A reefer truck is a truck or van usually 1 ton or larger that has a refrigerated unit built either directly on the frame or is transported by trailer. It’s refrigerated by diesel-powered generators and liquid carbon dioxide, or CO2. Reefer trucks range from simple ice cream trucks to large containers carrying perishable goods across the country.
Ice cream maker Borden Company developed one of the first mechanical reefer trucks in the late 1920s for long-haul deliveries.
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Reefer trucks haul hundreds of thousands of dollars in goods and require warning systems that monitor the changes in temperature that allows the driver to take corrective measures.
The reefer truck industry exploded following passage of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, which created an extensive highway/freeway system throughout the United States.
Reefer truck drivers are required to deliver perishable cargo in perfect condition and must pre-cool refrigerated units before loading goods to ensure a stable and correct temperature.
Heavy hauler reefer trucks typically are equipped with an engine, evaporator, condenser and compressor that adhere to strict environmental emissions guidelines.
Many products require refrigeration before final delivery, with reefer trucks today hauling computers, medical supplies, plasma, blood and photography supplies.