TracKing of a different kind
Vehicle tracking and monitoring isn’t limited to keeping operators informed about where their vehicles are and what they’re doing; it can indicate what’s up with the cargo too – and GEA Refrigeration offers some nifty systems in this regard.
GEA Refrigeration Africa is the sole importer of the Thermo King range of transport refrigeration systems in South Africa. Thermo King is a leading brand of mobile refrigeration solutions both internationally and locally, and offers a full range of solutions to ensure cold goods are delivered on time and as fresh as expected.
In this regard, GEA offers the Thermo King TracKing solution. Originally developed eight years ago, the units have been available in South Africa for two years. The system is specially calibrated to work with the microprocessor fitted to Thermo King units, and can thus only be used with Thermo King refrigeration units – but it can be retrofitted to existing and even older Thermo King units.
“It uses various unit sensors for a very detailed breakdown of the condition of the cargo unit,” says Francois van der Westhuizen, national sales manager, GEA Transport Division. “It offers many features ranging from live monitoring on the web to early warning of any changes in conditions or faults in the system. It even monitors the unit’s fuel consumption should diesel be siphoned from the vehicle’s fuel tank.” The temperature can even be controlled remotely from the fleet manager’s interface.
GEA allows flexibility with regards to the data provider for the telematics. “The customer can go with a network provider of their choosing, so that they are not tied into any contract they don’t want,” says Van der Westhuizen. GEA can also supply an O2 SIM card from Ireland with the system.
Van der Westhuizen says operators often query why they should “pay twice” for a specialised system like this when they already have a vehicle tracking and monitoring system fitted to their fleet. The benefits kick in when cold stores want customer reports of the journey to ensure that the temperature has remained constant and that the perishable cargo is still fresh. The system provides such reports. It even allows for customised customer reports, and all data is saved on the Thermo King server in Ireland for five years.
The system also offers security benefits, providing detailed visibility of the fleet and drivers at all times, with door sensors to alert you if doors are opened when they shouldn’t be, and acting as a second back-up tracking system should the vehicle be stolen and the main tracking system disarmed.
The real-time information allows critical, timeous decision-making, reducing load loss and overall operating costs by requiring fewer service call-outs. It also translates into lower insurance costs, allows for predictive maintenance, and ultimately helps the user stay ahead of the competition.
The TracKing system is proving very popular with operators. One of the company’s biggest customers is Imperial Logistics Refrigerated Services, which uses the system on its entire fleet.