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Manitoulin Transport’s arctic routes put carrier hybrids on top of the world

MANITOULIN ISLAND, Ont. -- Manitoulin Transport has been using the hybrid Vector 1800MT multi-temperature systems f...

MANITOULIN ISLAND, Ont. — Manitoulin Transport has been using the hybrid Vector 1800MT multi-temperature systems from Carrier, but interestingly, their choice of refrigeration system was as much about heating as cooling.

Although the Carrier Transicold hybrid units are typically used to cool cargo, Manitoulin reps say they were chosen specifically for their exceptional heating performance to protect cargo when outside temperatures drop to minus 40 degrees F.

Featuring Carrier’s patented Deltek diesel-electric technology, the Vector 1800MT unit is a radical departure from conventional mechanical refrigeration, Carrier officials say. It integrates a diesel engine with a generator and an all-electric refrigeration system designed to deliver outstanding reliability, longevity, performance and environmental benefits on the road.

The hybrid units are used by Manitoulin’s Northwest Transport division, which serves British Columbia and Alberta, as well as the Yukon and Northwest Territories, including Inuvik north of the Arctic Circle. In those remote long-haul routes, equipment reliability is critical.

“When hauling groceries on top of the world in January, maintaining proper trailer temperature is less about cooling than heating,” according to Bob Chatwell, Manitoulin’s director of maintenance. “With the older style reefer units, refrigeration performance was Okay. But the heat in the wintertime was where we were having difficulty. Temperatures get down to 40, 45 or 50 below.”

Even with four inches of insulation on Manitoulin’s 53-foot, two- and three-compartment trailers, ambient temperatures like that are still a challenge.

According to Carrier reps, electric heating overcomes the obstacle that extreme cold creates for conventional refrigeration systems. Conventional units divert hot refrigerant gas from its normal path to deliver heat to the evaporator. But, as outdoor temperatures drop, heating capacity decreases when you need it the most. Deltek technology is designed to replace the traditional hot gas circuit with efficient electric heaters for improved temperature control, heating and defrost, regardless of ambient temperatures.

“In our first winter with the units, some guys wanted to run extra heaters in the back, but it wasn’t necessary,” Chatwell said, “The Vector units were more than adequate for the job.

“They also performed well cooling in the summer, so we’ve got all the bases covered,” Chatwell said, noting that after the units’ successful performance last winter, Manitoulin purchased additional hybrid units from Carrier to help meet their needs for the ’07- ’08 winter season.

Carrier dealer Reefer Sales and Service of Toronto supplies the Vector 1800MT systems to Manitoulin, as well as ComfortPro auxiliary power units (APUs), which feature the same Deltek technology found in the refrigeration units. ComfortPro APUs provide sleeper cab heating, engine warming and full-battery-charge assurance, and Manitoulin specifies the shorepower option so drivers can run the APUs off standard household electrical supply when the tractors are parked.

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