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Tech Minute Video:
Refrigerated Container Monitoring

Javier Otiz
Project Consultant
Javier joined the Rastrac team back in August 2005 and currently is a Project Consultant working with partners to provide GPS tracking and fleet management solutions in order to improve efficiency.


Hey there, It’s Javier back again with another COOL Tech Minute.

Today I’d like to talk to you about refrigerated container monitoring. We have several clients that we have helped monitor their refrigerated assets, whether moving or not. And, we have saved them quite a bit of money over the years by notifying them when something not working properly is about to cause harm to the container’s contents.

Let me give you an example; one of our refrigerated container rental customers has containers all of the state of Texas, where it gets pretty warm, pretty fast. In the past, if something went wrong with the refrigeration of the container, they would have to send a technician to diagnose the problem and fix it. This would often require a trip of 50-100 miles to get to the problem container. Then, the tech would see if they could find the problem, hope they had the right part when they did find it and fix the problem and then drive back. So all of this activity would take a day at least and might not actually be a technical problem. It could have been that a door was slightly open and went unnoticed. Regardless of the problem, this trip cost the rental company hundreds of dollars just for the trip and possibly thousands of dollars in lost product. Now the rental company is automatically alerted to an issue, checks the sensors, makes a determination of the issue and it’s severity and often finds a simple fix not requiring a technician’s visit. In fact our customer told us we had reduced his nuisance trips by 75%.

OK, here’s another story… bear with me, it’s a good one. A little while after we outfitted another refrigerated container customer, we received a call from him to tell us a story about how he saved his customer’s contents because of our monitoring system. The container in question had sensors for temperature, door open-closed and battery level. Our customer told us he was at his desk one morning and he gets a text from Rastrac. The text says one of his customer’s containers has a battery that is degrading. The voltage was slowly going down from 13 volts to 12, then 11, then 10, so he knew he had a problem in the making. He dispatched a technician with a new battery and the technician was able to get to the container and swap out the battery before it had affected the temperature and ruined the contents. While this was a real issue that needed attention right away, the customer told us he had many nuisance calls too, like when a door is open for a long time. He no longer has to send a tech for this kind of issue…He just tells the end user to “please shut the door”.

We are able to monitor many different parameters for our customers. There is temperature of course, but we don’t just alert a customer every time the temperature dips below a threshold. There could be many reasons for that instance of temperature inconsistency and therefore many false-positives to run down. Instead we only  alert our clients if there is a consistent degradation of temperature over a period of time.

Just in our normal routine we help our clients utilize and monitor temperature, door-open/closed and battery level. In some cases we also monitor the refrigerant pressure switch and we have developed a power consumption meter, so our customer can see how much power the container is drawing.

So, you see Rastrac can help you protect your refrigerated container’s contents from an array of issues and prevent what used to be certain heavy losses. Some companies that manufacture refrigeration units will also help you monitor their products, but they are much more costly and don’t cover things like door-open or power consumption.

Give us a call or go to our website and request a demo of the system.

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