Serco’s gold certificate win in the Innovation Awards competition held during the recent 2019 Automechanika Trade Fair in Johannesburg is a reward for the company’s determination to give its customers the edge by continually raising the standard of its refrigerated vehicle bodies in line with international benchmarks.
This is according to CEO of Serco Clinton Holcroft who says the company’s mission has been to set the local benchmark in refrigerated bodies after identifying that the thermal performance of units had not previously been measurable in South Africa.
Holcroft said tangible benefits of their Protec Steel Frostliner trailers included reducing fuel consumption and wear and tear on the fridge, reducing carbon impact on the environment and – through thermal efficiency – improving product shelf life and reducing load loss.
Announcing that Serco had won gold for its refrigerated vehicle – the first trailer in South Africa to achieve SABS approval for meeting standards related to the transport of frozen and fresh food – the Automechanika judges said the Protec Steel unit built at Serco’s Durban factory was of “top class quality”.
The judges were impressed by techniques used in the manufacture of the trailer and the types of insulation materials used. They said the vehicle’s thermal efficiency helped reduce the amount of diesel needed to run the fridge elevating its environmental friendliness.
Said Holcroft: “The journey started with the investment in a state-of-the-art panel injection press at our factory in Durban’s Phoenix Industrial Park and included a critical analysis of the design and construction of our vehicle bodies to ensure they adhered to international benchmarks.
“By introducing a measurable cold chain factor for our bodies, we were able to ensure a more efficient product which results in an increase in thermal performance.”
The thermal test at the South African Bureau of Standards enables Serco to measure its vehicle body performance against an international standard in a process that involves stringent testing with specialised equipment in a purpose-built test chamber to determine the K-Value of the body.
“In these tough trading conditions, customers want peace of mind that they are buying a refrigerated vehicle that is internationally certified, tried and tested, and giving tangible benefits. That is exactly what they get in Protec Steel Frostliners,’’ said Holcroft.
“People in the industry are impressed by the finish of the trailers’ coated steel panels and the injected foam technique used in their manufacture which produces an improvement in thermal performance of up to a 40% over alternatives on the market.”
Customers also like the rice grain aluminium floor which has proved to be a durable, high wearing feature. Other highlights include fully welded aluminium scuffs which create a durable, waterproof and high strength structure; and new door seals made of extended rubber material, which provide an excellent thermal bridge preventing the leakage of cold air. A further advantage is that repair costs to the vehicles are relatively low.
Serco also offers remote temperature monitoring solutions in which multi-temperature bodies are supplied making it possible for different products to be transported in the same vehicles at different temperatures using moveable partitions to separate the zones.