Three Specs for Your Refrigerated Trailer’s Thermal Integrity

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Keeping it Fresh: Reefer Specs for Extended Cargo Shelf Life

The summer months are heating up and your refrigerated trailer is hauling a load of produce that needs to stay cool

Thermal integrity is a concern for all reefer fleet managers, but there are ways you can enhance your reefer’s thermal performance. And this can be done while keeping your cargo fresh longer, while reducing your refrigeration unit run time, and increasing the lifespan of your trailer.  

“Great Dane spent many years on R&D specifically studying this problem, and our solution is a design that provides optimal thermal efficiency and overall durability. This result is our Everest reefer built with advanced features,” said Tim Schmeits, Director Reefer Product Engineer for Great Dane. 

When spec’ing a reefer, there are three top areas to consider:  

  1. Insulation quality 
  2. Trailer lining 
  3. Roof and floor design 

Stay Cool with the Proper Insulation Quality 

Significant cost savings can be achieved by properly insulating a trailer, as it reduces the workload of the reefer’s cooling unit.

Great Dane uses the industry’s most advanced high-pressure panel foaming process. This process ensures that insulation coverage is consistent throughout the panels and provides optimal insulation coverage.

“When building reefers for our customers, we consider the end use. For example, a reefer designed to haul produce would need less insulation than a reefer designed to haul ice cream. We work with our customers to spec their reefer according to their specific needs,” Schmeits said. 

Reefer Liners Matter  

Another area that’s important to consider is the reefer liner. A traditional liner is permeable, which doesn’t effectively seal the insulation or offer enhanced protection against outgassing. 

In fact, moisture intrusion caused by a permeable liner reduces the effectiveness of the insulation and increases overall weight, limiting the load size available over time. 

“Our studies show that reefers with traditional liners can lose up to 25% of insulating capability—up to 10% within the first year alone—from outgassing effects. This reduces the ability to maintain thermal integrity and results in higher refrigeration fuel costs,” Schmeits explained. 

Great Dane’s patented ThermoGuard liner offers a proprietary metal barrier layer that effectively seals the trailer’s insulation against moisture intrusion and helps to maintain a stable temperature. This significantly slows outgassing and enhances thermal performance for the life of the trailer, resulting in reduced cooling run time and lower fuel consumption. 

From the Top Down—Roof and Floor Design  

Just as heat escapes through your head and feet, a trailer’s roof and flooring similarly impact its thermal efficiency.  

“Like all Great Dane products, we were very strategic about the design plan for the Everest, considering every detail. We carefully designed the roof and floor, providing durability and high-quality components for the long haul,” Schmeits said. 

The Everest reefer features a lightweight and thermally efficient bonded roof system using a rolled edge to seal the perimeter against moisture intrusion. 

The Everest Duct floor is rated for 18,000 pounds in accordance with the Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association (TTMA) Recommended Practice.  The floor system, as well as the entire trailer, is completely wood-free, protecting against moisture damage and offering a corrosion-free design. Every component is built for strength, including the composite floor sills that are engineered for maximum durability.  Designed for a variety of applications, the Everest offers an optional Reefer Cargo flat floor with a floor rating of 20,000 lbs. 

When your cargo has to be delivered as fresh as the day it was loaded, thermal efficiency and durability is needed mile after mile.  

Great Dane’s Everest reefers can keep your cargo at the right temperature.

Learn more about Great Dane’s full line of refrigerated trailers and truck bodies.