With around 1,000 refrigerated trucks, the UK food wholesaler Bidfood supplies more than 45,000 restaurants, schools, hospitals and canteens throughout the UK every day. In order to ensure a constant temperature of the goods at an average of 14 door openings per day, a powerful transport cooling system is required. For 25 years, the company has been using FRIGOBLOCK’s electrically-powered refrigeration units – recently also equipped with innovative inverter technology.
Graham Rennie has no easy task to deal with: From Galashiels in southern Scotland, he and his team control a fleet of around 950 refrigerated trucks for Bidfood at more than 20 locations across the UK which deliver fresh and frozen foods to more than 45,000 restaurants, canteen kitchens and catering companies. The Director of Fleet at the food wholesaler Bidfood UK is an old hand in the refrigeration business. With more than 28 years at Bidfood, he is one of the most recognised and respected fleet managers in the UK. He has learned the business from scratch and is happy to bring in his experience when it comes to developing even better techniques and finding even more efficient solutions. Efficiency and profitability are just as important to him and his employer as are sustainability and environmental considerations. “However, our top priority is the quality of our food,” says Graham Rennie. For this, an exact cooling to +1 degree for fresh produce and – 25 degrees for frozen goods, irrespective of the outside temperature or the number of door openings, is an important requirement.
On average, 14 times a day, the Bidfood drivers open the two compartments body, in order to unload roll containers or pallets for a customer. After every opening, the refrigeration unit needs to quickly adjust the temperature to the required values. Even if there are less than 20 minutes’ driving time between the stops. “This requires an above-average refrigeration capacity of the transport refrigeration unit,” says Rennie. For the fleet expert, FRIGOBLOCK refrigerators are therefore the first choice.
About 25 years ago Graham Rennie got to know the FRIGOBLOCK refrigeration units for the first time after seeing them on a fleet in Scotland and a visit to the factory in Essen. The high cooling capacity, which already then surpassed all conventional refrigerators, and the innovative power station aroused his interest. The first tests in the Bidfood fleet showed that the FRIGOBLOCK units were not only characterised by high refrigeration performance, but also by fast defrosting times and an above-average efficiency. In day to day business, the FRIGOBLOCK units also proved themselves to be reliable. “When it comes to malfunctions in operation, they are mostly due to operator errors,” says Rennie. Today, 90% of all Bidfood trucks are equipped with FRIGOBLOCK units, mostly high-performance units of type FK 25.
Since the introduction of Euro 6 vehicles in the Bidfood vehicle fleet, the company has also increasingly used FRIGOBLOCK’s latest inverter technology. More than 100 units of the type FK 24 and FK 13 are already equipped with a specially designed inverter filter. The intelligent control of this device allows the alternator to supply electrical power as needed for cooling. The new technology also provides high refrigeration capacities at low engine speed, like at traffic light stops in the city. This has also helped to reduce fuel consumption as well as noise levels. Even though the FRIGOBLOCK refrigeration units in the Bidfood fleet have already proved their profitability, the units with inverter technology are even better.
The fact that savings have a positive effect on profitability is just one aspect, Graham Rennie emphasises: “With the electric-driven FRIGOBLOCK transport refrigeration units, we meet the high demands on transport quality and support the efforts of our company for more sustainability and environmental friendliness.” This is because 50 percent less fuel consumption is equivalent to halving CO2 emissions. In addition, modern Euro 6 engines emit significantly less other pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides and particulates, than the separate diesel units of conventional refrigerators. In future, electrically driven refrigerators are a prerequisite for the efficient and low-emission supply of customers in the city centres, he believes, because of the ever-stricter entry regulations in large cities. The alternative, delivery with smaller vans, he considers make little sense. “We would need up to seven smaller vans to replace a single truck. This doesn’t seem to be economically or environmentally sound.”
Even after 25 years, for Graham Rennie, cooling performance, economy, reliability and environmental friendliness are still good arguments for FRIGOBLOCK refrigeration units, as are the well-developed service network, the strong customer orientation of the company and the consistent advancement technology, for example with inverter control or climate-friendly refrigerants. The Bidfood fleet manager is convinced: “FRIGOBLOCK stands out more than a mile.”