When disaster strikes and your critical transport refrigeration unit stops working, what can be done?

Repairing a reefer unit takes time, plus an inconvenient patch-up can seriously impact scheduling efforts, profits and more. With regular maintenance, the nightmare of unforeseen transport unit failures and spoiled freight can largely be eliminated.

A basic overview of how a modern transport refrigeration unit works will help explain why regular maintenance is so important.

How Your Transport Refrigeration System Works

All refrigeration systems control temperature, but an effective refrigeration unit also accounts for humidity and air movement to preserve perishables in a controlled environment. This is all done through the synergistic actions of four critical system components. These are as follows:

  • The Cooling Coil (Evaporator) – This integral piece of the refrigeration puzzle serves as the main surface that hot air from the cooled environment comes into contact with. Vaporized refrigerant is in constant circulation within a properly functioning evaporator, dispersing thermal energy as it accumulates.
  • The Compressor – This component moves your refrigeration unit’s internal cooling agent around and compresses it before it reaches the condenser.
  • The Condenser – Within the condenser, heated refrigerant is cooled until it changes from a vapor to a liquid.
  • An Expansion Device (Refrigerant Metering Device) – After the refrigerant has made it through the condenser, it’s released into this component, which creates a drop in pressure before the refrigerant is allowed into the cooling coil.

The above components should all be maintained to keep your refrigeration device in prime operating condition. This is especially true for units used in transit.

Mobile Refrigeration Units

In the case of mobile refrigeration devices, a sudden failure to operate correctly can bring about catastrophic results — often ruining delicate perishables in the process.

The best way to avoid sudden refrigeration failures out on the road is to establish and implement a consistent maintenance plan for all of your devices.

Benefits of regular transport refrigeration maintenance:

1. No Need to Worry About the Alternator

Arriving at a loading bay on time only to find your reefer unit fails to start up can seriously harm your delivery time and reputation.

A bad alternator is an easy issue to detect and repair when you don’t need it to work at that very moment. However, an alternator malfunction at an inconvenient time can put entire containers of sensitive products in jeopardy, leading to high costs and stressful insurance claims. 

Regular maintenance ensures your unit’s alternator can consistently charge its battery as needed.

2. Compressor Oil Is Always Optimised

As your refrigeration unit is put to use, its integrated compressor will need its oil to be regularly renewed. Bad oil leads to excessive friction among the compressor’s moving parts, and this friction can cause the compressor to fail entirely — long before it should.

When an oil change is in order for your unit’s compressor, our experts at Iceman perform the necessary pump down procedure and replace the old, used oil with appropriate new oil. This keeps your reefer device running at optimal levels for much longer.

3. Fuel System Is Cleaned and Inspected

If your unit’s fuel system becomes too dirty with use, it can lead to supply issues that can result in intermittent failure, leading to lost freight and high costs. Keeping the fuel system clean and purged of all debris is essential for extending the service life of your reefer unit.

4. Refrigerant Leaks are Located and Patched Proactively

During preventive maintenance procedures, your refrigeration unit is checked for common refrigerant problems such as blockage and leaking.

Specifically, the refrigerant level is assessed and any leaks that may exist are located, then repaired before your unit is put to work with valuable freight.

5. No More Unexpected Breakdowns

Anything can happen when freight travels from point A to point B. Truck engine failures, tire blowouts and more make delivery a tricky trade by default. However, the addition of perishable products protected by an unpredictable reefer unit can make for far too many headaches.

Having a regular maintenance schedule ensures your units are ready for use before any major issues have a chance to occur. This preventive maintenance approach results in lower service-related expenses in the long run.

Not only does preventive maintenance save you from most unexpected breakdowns, but it also helps you maintain a good track record with your clients and others in the supply chain by reducing freight-handling mistakes across the board. Faulty refrigeration units can be repaired or replaced before they do more permanent damage to your brand and reputation.

Choosing regular, preventive maintenance over reactionary, on-demand repair can spare you and your company a lot in lost profits and needless nuisances. Reach out to our team here at Iceman to learn how your business can benefit from our scheduled maintenance services.

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