Refrigeration technology for transportation is undergoing the same constant change being experienced in the stationary sector. In a report issued by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) to mark cumulative production of 200,000 refrigeration units that are installed in trucks to transport refrigerated or chilled products, the company pointed to three-dimensional scroll compressors as one of the key changes.

“With conventional scroll compressors, compression is performed by horizontal movement (constant height), two-dimensionally. The 3D scroll system adopts vertical movement (height changes) by introducing steps in the scrolling mechanism, resulting in more than 10 percent higher compression efficiency,” the company said.

Another change has been the addition of more self-powered type of compressors for refrigeration rather than relying on direct-driven types that use power from the vehicle’s engine.

Such moves achieve “reductions in size, weight, power consumption, and noise,” the company said. Yet another innovation is the “development of multi-(dual) temperature control using a refrigerant heating system enabling integral management of multiple cargo compartments (e.g., frozen and chilled products) without the use of heated water,” the company said.

Many of the changes are being done to meet the demands of a market that is highly competitive and maturing.

“Although truck refrigeration units today are widely used for transporting cold and frozen products - from frozen foods to pharmaceuticals and blood serum - market growth is expected to slow as certain markets mature. To compensate, MHI said it plans to conduct marketing to achieve full-scale entrance into the large European market as well as into the markets of China, India and the Middle East, where demand is expected to grow. As the initial step, the company has embarked on the establishment of a sales network in Europe.

MHI entered the truck refrigeration unit business in 1967, and delivered its first unit in 1968. The company began marketing refrigeration units for 8-11 ton trucks, followed by gradual expansion of its product lineup. In 1972, when the market entered a full growth phase, MHI established Ryoju Cold Chain Co., Ltd., a company dedicated to domestic marketing of truck refrigeration units.

MHI’s truck refrigeration unit business encompasses a wide range of vehicles, from small to large trucks, available in both direct-driven and self-powered types. In 2006, the company introduced Japan’s first refrigeration unit for trailers, the TFV 2000D (dubbed Pegasus).

A ceremony to celebrate the 200,000th unit was held this summer at MHI’s Air-Conditioning & Refrigeration Systems headquarters in Kiyosu-city, Japan. The headquarters is called Aichi Prefecture and is the main production plant for its truck and trailer refrigeration units.

Publication Date: 09/03/2007