Oct 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By David A Kolman
The cold plate system for the new Hercules Manufacturing milk body design is mounted on the front interior wall in a bank design with three circulating fans for better temperature recovery.
Basically, cold plate systems perform similarly to reusable ice packs for coolers, Honse explains. Frozen eutectic plates (reusable thermal accumulators) inside the body compartment absorb heat as a means of maintaining desired temperature levels. The plates are refrozen each day during a 10- to 12-hour electrical plug-in of the on-board compressor.
To increase the performance of the cold plate system, Maola has spec'd a sliding interior strip curtain that is adjustable to the size of the required milk compartment, reducing the space needed to be refrigerated as the load diminishes during the day.
Another performance enhancing feature added is an electronic auto-sequential defrost system that keeps the plates virtually frost free during a three-day cycle.
“For us, cold plate refrigeration has been cheaper to purchase, maintain, and operate than mechanical refrigeration systems,” says Lawrance, who has been with the dairy for nearly 19 years.
The cold plate bodies on the trucks Maola Milk & Ice Cream uses for ice cream deliveries are spec'd to go to minus 20• F. The milk trucks are spec'd to maintain 33• F.
Route truck chassis are typically kept for six years. Bodies are kept for 12 or more years.
Also for the first time, Lawrance is equipping all route and hotshot trucks with Safety Vision back-up camera systems to help drivers be more aware of unsafe conditions. The system is comprised of a small video camera mounted on the top rear of the body. Its wide field of view is displayed on a cab-mounted monitor.
“Adding the back-up cameras is just another extension of our safety focus,” he says.
“Safety is very important here at Maola. We eat, sleep, and live safety. We hold monthly safety meetings for everyone — not just drivers.”
Along with comprehensive incentive programs that reward safe driving, the dairy has been a long-time user of the SafetyFirst driver monitoring system. Every vehicle and trailer displays a decal with an individualized identifying number, asking motorists to report unsafe driving practices or equipment.
“All calls are followed up by our safety director, Sue Shivar,” says Lawrance. “She makes sure corrective action is taken and drivers are given any needed coaching.”
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