Protect Your Refrigerated Trailer’s Thermal Efficiency with the Right Specs

A Great Dane refrigerated trailer driving down a highway

The mercury is rising. The tractor’s AC is pushed to the max–but sweat still beads on the driver’s forehead from the scorching sunrays cutting through the windshield. Behind the tractor, a 53-foot refrigerated trailer hauls a load of produce that needs to be kept at a cool 35 degrees Fahrenheit. Now is not the time to worry about your refrigerated trailer’s thermal efficiency.

Thermal integrity is a concern for all reefers, but there are ways you can enhance your reefer’s thermal performance, keeping your temperature-sensitive cargo fresh for longer, reducing refrigeration unit run time, and increasing the lifespan of your equipment. When spec’ing a reefer, there are three areas to consider: insulation quality, trailer lining, and the roof and floor design.

How do you know if your reefer has good insulation?

When a trailer is insulated correctly, the reefer’s cooling unit doesn’t have to work as hard. If a trailer is insulated poorly, the cooling unit’s run time can skyrocket.

Premium reefer insulation should always consider the following:

  • The thickness of the trailer’s insulation
    • A reefer’s insulation thickness should be determined according to its intended operation. For instance, a reefer that is designed to haul produce would need less insulation than a reefer designed to haul ice cream.
  • The trailer’s insulation coverage
    • It’s also important to think about the trailer’s insulation coverage. A key component to proper insulation is distribution of the insulating gas bubbles within the foam insulation of reefer panels. These bubbles are responsible for the actual job of insulation, so in order to prevent heat intrusion, they must be evenly distributed across the entire panel.
  • The insulation foaming process
    • The insulation should be consistently distributed throughout the entire trailer, without any gaps or weak spots.

Why is a reefer liner important?

When spec’ing a reefer, it’s important to consider the trailer’s lining. Due to their permeable nature, traditional liners used in refrigerated trailers do not effectively seal the insulation or offer superior protection against outgassing.

There are two concerns with an ineffective liner:

  • Moisture intrusion caused by a permeable liner can increase overall weight, limiting the load size available over time.
    • Some trailers may gain up to 1,000 pounds in trailer weight over a span of 5-10 years.
  • A traditional liner won’t reduce outgassing.
    • Insulation outgassing advances quickly in the early life of all refrigerated trailers, resulting in a significant loss of insulation performance that continues to decline over the life of the trailer.
    • Reefers can lose up to 25% of insulating capability within the first year from outgassing effects alone, reducing the ability to maintain thermal integrity and also resulting in higher refrigeration fuel costs.

Why is a trailer’s roof and floor design important?

Just as heat escapes through your head and feet, a trailer’s roof and flooring similarly impacts its thermal efficiency. These two surfaces can reduce your thermal efficiency, so they shouldn’t be overlooked.

For optimal thermal efficiency, look for these qualities in a reefer floor and roof:

  • Durability
  • Insulation capabilities
  • Seal against moisture intrusion
  • Wood-free construction

Refrigerated Trailers Need Specific Design Solutions

Thermal efficiency is a critical part of a reefer’s performance. Without the right design, a refrigerated trailer could end up costing your company much more than it should.

Great Dane has been studying this problem for years, working to optimize and improve our products to directly answer concerns. Through Great Dane’s robust R&D program, the Everest reefer has been rigorously and thoroughly tested. The insulation quality, the reefer lining, and the roof and floor design have all been optimized for thermal efficiency.

Insulation Design and Quality

Every aspect of the insulation process has been scrutinized for exceptional performance.

  • The Everest offers continuous and superior insulation coverage.
  • Great Dane uses the industry’s most advanced high-pressure panel foaming process, which assures consistency throughout the panels and void-free insulation.

Protection Against Insulation Outgassing

Great Dane’s patented ThermoGuard lining directly addresses insulation outgassing.

  • The ThermoGuard liner features a proprietary metal barrier layer that effectively seals the trailer’s insulation, slowing outgassing significantly and enhancing thermal performance for the life of the trailer. This can help reduce cooling run time, thereby reducing fuel consumption.
  • ThermoGuard also helps keep temperature stable within the reefer, which in turn can help protect and preserve cargo.

Premium Roof and Floor Construction

Great Dane has rigorously tested the Everest’s roof and floor design, two integral components of a durable, high-quality, and well-protected reefer that is designed to last.

The Everest reefer roof:

  • Features a lightweight and thermally efficient bonded roof system
  • Incorporates an aluminum roof sheet supported by extruded aluminum roof bows
  • The roof sheet is secured to the top rail using a rolled edge to seal the perimeter against moisture intrusion

The Everest floor:

  • Rated for 18,000 pounds by the Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association (TTMA)
  • Automatically welded to seal out moisture
  • Made with composite floor sills which are engineered for maximum durability
  • Completely wood-free, protecting against moisture damage
  • Impact-resistant thermoplastic sub-pan
  • Corrosion-Free Design

High-Quality Reefer Specs Improve Performance and Extend Reefer Lifespan

A reefer’s insulation, lining, and its roof and flooring can significantly impact your fleet’s ability to protect cargo and deliver a superior customer experience. By spec’ing a high-quality reefer today, you can protect your temperature-sensitive cargo, increase the longevity of your equipment, and continue to meet (and exceed) customer expectations.

Learn more about how Great Dane’s Everest can help keep your cargo at the right temperature.

Read More About the Everest Trailer