Drilling into the refrigerated transport sphere reveals a high level of telematics sophistication exemplified by Carrier’s eSolutions platform, which also enables operators to intelligently monitor connected refrigeration systems from anywhere in the world.
The system provides vital information for producers, drivers, transport managers and retailers on the products being transported and the vehicles transporting them. Accessible via desktop, smartphone or tablet, the eSolutions software offers operators 24/7 access to valuable data on their refrigeration systems, including:
- Remote temperature monitoring
- Two-way operational management and control
- Capability in-depth service and utilisation reports
- Operational alarms
There are two options on Carrier’s eSolutions platform service packages, Access and Premium. The Access package supplies fleet managers with the relevant features for their business, including temperature monitoring, geo-localisation, service and utilisation reports. The Premium package additionally provides the possibility to control the unit at a distance and gives additional access to functions relating to service and regulation.
Each package is fully accessible through a standard web browser and includes the installation of the box embedded into the refrigeration unit to collect, share and analyse all cold chain data.
According to Carrier Transicold, reefer telematics can help food processors, trucking operations and grocery retail operations maintain end-to-end cold chain integrity. The company says more fleets are taking advantage of telematics systems to control transport refrigeration equipment from a central location, including changing cargo temperature profiles and set points, and making adjustments as needed whilst the cargo is in transit.
These systems also enable customers to apply telematics capabilities to provide records for tracking and traceability purposes. Fleets can remotely and intelligently monitor and download temperature data reports from anywhere in the world via a desktop, smartphone or tablet, and share information with key cold chain stakeholders without having to collect data onsite at the point of delivery. This provides vital information for producers, drivers, transport managers and retailers on the products being transported and the vehicles transporting them.
According to Carrier Transicold, the additional demands COVID-19 has placed on cold-chain networks have been met by these systems in assuring consistent supply availability for the likes of supermarkets and other retail food outlets during the pandemic.
Greater connectivity can improve efficiency and reduce waste for the entire cold chain, helping food and pharmaceuticals safely reach the consumers who need them. It can also help transport operators better manage shifts in demand, like those recently seen between food service and food retail.
The crucial link
An operator who appreciates the value of Carrier Transicold’s eSolutions technology in ensuring cold chain integrity is Simon Fraser, owner of Link Cold Storage and Transport based at Wangaratta in country Victoria.
The company runs a fleet of refrigerated semi-trailers and delivery vans servicing clients in Victoria and New South Wales, transporting the likes of hanging meat as well as chilled and frozen palletised products.
Having certification for food transportation standards including HACCP, Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and PrimeSafe, Simon says the ability to constantly monitor the temperature in each trailer and van is crucial to the operation of the business.
“It certainly gives you more power and control within the business because you’re eliminating the mistakes that people can make,” says Simon. “It enables you to have more than one set of eyes watching one truck, one fridge and one temperature, in our game temperature is everything.”
Simon explains that in addition to temperature monitoring he uses Carrier’s eSolutions platform to glean information such as geographical location and as an early warning system for potential problems that could pop up.
“It also gives us peace of mind in that we can prove to customers that while their product was in our care the correct temperature was consistently maintained,” he says. “We can send that information to the client in PDF form and it puts their mind at ease.”
Conversely, Simon says, it provides a record of accountability along the cold chain, particularly in the case of a product not being within its correct temperature range when picked up.
“In that case we can prove to the customer that the product was hot when it was loaded, and we have done this with a customer who subsequently accepted that this wasn’t our fault. This can be proven on the spot, before the truck even gets home, which instantly takes the doubt out of the situation.”
According to Simon, the information also enables the company to help its customers with their product handling procedures, given the temperature information at the point of loading is readily available.
“For our peace of mind, we quite often download the information and have a look at what’s happening with our loads and if we see a discrepancy we can talk with the customer and help them improve their practices. It helps us work with our customers to get the best results for everyone.”
The company’s Volvo prime movers are equipped with Dynafleet monitoring systems which track the vehicles and also provide operational data on how the vehicle is being driven.
The data captured on trailer health is intended to also enable fleet operators to more easily comply with regional or national regulations related to road safety. Whether it be monitoring axle weights, trailer refrigeration temperatures or tyre pressures, the latest technology in trailer telematics enables these and many more data sets to be monitored by operators via a computer screen or device from any location in the world.