Procuro PIMM™ Cold Chain Management System provides “end to end visibility” for your cold chain. Our system monitors, analyzes and manages the entire distribution process from supplier plants, 3rd party carriers, 3rd party cold storage/distribution centers, outbound delivery fleet and in-store cold storage.
In the next few articles, we will be highlighting the best practices for refrigerated transportation, divided by stages.
Pre-Cooling Trailer Process.
Pre-cooling of trailers is the single most important part of the distribution process. It is imperative that every trailer has to be pre-cooled before the loading process.
Loading a warm trailer with the refrigerated product will result in a transfer of thermal energy from the product to the trailer – “warm always wins.” The warmth of the trailer will suck the cold energy out of the product starting the process of thermal inertia.
Newton’s 1st Law of Motion is often referred to as the “Law of Inertia.” Simply stated, “A body in motion tends to stay in motion unless acted on by an outside force.” The warm trailer is the “outside force.”
Locating the Trailer
The Yardman or Yard Jockey needs to find an available trailer that has been assigned to a route. Drivers often drop trailers at a variety of support locations near the yard, i.e. maintenance yard, body shop, reefer repair yard, etc.
Once the Yardman finds the right trailer, it should be relocated to an area within the yard designated for pre-cooling.
Each trailer needs to be clean and clear of any pallets, shipping materials, debris, pests, etc.
The trailer reefer settings should be adjusted by shipper’s compliance requirements, i.e. fresh, frozen or multi-compartment. Pre-cool the entire trailer as a single compartment.
For pre-cooling purposes, the trailer should be pre-cooled to the coldest requirement. For example, if the route calls for a multi-temp load of fresh and frozen – you should pre-cool to the frozen requirement.
Frozen products are typically loaded first in the nose of the trailer, followed by the fresh products. Bulkhead walls are used to separate the compartments and seal off the frozen section. Temperature loss in the rear of the trailer is common since the loading dock is typically a “cool dock” which is consistent for loading fresh products.
Pre-Cooling trailers may take up to an hour or more to maintain stable temperatures. Trailers outfitted with real-time telematics devices can dynamically notify the Yardman that the trailers are now ready to be relocated to the appropriate dock door to begin the loading process.
For those trailers not outfitted with real-time telematics, the Yardman will have to take manual temperatures readings to confirm that the trailer has achieved the proper temperature levels.
Note: Reefer Display readings should not be used to determine the pre-cooling status because they do not accurately portray the compartmental temperatures.
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