innovation in the present

Not that our innovations stop there. Fast-forward to more modern times and you’ll still find us leading the way with even more revolutionary thinking:

  • 1994: the first units to use low GWP refrigerant R-410A
  • 1997: the first refrigeration unit to use recycled CO2
  • 2000: the first refrigeration unit with combined diesel/electric drive
  • 2016: the first hybrid refrigeration solution for trailers

Then there’s today, and our combined portfolio that features the best in electric, hybrid, Cryotech, and diesel technologies – as well as the latest in GPS geofencing, and telematics. Solutions that help further a sustainability agenda (think R-452A refrigerant etc.), and meet customer expectations for low emissions and low noise capabilities.

Preparing for the challenges ahead: innovation in the future

Throughout these 120 years of innovation, our goal has been to help maintain global cold chains that in their totality have become a truly intricate science. Our goal now is to look ahead a further 120 years, and to continue our proud heritage of ‘industry firsts’.

That’s why we continue to invest in a number of areas, including:

  • Intermodal refrigeration on new routes
  • Long-distance electric units
  • Intelligent data services and real-time information analysis
  • Advanced driver assistance capabilities
  • Clean energy solutions

The result is a constant stream of new products, as demonstrated by our latest releases: the all-electric E-200 unit, the T-560R unit, and the Prisma Evaporator. So whatever challenges the future brings, Thermo King is already working on the solution!

Consider all the possibilities

With Thermo King and Frigoblock you have 80 + 40 = 120 years on innovations and expertize to call upon. From our marine product range to telematics, truck, and trailer solutions, our goal is to help you stay ahead of the competition – and to ensure your operation has access to the very latest in cold chain capabilities.

It’s about technology you can trust, and proven tools and units that can be relied upon to keep your loads in prime condition – no matter how long or arduous the journey. For more information on Thermo King’s range of solutions, visit our website.