One year on from acquiring Frigoblock, Thermo King is embarking on another period of expansion, with the planned introduction of a new product range to be launched this Autumn.
The company isn’t giving away too much about the new trailer range, but the very fact that another new product line is on the way from Thermo King is indicative of the manufacturer’s forward thinking approach to providing innovation transport temperature control solutions for the industry.
The acquisition last year of Frigoblock, too, has opened up new possibilities and potential to
further expand Thermo King’s product offering. Export & Freight’s David Stokes recently caught up with UK Sales Manager Steve Williams to find out more about that and about recent new additions to the Thermo King portfolio.
Based in Germany, Frigoblock manufactures and designs transport refrigeration units for trucks and trailers across Europe, so it has been a perfect fit for Thermo King.
“Since the acquisition we have seen an increase in sales and it has also enabled us to dramatically increase our service footprint across the UK and Ireland,” says Steve. “In addition, we now have the widest portfolio of products covering every sector – from large and complex double decks down to small home delivery vans and trucks.”
There are other benefits, too.
“Thermo King, for example, have always been strong in the small truck home delivery market, which wasn’t the core focus of Frigoblock, but the technology employed in their electric powered units fits nicely into our product range and we are working to exploit that potential.”
Now under the same umbrella, the two product ranges got their first UK joint outing at the recent CV Show, with the stand attracting lots of interest.
“The show has been good for us as we continue to grow our market share,” says Steve. “We have been on a drive to increase our share in the UK for the last couple of years and I am very pleased with our progress, but there is always room for more growth. Not only do you have to bring quality, innovation, and diversity of product to the market, you have to do so at a competitive price, and I believe we score very well on all of that.”
“In Northern Ireland, where we have a long history, our market share is very strong – for two reasons: we have an excellent product and an extremely good service network. Main dealers TTP in Ballymena do us proud. They are outstanding; there are no better dedicated people in our service network. They have attained ‘Platinum’ status – the highest available
within the global Thermo King network.”
And he adds: “Our Galway manufacturing plant also operates a very efficient, versatile and diverse production line. Since the acquisition of Frigoblock our engineers have also been working very closely with their colleagues in Germany.”
Success, too, can be attributed in no small measure to the constant flow of new product innovations to help operators who are increasingly confronted by environmental concerns and challenges.
Thermo King’s R-452A, the refrigerant co-developed by Thermo King and DuPont/Chemours, is a case in point.
“Thermo King was the first to offer this lower Global Warming Potential (GWP) refrigerant
in its units and we are also the first to make this standard across our entire range. Now others are beginning to follow our lead, and we are happy about that,” says Steve.
R-452A does not compromise the safety, capacity or efficiency of the refrigeration unit, while the unit performance remains unchanged, providing the same cooling capacity, pull-down and fuel efficiency – and it has approximately half the global warming potential
of the incumbent R-404A.
Noise, too, has also been an environmental challenge against the backdrop of increasing night-time deliveries, especially in built up areas and trading estates that are located close to residential areas, and here again Thermo King have been leading the way.
Customers can now choose quiet all electric Frigoblock units, or Thermo King’s low noise SLXe Whisper Pro units which provide the operator with compliance and flexibility; easy to install and maintain, the Whisper unit requires no additional piping and leaves space under the trailer for additional accessories like pallet boxes.
Another recent addition to the manufacturer’s growing portfolio is their ThermoLite Solar Panels which have proved to be a widely acclaimed success since their introduction in the US last year.
For many reasons, batteries can reach a point where they have been fully discharged so often that they become un-rechargeable and lead to expensive service call-outs and eventually battery replacement.
ThermoLite solar panels help prevent battery deterioration caused by natural or deep discharge through auxiliary loads like telematics systems or other devices, lights and sensors. They continuously charge the battery thus offsetting these loads. Designed to fit directly to the insulated bodies’ rooftops, the new Thermo King ThermoLite solar panels underwent extensive tests including resistance to vibrations, pressure washing and exposure to high- and low-ambient environments to ensure the robustness and reliability
needed for transport applications, no matter what climate a driver is in.
Also new is Thermo King’s V-200s series of refrigeration units; this non-diesel, vehiclepowered range which offers the high performance and efficiency of the proven V-200 MAX series in a more compact design that better suits vehicles up to 10m³ for frozen and up to 19m³ for fresh products deliveries.
“You cannot stand still in this business. We always have something new in the pipeline. In September, we will have a new product in our trailer range; it’s a ramp up to a wider delivery to the market of our next trailer platform.”
“We will also be unveiling a new development in the multi-temp truck sector, plus we are
working on the cross pollination of our Thermo King and Frigoblock technologies, so there is lots to look forward to. The next few years will be a very exciting time for Thermo King and our customers with plenty of new innovations coming through.”