Thermotopia: are you ready to get involved?

5th November 2018

The IAA trade fair in Hannover this September was another huge affair, and a melting pot for all things mobility, transportation, and logistics. Yet despite all the razzmatazz and news coming out of the show, there was only one question that most delegates really wanted answered: what is Thermotopia?

Yes it was clearly the theme for the booths of Thermo King and Frigoblock, but what else? Is it just a clever play on words? A mystical destination we should all be searching for? Or is it a vision, an idea that’s designed to guide our collective actions as we head into an unknown future…?

The reality of course is that it’s all these things and more. It’s about presenting Thermo King and Frigoblock’s shared vision for the future of refrigerated transport. A platform for imagining the urban environment of tomorrow, and the technologies emerging today that are helping transport companies bring this promise to life.

“Thermotopia is where visitors can discover the technologies that will define the future of not only transport temperature control, but transport altogether.” 
Pauli Johannesen, VP and General Manager Trailer, Truck and Bus for EMEA

Exploring the hot topics

So some pretty ‘big picture’ thinking. Yet at its core Thermotopia is also about highlighting the major challenges faced by the transport industry, and how these are shaping both the commercial environment and customer expectations. Challenges that we pulled together under the four key themes of compliance, connectivity, electrification, and innovation:

Compliance:

  • The growing scrutiny on diesel, and how this is already leading to citywide bans for the fuel inside many European cities
  • Low Emission Zones which restrict access to certain diesel and petrol vehicles (currently there are 220+ EU cities operating or preparing LEZs)
  • The noise pollution agenda, and how this is being translated into PIEK standards, and the Urban Access Regulations (UVARs) being introduced across the EU

Connectivity:

  • The growing need for transport companies to make the most of the data being generated by their fleets to inspire smarter, more cost-efficient operations
  • The ‘always-on’ customer, and using technology to support more responsive and flexible distribution models across the cold chain

Electrification:

  • The fundamental changes occurring to basic component design that is in direct response to the industry’s ‘go-electric’ schedule
  • The new technologies emerging – in particular Thermo King’s all-new E200 unit – that offer a next step in delivering full-electric cooling capabilities

Innovation:

  • The evolution of existing product lines (Frigoblock’s alternator-driven cooling tech etc.) that’s extending our ‘all-electric’ capabilities
  • The introduction of new thinking, new technologies, and new operating principles that are needed to help customers thrive and survive

Getting the conversation started…

So four distinct themes, but that’s not to suggest that Thermotopia is a concept that attempts to bring with it all the answers. Instead, the idea is to stimulate the debate and get people talking. Hence why the theme offered a vision for what ‘good’ will look like in the near future; to show how tomorrow’s challenges are already being met with innovation, and how dealers and customers can work together to turn emerging challenges into unexpected opportunities.

“Thermotopia is where visitors can discover the technologies that will define the future of not only transport temperature control, but transport altogether,” said Pauli Johannesen, Vice President and General Manager for Truck, Trailer and Bus at Thermo King Europe, Middle East and Africa at IIA 2018. “It’s a venue for exploring the solutions that will lead to a sustainable supply chain in Europe, and one that addresses the key issues presented by rapidly increasing traffic congestion, air pollution and noise.”

What’s more, the overall concept provides a framework for you to continue the conversation. Thermotopia hasn’t ended with IAA 2018. Not at all, and indeed future marketing activities will continue to further the vision – while highlighting the fact that Thermo King and Frigoblock continue to invest in product development and market-leading innovation.

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