Food Trucks – Dry Vans, Refrigerated, and Cold Plate Trucks
This the third of a series of articles regarding the type of trucks used in the food industry and the delivery of its products.
This third article will talk about the various types of bobtail, or straight trucks, used in the later stages of product distribution and delivery.
A “dry van” is used to move product that does not require a temperature controlled environment for the various times required for the trip from the distribution warehouse to the retail grocery outlet. This involves a major portion of the products found on the shelves of your local grocery store. Products including all the dried foods such as cereal, pasta, beans, etc, and yes, pet foods.
The next truck category supplying our food delivery is the “refrigerated” truck. And there are several types of these. We will cover the most popular types in this article. This is not meant to be an all inclusive and comprehensive discussion, only to stimulate the thought process for making a decision regarding the selection of the right truck for your business.
Most refrigerated bodies look much the same as dry van in general appearance. The first significant difference in appearance is the refrigeration unit installed on the front of the van body and over the cab of the truck.
The primary manufactures of refrigeration equipment are Thermo King and Carrier Corp. These units come in many types and capacities for the many sizes and temperature requirements required in the multiple applications throughout the trucking industry. The refrigeration compressor can be installed in the unit installed above the cab along with a diesel engine to drive the compressor and power the condensing unit. For smaller units requiring less temperature and or volume capacity, the compressor may be installed under the hood of the truck, resembling the trucks air conditioning compressor. The refrigeration lines are then connected to the condensing unit mounted above cab, similar to the one shown below.
Refrigerated trucks with “truck engine” driven compressors are used in the floral industry, snack foods, produce, and are sometimes referred to as “hot shot” delivery trucks used for one stop emergency delivery’s to an event, a grocery store or restaurant.
The larger, higher capacity units are used for trucks delivering meat, fish, and frozen foods. These trucks generally haul bigger, heavier loads, and are on the road for many hours a day.
The last unit we will take a brief look at is the “cold plate” unit. Many times this type of truck is used in the ice cream industry, dairy products, home delivery, and frozen food industry. They are available in many sizes from the large one shown below down to a “slide in” body that actually slides into a pickup body.
At this point the time arrives to start asking questions to configure the truck that fits your needs. These parameters will consider the weight requirements, size, price etc. But before we can discuss these issues and make that selection, the most important step needs to come next.
The fourth article, (and the next one) is actually more important than the parameters mentioned above. The next article will discuss the segment of the industry you decide to work in. And that will decide the size, gvw, investment, etc.
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