Chilled flower transporters are cool for Merediths09 July 2010

Flowers and pot plants supplier RA Meredith & Son Nurseries has taken delivery of several Gray & Adams bespoke temperature-controlled rigids, equipped to transport Dutch trolleys.

Meredith's transport manager Gary Counsell explains that the cages measure 1355 x 570mm, and that the Gray & Adams design gets 28 cages into its new 18 tonne, 9 metre rigids in an overall width of 2600 mm.

"Gray & Adams worked with me on the vehicle dimensions to maximise the number of cages. By arranging the cages differently and by moving to a slightly longer body, we have managed to increase the number per vehicle, from 26 to 28," he says.

Behind the scenes, that necessitated reassessing the panel design for the roof, sidewalls, floor and back doors. Counsell says the bodies were constructed using a mix of techniques to maximise the internal loading space while maintaining performance of the temperature-control to ATP Class C.

Meredith, he says, went for refrigerated vehicles this time, with a specially designed air return system to ensure sufficient airflow around the produce, as opposed to the previous dry freight boxes with heaters, to enhance product quality transported throughout the year.

Making that work meant recessing all internal equipment so that there was no protrusion into the internal space. For example, the damage-protection kickstrips were recessed into the sidewalls to give a maximum 2,500mm of space between them.

Also, the roof and floor loadlok tracking was designed to sit flush with the floor. A specially designed slimline light switch was even designed for this project.

Then again, the Meredith bodies also have Gray & Adams Eco-Aer aerodynamic packages of large radiused cappings and 'vortex generators'. And although these are claimed to offer advantages in terms of reduced fuel consumption, the rounded cappings do require the front bulkhead thickness to increase slightly.

In a normal operation this would not cause any problem, but when space is this critical, it needed an engineering solution. Says Counsell: "We decided to try this to enhance fuel economy, but also to offset the additional cost of opting for refrigerated vehicles this time."

As for the rest, Meredith's rigids use Carrier Supra 850 undermount fridges (enabling more cab space) and have Dhollandia DH-SM retractable tail lifts. The chassis are DAF FA CF65.

Counsell believes the move to Gray & Adams will pay long-term dividends. "We chose Gray & Adams as we hope to keep the vehicles for six years, with the intention of remounting onto new chassis at the end of this term, which should give us another four or five years' operational life."

Brian Tinham

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