K-Factor in Refrigeration Transport!
Safe Food, Why you should give a K!
Food security is crucial to the health of any community. The whole supply chain has an impact on the health of food, from production and how it is handled to the outlet where it is consumed. There is significant risk in food transport. For most food, refrigerated transport is the only way to de-risk food health.
The Australian Institute of Food Safety states that a critical control point (CCP) is a step in the food production process where measures can be applied to prevent, reduce, or eliminate a food safety hazard. These include bacterial growth or chemical contamination. Critical control points exist at every stage of the process, from production to the moment the food is consumed. The thermal consistency and controlled environment of refrigerated transport is critical to this safety. For frozen foods, this target is below -20oC and for chilled goods less than 40oC. Vehicle telematics and tracking are designed to monitor this.
Challenges in the Industry
Some of the challenges faced in refrigerated transport are:
- That everything is at its optimal temperature throughout the journey. Being too cold can be a disastrous as being too warm.
- Ensuring the internal space is at the required temperature before loading.
- When the doors are opened the temperature for the load is consistently maintained.
- When the vehicle is parked with the engine off that the temperature is maintained
What is the Solution?
How do you know that your transport solution is doing the right job?
There are two main factors that determine this efficiency. Firstly, the insulation of the panels in the body, how they have been installed, the number and quality of doors and their seals. Secondly, the refrigeration unit’s performance. For both, the key measurement is the K-Factor. In this article we are dealing with the body specifically.
The K-Factor for the body’s insulation represents the material’s thermal ability to conduct heat. How easily the heat passes across it. The lower the K-Factor the better the insulation.
A good K-Factor will mean less load on the refrigeration unit, and so reduced fuel consumption.
World Health Organisation Recommendations
The World Health Organization issued regulations that state that for frozen transport the thermal insulation of the refrigerated compartment should have a K-coefficient of heat transfer of ≤0.4W/m2K, For chilled transport it needs to be a value of ≤0.7W/m2K. They recommended that all new vehicles should have an insulation coefficient <0.4W/m2K.
Eurocold has the exclusive distribution in Australia of ISOKIT bodies which they assemble onto all truck types. The ISOKIT solutions guarantee insulation coefficients below 0.34 W/m2K.
In addition, they are 20% lighter that other commercially available bodies. This allows for more payload and lower fuel costs.
So, when considering the best solution for your needs go with the best, Eurocold’s ISOKIT.
Key takeaways are:
- Food safety must prevent, reduce, or eliminate potential bacterial growth or chemical contamination.
- Refrigeration particularly during transport is one of the highest risk areas.
- The body of the vehicle must provide the best insulation in order to reduce the risk and cost of maintaining the right temperature.
- The K-Factor is a measurement of the insulation effectiveness and should deliver below ≤0.4W/m2K.
- Everyone in the refrigerated transport should consider this number when selecting vehicles for their business.