Thermo King launches hybrid fridge

Lyon, France: Thermo King’s new SLXi Hybrid trailer fridge uses a Frigoblock EnviroDrive package with a generator installed on the tractor engine and an inverter-drive system to provide constant electric power and operate in electric mode.

Thermo King’s SLXi Hybrid trailer fridge uses a Frigoblock EnviroDrive package with a generator installed on the tractor engine

The technology allows the fridge unit diesel engine to be off for minimal environmental impact. Thermo King first showed the concept at the IAA 2016 show in Hannover, Germany,

“The SLXi Hybrid is a truly innovative technology that answers our customers’ demand for solutions that will give them easier access to restricted, low-emission urban areas while lowering their environmental footprint and operating costs in the same time,” said Laurent Debias, product management leader, Thermo King and Frigoblock.

“With this new hybrid technology our customers can create a truly flexible long haul and urban distribution refrigeration fleet for all their semi-trailer applications.”

The new hybrid technology from Thermo King and Frigoblock can be applied to a SLXi trailer fleet already in operation. One tractor can pull different trailers operating in hybrid mode and customers can easily upgrade their existing fleet, Thermo King says.

Thermo King German dealer Euram with operator, MJ Transport from Dortmund tested a tractor and trailer with the SLXi Hybrid system transporting frozen and chilled food and plants between Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. MJ Transport has 50 vehicles including trailers designed for plant transport and featuring foldable tailgate walls.

MJ Transport reported that during the eight weeks of testing, the trailer fridge needed to be refueled once in comparison to an average refueling cadence of every 1.5 to 2 weeks in case of a standard unit. The tractor’s fuel use increased by 0.6-litres for every 100 kilometers.

Continuous high-capacity operation of the unit provided accurate temperature control and better air circulation. This created ideal conditions in the temperature controlled compartment for the transportation of sensitive products and proved to be a cost effective advantage in the shipment of plants and flowers, Thermo King says.

About the SLXi Hybrid

  • The Thermo King SLXi Hybrid uses a Frigoblock EnviroDrive package, a generator installed on the tractor engine and an inverter-drive system, to provide constant electric power and operate in electric mode both when connected to a three-phase power supply at the loading dock and while driving on the road. This offers a unique flexibility to transport companies, as the diesel engine can be restarted whenever needed and allows the unit to keep its full autonomy at all times.
  • For additional flexibility, the new hybrid technology from Thermo King and Frigoblock can be applied to a SLXi trailer fleet already in operation. Existing trailers can be upgraded with the hybrid mode capability and one tractor can pull different trailers operating in hybrid mode.
  • The SLXi Hybrid combines the efficiency and reliability provided by the Frigoblock water-cooled alternator associated with the power electronics integrated in the EnviroDrive system, without intermediate mechanical of hydraulic devices typically generating additional maintenance constraints.
  • It provides constant power to the refrigeration unit and offers a potential reduction of 5,000 liters of fuel per year in companies with demanding distribution operations.
  • The hybrid drive generates low operating noise allowing customers’ operations in residential areas and other low-noise zones. The hybrid drive enables customers to enter cities with a diesel ban as it can also be installed on a tractor with a natural gas engine.
  • When paired with the Thermo King SLXi Whisper Pro unit, even when the unit’s diesel engine is operating, the system is Piek compliant and allows access to noise restricted inner-city zones.
  • When the unit is running in hybrid mode and using the power coming out of the tractor engine, the refrigeration system does not emit any additional exhaust gases such as nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulate matter (PM), carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrocarbons (HC).
  • R-452A refrigerant lowers the global warming potential (GWP) approximately by half compared to the incumbent R-404A.
  • The SLXi is the industry’s first fully telematics-enabled refrigerated trailer unit, delivering full, 24/7 visibility of the unit and load condition with TK BlueBox communication device and Bluetooth connection as standard. The unit can also be accessed and managed remotely from anywhere in the world through an internet connection as part of the Thermo King TracKing offering.  The geo-location feature automatically switches the power between diesel and hybrid mode as required or necessary.
  • Set point control and temperature displays provide accuracy in increments of 0.1 degrees C.


Stef expands northern European base

Paris, France: Stef has opened an 8,000m2 extension at its to its Bodegraven site in the Netherlands.

Bodegraven is between Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Utrecht in the middle of the country’s major food consumption area. The €8m extension doubles capacity at the site which is Stef’s main hub for transport and logistics in the Netherlands.

Stef has ramped up activities in the Netherlands, now grouped under a single commercial brand. Stef developed its food transport and logistics activities by capitalizing on the know-how of Speksnijder Transport and Vers-Express, acquired respectively in 2014 and 2016, and on its minority interest in Netkocompany.

Stef has a staff of 350 in the Netherlands and nearly 20,000 m2 of warehousing and cross-docking space in three locations:

  • Raalte (northeast): a 2,500-m2 transport and logistics facility for chilled products (+2 / +4°C)
  • Eindhoven (southeast): a 2,000-m2 transport facility for chilled products (+2 / +4°C)
  • Bodegraven (central): a 14,500-m2 transport and logistics platform for chilled and frozen products.

Serge Capitaine, deputy chief executive, Stef, said: “bringing our Dutch business activities under the Stef brand is a logical step forward in the context of our European deployment.”

“Our platforms in Bodegraven, Eindhoven, and Raalte are all interconnected with each other and with the Group’s other locations in Europe, allowing Stef Nederland to offer truly distinct solutions in a demanding market based on dynamic, exportingagrifood businesses.

“Today, we are well-positioned to provide efficient coverage of all production and consumption areas in the Netherlands. By setting up Stef Nederland and investing in the country, we have materialized our ambitions to develop consistant transport and logistics services for fresh and frozen food products in the Netherlands.”

Christian Dooms, managing director, Stef Netherlands, says: “with the new 8,000 m2 extension to its Bodegraven platform, STEF Nederland offers its clients first-class expertise in logistics for fresh food products, thanks to new pooling solutions and 24/48h deliveries anywhere in the Benelux. Benefiting from the unique Stef’s fresh and frozen products pooling network, Stef Nederland helps Dutch operators to access southern Europe markets and European food industries to expand their business in the Netherlands.”

France based Stef’s expansion started in 1989, when it entered the Belgian, Portuguese and Spanish markets. It now operates in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland. It has consolidated its European business presence by building long-term relationships with local partners, acquiring established companies and forming local teams.

Fowler Welch partners with JHP Transport

Spalding, UK: Fowler Welch and JHP Transport (Lanark) have entered a long-term partnership.

JHP has been a subcontractor to Fowler Welch for ten years but the new partnership will provide growth and better value for customers, says John Kerrigan, chief operating officer, Fowler Welch.

“This more formal partnership takes our relationship to the next level and unlocks the ability to offer both our current and new customers a wider range of solutions,” he says.

JHP has been a subcontractor to Fowler Welch for ten years

“Cross dock, consolidation and added value solutions for our ambient and temperature controlled customers can now be unlocked in Scotland as a result of this agreement.”

Jim Prentice, owner, JHP Transport said “Our presence and infrastructure in Scotland will support growth and create a sustainable platform for joint logistics solutions in and out of Scotland for many years to come.

“This agreement, along with the recently awarded Scottish Chilled Distribution Haulier of the Year accolade, represents a fantastic year for us and I must extend my thanks not only to Fowler Welch, but to all of my hard working and very dedicated team here at JHP,” Prentice says.

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