Top 9 Benefits of Regularly Servicing your Refrigerated Transport Unit
Arguably, what makes the cold chain transport industry stand out from the rest is that it is considered a “mission-critical” service. Some may think of this as an exaggeration, but the truth is that any failure in the refrigeration unit can compromise the temperature required by HACCP for food safety and disrupt the whole cold chain. Due to its critical role, it comes as no surprise that regular servicing of your refrigerated transport unit should be standard practice in the industry.
In this article, we will explore the Top 9 Benefits of Regularly Servicing Your Refrigerated Transport Unit, starting with the most evident of all.
1. Increases Reliability
High reliability is crucial when it comes to your transport refrigeration unit. The importance of a trustworthy refrigeration unit is equivalent to having a reliable power supply at cold storage locations. However, unlike other mission-critical services, having a “back-up refrigeration unit” installed alongside the main one is not always possible. Ensuring that your refrigeration unit is dependable is the obvious solution to this.
Regularly servicing your refrigerated transport unit achieves that goal. Statistically speaking, mechanical and electrical systems are less prone to fail when they are serviced in a timely manner. Increased reliability has a direct impact in reducing unforeseen downtime, which is precisely the next benefit to discuss.
2. Reduces Unnecessary Downtime
Breakdowns will happen. That’s inevitable. Electrical and mechanical systems will fail sooner or later, however, regularly servicing your refrigerated unit will help in keeping unexpected downtimes to a minimum.
Following a scheduled maintenance program will allow you to detect common refrigeration unit problems in time, and plan ahead to resolve the issue before it becomes a major problem. That benefit alone should be enough to implement a scheduled maintenance program on all your transport refrigeration units.
Trust is an invaluable asset in the refrigeration transport industry. If you repeatedly fail your deliveries of refrigerated products, you can quickly gain a bad reputation and consequently, you may be excluded from a list of reliable carriers. Fewer “unexpected” breakdowns safeguard the client’s trust in your service. Another side benefit of reduced downtime is to do with the total cost of ownership. TCO is so important that it deserves a bullet point of its own.
3. Decreases Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
Taking into account that by 2026 it’s estimated that the refrigerated transport market will exceed US $25.3 Billion, it’s normal to expect great competition within it. Therefore, costs and efficiency are crucial aspects to consider in order to succeed.
By regularly servicing your refrigerated transport unit, you can achieve a lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). There are multiple reasons that contribute to decreasing TCO, however, the most notable are closely related to the points discussed above.
Higher reliability and fewer unforeseen breakdowns have a huge impact on your transport unit TCO. Let’s suppose that your scheduled maintenance program includes changing engine oil and the unit’s belts. Doing so may prevent a breakdown during a delivery which would undoubtedly bring many additional costs, logistics, personnel time to attend the emergency and so on.
4. Achieves Better Resale Value
Higher resale value is commonly overlooked as a direct benefit of regularly servicing your transport refrigeration unit. Whilst it is true that the refrigeration unit is typically sold with the vehicle it’s installed in, it’s also true that keeping it in good condition adds resale value. After all, potential buyers are inspecting the vehicle for its ability to fulfill its job & purpose, this being refrigerating its cargo. If the unit is not in good condition, it will be difficult to obtain a good resale price. Worse yet, you may find that no one is interested in purchasing your vehicle.
5. Improves Fuel Efficiency
Without any doubt, fuel consumption has a huge influence on the running costs of the transportation industry. In the case of refrigerated transport units, the impact of fuel efficiency might be even higher depending on the type of unit you have installed. That’s why to understand this point it’s essential to make a distinction between direct-drive units and diesel-powered units. Although regular servicing of your refrigerated transport unit will boost fuel efficiency in both scenarios, fuel cost savings will be more prominent on direct-drive units. The reason is simple, direct-drive units use the vehicle’s engine to drive the compressor. This means that engines lacking proper maintenance will be severely affected by the additional load and thus will have a negative impact on fuel efficiency as well as the refrigeration performance.
6. Extends Unit's Lifespan
Another positive effect of regular servicing of your refrigerated unit is extending its lifespan. Like any other electro/mechanical system, refrigeration units wear over time. However, a formal preventative maintenance program will keep key components in optimal condition drastically reducing abrasion, over/under pressure, improper lubrication and other common problems caused by lack of proper maintenance. It’s a known fact that refrigeration systems working at their peak efficiency, will offer better cooling performance and last longer.
7. Creates a Compliant Maintenance Record
Documenting preventative maintenance jobs and thus creating a compliant maintenance record will bring more benefit than you may think. Besides complying with local regulations & guidelines, you will also be able to track maintenances evolution and parts replacement history that will greatly ease the internal and/or external audit processes. Additionally, the ability to access maintenance information helps to manage equipment warranty, technical service assistance and even refrigerated transport insurance terms.
8. Reduces Pollution Levels
Regularly servicing your transport refrigeration unit reduces pollution levels, which is a large advantage considering current and future laws focused on protecting the environment. Reducing pollution in refrigeration units can be double the challenge as it has to do with lowering CO2 emission levels, but also with reducing the risk of possible refrigerant leaks in the system. Both aspects are equally important since both harm the ozone layer. For example, 1kg of leaked R404a refrigerant has the equivalent Global Warming Potential (GWP) of 3.92t.
As discussed earlier in the article, regular servicing of your refrigerated transport unit improves fuel efficiency thus lowers CO2 emissions. However, a well designed scheduled maintenance program should also include regular leak tests and refrigerant pressure tests to keep the refrigeration unit in optimal condition allowing the system to work as intended. Avoiding refrigerant leaks will maintain optimal cooling performance and reduce the potential risk of undesirable refrigerant pollution.
9. Saves You Money
Throughout this article, you may have noticed that regularly servicing your refrigerated transport unit can actually save you a lot of money. By reducing unexpected downtime, preventing major corrective repairs in favour of minor predictable routine maintenances, lowering fuel costs and avoiding breaking environmental regulations (and thus paying fines) you are saving money.
Regularly servicing your refrigerated transport unit is not an expense but an investment.
A reliable refrigerated transport unit capable of delivering perishable goods on time is the ideal paramount of any carrier in the cold chain transport industry. Without any doubt, regularly servicing your refrigerated transport unit is the best way to ensure your business complies with cold chain high standards of being ready every single day of the year 24/7 without having “unexpected” downtimes.
Tailored Service Maintenance Programs
ATR offers fleet service maintenance solutions tailored to your company’s requirements in the refrigerated transport industry. Including off-site repairs & servicing, 24/7 national breakdown service & more. We can even arrange for dedicated technician to be placed on your site upon request.