First steps to Trailer Qualification…know what you’re using!
It sounds simple, maybe even trite, but as a distribution stakeholder in your organization, are you confident that your trailer selection is suitable for your product? How can you tell?
It begins with leveraging your extended team. Your 3PL partner is an important player. When they order trailers you need to let them what you need. Don’t worry, it doesn’t cost much if anything, and it can be done on the existing trailers in the fleet. In the Americas, the classification comes from the Technology Maintenance Council, (TMC) a technology council of the American Trucking Association. They designate each trailer into one of four of the following classifications; C65, C35, F or DF. Specifically, it’s a three-step process. Referencing the figure below, the data comes from (1) the existing insulation data plate and (2) refrigeration unit certification installed on the trailer. The manufacturer creates the classification tag (3) based on the insulation and size of the refrigeration unit. The basis for this data is testing according to TMC RP 718A. This report is an industry standard, based on testing data at +100F and 0F ambient conditions. The trailer is certified to maintain the set points (65F, 35F, 0F, or -20F) at the stated ambient extremes.
When working with a 3PL that is ordering new equipment, let them know you want the “Combined Equipment Certification Plate” affixed to the trailer. As I mentioned it is possible to have these applied post delivery, just work with your 3PL and they will contact the trailer manufacturer for the appropriate designation. Wabash National and Great Dane, for instance, are good examples of the reputable manufacturers that will provide these certification plates for their trailers.
As far as next steps, we can help with that. Modality Solutions has created an executable data package that includes the following.
A technical report explaining the standards used by the trailer manufacturers to assure that the trailer is properly classified and is suitable for the intended use.
A quality standard based on the technical report that can be adopted by the company’s quality unit.
A quality agreement that supports the quality standard, including directives on expected maintenance.
An executable protocol to assure that the proper quantity and location of monitors.
No matter who develops and executes the qualification drill for temperature-controlled trailers, it is important to understand and document the system capability using the proper TMC classification.