Refrigerated trucks, or “reefer” trucks are essential for transporting food across the U.S. They allow us to enjoy a huge variety of food, right at our local grocery store.
However, the process isn’t without its challenges. If you’re involved in maintaining a cold chain, whether as a supplier, carrier, or retailer, you’ll need to be aware of what can go wrong. Temperatures can change quickly depending on the circumstances, leading to unsafe loads of perishable food. Each of these problems can be solved by having a proper temperature monitoring system in place for every reefer truck that’s used.
1. Outside temperatures
As reefer trucks embark on their journey, they likely encounter many different temperatures. Even a few hours of travel can mean the difference between cold mountain air and a beating Arizona sun. These outside heat sources can affect the interior temperature of the truck/trailer even when it’s refrigerated. That’s why it’s important to have a reliable monitoring system properly determine if the refer was able to deal with unexpected heat.
2. Respiratory temperature changes
Plants respirate by taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. This process naturally produces heat and can even warm up the temperature of a reefer truck. It’s especially important to remember that certain types of produce, such as strawberries, respirate at a higher rate than others, such as potatoes. These different rates of respiration must always be taken into account and controlled by a properly installed designed and monitored system in order to keep food safe.
3. Infiltrative heat
Temperature monitoring is about more than the electronic end of the system. Any cracks, holes, or broken seals in the structure of the truck/trailer can cause issues and affect the overall temperature. It’s also important to load and unload products from/into refrigerated docks to maintain cold chain integrity.
4. Only load pre-cooled products
Reefer trucks are not meant to cool down products that are too warm: instead the goal is to keep perishables at the loading temperature. The intenal (pulp) temperature of the products should always be checked before they are loaded onto the vehicle. Otherwise, even if the truck does its job perfectly, the cargo could still be at risk.
5. Data entry errors
The time-honored “pencil and clipboard” procedure for recording temperatures is well an truly obsolete. Entering data even a few degrees off causes confusion and second-guessing when monthly trends are reviewed. Electronic monitoring systems eliminate data entry errors.
6. Equipment malfunction
Having a problem with your refrigeration equipment can cause big issues. When any of the above heating problems flare up, they can’t be avoided unless they are noticed in the first place by the monitoring system.
The good news is that our NFC Lightning temperature monitoring system can help avoid many of these dangerous pitfalls. It’s fast, reliable, and relies on NFC technology that eliminates the many problems associated with traditional temperature monitoring systems. To learn more about implementing the Lightning NFC system, feel free to give us a call at (800) 338-8134.