Dawn of a new era
Quality. Reliability. Passion. Commitment. Perfection. A steadfast set of values. But make way for… Innovation. JACO DE KLERK takes a look at GRW’s new refrigerated trailers.
GRW Engineering has long been referred to as Southern Africa’s foremost road tanker manufacturer and exporter. The company, established in 1996, has surely done this statement justice over the past 15 years.
While GRW is known for road tankers and, more recently, rail tankers for the transport industry, its new line of refrigerated semi-trailers may soon usher the company into a new era. This new endeavour, which resulted from GRW’s extensive research and investigation of various options, may truly have delivered something unique.
The biggest problem facing the fresh food transport industry is keeping the “fresh” part intact. Conventional refrigerated semi-trailers do offer a partial solution, but they are not flawless. Insulation problems may affect the longevity of the products and can cause the refrigeration unit to work overtime.
One of the methods used to improve the insulation properties is to install panels which are manufactured from materials such as plastic honeycomb, plywood, polystyrene and phenolic foams. But these have their own problems, including exposed cracks and corners resulting in moisture ingress and water logging.
The true solution to the dilemma is one of the aspects which makes GRW’s refrigerated semi-trailers so unique.
The company uses a computer-controlled, high pressure, polyurethane injection system to fill the insulation panels, consistently and in every nook and cranny. Panels are supplied by China International Marine Containers (CIMC), with which GRW has entered into an agreement. Fanie Roux, executive for GRW, points out that CIMC employs 60 000 people internationally and is one of the biggest container manufacturers, including insulated containers and trailers, in the world.
“Their quality is world class; you can only grow to that size if you can manufacture products that meet and exceed the very high quality expectations of this particular industry,” he points out.
Another innovative aspect of GRW’s refrigerated trailers is the chassis-less design. A first for South Africa, this puts GRW on a par with international design trends, which show a growing move towards chassis-less units due to the huge payload advantages.
Local operators, aware of this trend, have now begun ordering trailers without even seeing the actual unit. One of these is Gavin Wilson, managing director of Fast ‘n Fresh, which ordered 20 of the trailers sight-unseen. Why? “It’s simple,” he responds. “Quality and design. The quality is superb and the design is innovative and proven.”
Other advantages include the standardised lengths of the panels imported from China, which enables them to be replaced relatively easily in the event of an accident, for example.
The unit contains no wood and is made entirely of aluminium, steel and stainless steel in order to ensure longevity. The aluminium floors are welded to prevent water ingress and guarantee that no bolts or rivets are sticking out. Nice touches include a fully-galvanized frame for the fridge (which is bolted to the framework), air-suspension, a patented electrical system, and a 600 mm high extruded aluminium scuff protection band on the inside.
“We have seen an opportunity for the supply of high quality refrigerated trailers in the Southern African market,” says Roux. “After undertaking market research locally, as well as in the USA and Europe, we have made the decision that we will only enter this market if we can supply refrigerated trailers and rigid bodies that adhere to the same quality standards offered overseas. Longevity, payload and insulation properties are extremely important in this environment, and we are convinced that the product that we offer will exceed expectations in that regard.”
The trailers are also price-competitive, with many standard features that would be “optional extras” on other units. This includes aluminium flooring with a special knurling surface for anti-slip in all directions.
The new line of 30-pallet refrigerated semi-trailers was officially launched at the recent Johannesburg International Motor Show. GRW offers a 12-month warranty, subject to the standard conditions of sale and repair. After-sales and support services will be provided by the GRW Service branches in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Worcester and Paarl.
GRW may previously have only been referred to as Southern Africa’s foremost road tanker manufacturer and exporter; but it now seems set to dominate the refrigerated semi-trailer market too.