GPS Fleet Tracking Refrigerated Trucks
Vehicle Tracking With Temperature Monitoring
While there is a wide range of applications you might consider for a GPS fleet tracker or fleet tracking software, all too often we may think of a very specific type of use, where a fleet GPS tracking system is used to keep track of each vehicle, sometimes in tandem with a fleet tracking app. The truth is, however, that tracking devices can often do much more than what most businesses realize or expect, including working in tandem with a temperature sensor to make sure that refrigerated trucks work optimally, for instance.
Let’s take some time here to better examine how an asset tracking solution with a temperature sensor feature can help make your fleet GPS tracking system and fleet tracking software (including potentially a fleet tracking app) work even more efficiently for you, your fleet manager, and your business.
Refrigerated Truck (What Is It?)
Of course, in order to see how each of those pieces work, we first have to agree on why a temperature and humidity sensor might be an important part of your fleet GPS tracking system. In particular, using a temperature sensor with a GPS fleet tracker or fleet tracking app can help businesses that use a refrigerated truck (or several) as part of their fleet can help them work more efficiently.
Not all refrigerated trucks are created equal, either. Refrigerated or reefer trucks (as they’re sometimes called by those in the business) aren’t the only climate-controlled transportation options available, for instance; reefer trailers, refrigerated vans, reefer units are all available, as well, and it may be that you need frozen storage (as opposed to refrigerated storage). Similarly, there are different methods of keeping stored items cold for transport: Liquid nitrogen, dry ice, vacuum drying, for instance, are all common methods for cold transport, especially when it comes to air cargo.
For our purposes in this article, however, we’ll consider all of the above as instances of a refrigerated truck, which we’ll define loosely as any vehicle that is used to transport cold climate-controlled cargo, especially those that use a temperature sensor to help ensure their cargo is kept at an appropriate temperature. We will also explain how battery-powered and hard-wired heavy equipment asset trackers can help businesses with cold chain monitoring!
How Do Refrigerated Trucks Work?
Different types of cooling methods work in different ways. Many of the most common refrigerated trucks, though, use a refrigerator compressor run by truck-generated power. In general, there are usually three parts to the system:
- A compressor, condenser, and evaporator—each of which can be either powered by the truck itself (when the truck is running) or a secondary generator;
- A generator, which allows for powering the compressor when the truck itself is not running;
- The insulated box compartment (often the full trailer or bed) is kept cool by the compressor, condenser, and evaporator system.
Some newer models may include a solar panel in addition to or in place of the generator, but the general idea remains the same.
That said, let’s look more closely at the compressor, condenser, and evaporator system—the system that runs the actual refrigeration process in a refrigerated or reefer truck. Either a small engine or generator powers the compressor or the truck’s power does; regardless, the compressor works to liquefy refrigerant gas. That process, however, gives off pressure and heat; the process of exchanging that heat falls to the condenser, which uses tubing and fins to cool air drawn through the condenser fan, similar to how a radiator works in a car engine. By the time the refrigerant makes its way to the evaporator, it has given up most of its heat; in the evaporator, it expands back into a gas. In doing so, it absorbs heat. And this whole three-part process is repeated as needed in order to keep the entire insulated cabinet at the desired temperature, which is in part regulated by a temperature sensor.
This general process is the same regardless of whether it is refrigerated transport or frozen transport; the only real difference between the two is the temperature at which goods are transported. (Refrigerated storage is usually kept between 37-41 degrees Fahrenheit; frozen storage is usually kept closer to freezing, no warmer than 34 degrees Fahrenheit.) All of this is done with the help of a temperature sensor that helps the system know when the compressor needs to run in order to keep the cargo at the specified temperature.
Of course, all of this can be done more efficiently with the help of a GPS fleet tracker and a corresponding fleet GPS tracking system, and fleet tracking software or fleet tracking app. Check out our top 7 benefits of real time GPS trackers in refrigerated trucks!
Top 7 Benefits Of GPS Trackers In Refrigerated Trucks
- Geo Fencing. One benefit of using a GPS fleet tracker is helping ensure that your fleet vehicles don’t go beyond their agreed-upon route boundaries. Geo-fencing can help ensure that doesn’t happen, providing alerts to fleet tracking software or a fleet tracking app when vehicles go outside their areas. As a result, a fleet GPS tracking system can help ensure your refrigerated trucks are staying within their delivery boundaries, ensuring you’re not wasting power keeping cargo cooler for longer than necessary.
- Speed Alerts. Ensuring your drivers don’t speed beyond recognized limits can also help with fuel efficiency, which combined with a temperature sensor and other tools, can help ensure that your refrigerated trucks are running optimally. This is yet one more way a fleet GPS tracking system—and an individual GPS fleet tracker for each vehicle—can help you save money in the long haul.
- Route Management. In addition to helping ensure your drivers’ routes are designed to minimize traffic disruption, some fleet tracking software may even be able to help drivers use data from their temperature sensor to develop routes that help them keep their cargo cooler with less energy expenditure, such as delivering to the hottest parts of their route during cooler times of the day. Many businesses are pleasantly surprised by how much a GPS fleet tracker for each vehicle, combined with fleet tracking software (including, perhaps, a fleet tracking app) and a fleet GPS tracking system, can overhaul their route management.
- Increased Productivity. With better route management and route optimization, companies can handle more work in the same amount of time—by some estimates of as much as 20-30% more work. Fleet tracking software can help businesses in the refrigerated truck game outcompete their competitors, especially if used in combination with effective temperature sensor programs.
- Lesser Fuel Costs. An additional benefit of optimized route management—and optimized temperature sensor programs—courtesy of a fleet GPS tracking system and fleet tracking software is decreased fuel costs, which is often one of the biggest operating expenses for transportation businesses and organizations with a large fleet.
- Decreased Labor Costs. Optimized route management and better scheduling may mean drivers who utilize a GPS fleet tracker need to work fewer hours for the same work and consequently can do more work with the same hours. As a result, overall labor costs decrease with the use of a fleet GPS tracking system and fleet tracking software or fleet tracking app.
- Better Customer Service. With a fleet tracking app, businesses can provide regular updates on delivery times and more, meaning using a fleet GPS tracking system and fleet tracking software can help ensure shorter delivery times and better customer service. In fact, drivers who use a real time GPS with wireless temperature monitoring or a fleet tracker app are almost 50% more likely to deliver within promised delivery windows.
Refrigerated Truck Temperature Range
In general, refrigerated cargo needs to be kept between the temperatures of 37-41 degrees Fahrenheit to help ensure that it does not freeze but also does not get too warm. Cooler temperatures are obviously required for frozen storage, and that’s where a temperature sensor plays a major role in helping ensure that the compressor is active when it needs to be to keep the refrigerated truck’s internal storage temperature in the appropriate range for the cargo being transported.
What Does A Temperature Sensor Do?
A temperature sensor can work for more than just a refrigerated truck, even if that’s been our focus so far. For instance, your car likely has an engine coolant temperature sensor, and that temperature sensor helps ensure your car (or any other vehicle, for that matter) runs smoothly.
The coolant temperature sensor works by measuring the temperature given off by either the engine thermostat or the coolant itself. The sensor then sends that data to the on-board control system, which uses that information to adjust engine operation (including potentially turning on the cooling fan or changing the fuel mixture, for instance) as needed to keep engine temperature optimal.
If the car temperature sensor goes bad, however, problems can arise, such as an overheated engine. Most of the time if a temperature sensor stops working, the check engine light will come on. That isn’t always the case, however. If the temperature sensor failure doesn’t trip the check engine light, you’ll have to hope you catch it before real problems arise as a result.
How Do I Know If My Temperature Sensor Is Bad?
A visual inspection can help, and as noted previously, a bad temperature sensor should trigger your check engine light. Temperature sensors do need to be replaced periodically and should be part of your general maintenance schedule—something with which a GPS fleet tracker can help.
And truthfully, this is yet another reason to consider using fleet tracking software or fleet tracking app and a fleet GPS tracking system. A good fleet GPS tracking system should include maintenance schedules, which by nature will include regular checks and updates of your temperature sensor and other mechanical components as needed.
Can A Temp Sensor Affect Engine Starting?
Yes. If your temperature sensor is faulty, it can keep the engine from starting. For instance, a defective crank sensor might result in a failure to note engine rotation—and that in turn might result in the onboard computer system shutting off the fuel pump, keeping the engine from actually working.
Similarly, if you note that you can keep the car running by repeatedly pumping the gas pump, the problem may be a faulty coolant temperature sensor. Let us explain. Your coolant temperature sensor helps your engine determine the correct cold-start air/fuel mixture based on the engine (or engine coolant) temperature and outside air temperature, but if the coolant temperature sensor records the wrong temperature, one of the potential problems is an air/fuel mixture mixed too lean, which may be why the only way to keep your engine running is to repeatedly pump the gas.
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Matthew is a freelance writer who is passionate about technology, music, photography, and decentralized finance.
- GPS Fleet Tracking Refrigerated Trucks