LOUISVILLE, Ky. – In advertising vernacular, “there’s an app for that,” meaning there’s a smart phone application for nearly everything under the sun. In the case of improvements in reefer technology, there actually is an app for that, part of the new APX control system from Carrier Transicold.
But the APX is much more than an app, and it’s not a phone app. It’s an entire control system from Carrier that improves transport refrigeration unit (TRU) operation with distributed electronics for better reliability; a bigger, brighter display with simplified user interface; greater memory, and an expanded range of applications or ‘apps’ for unit customization.
Carrier Transicold is a unit of Carrier Corp., a leader in high technology heating, air conditioning and refrigeration solutions. Carrier Corp. is a business unit of United Technologies Corp.
With its entirely new modular hardware configuration, the APX (pronounced “apex”) control system is the first in the transport refrigeration industry to use distributed electronics, the company stated in news release. A new display module with an illuminated information dashboard is easy to read at a distance, offers push-button simplicity and, with fewer keystrokes, displays five times the information of competitive equipment. The display module sports a USB dock to facilitate data downloads and software uploads.
“APX combines future-forward technology with a personal touch,” said David Kiefer, director of marketing and product management for Carrier Transicold, in introducing the system at the 40th annual Mid-America Trucking Show held here this week. “From a fleet and driver perspective, it’s the easiest yet to program and use, and
it provides exceptional temperature management for any hauled commodity, especially when users take advantage of popular optional Carrier applications, or ‘apps.’ These include IntelliSet for ease of use, Range Protect for added fuel optimization, and DataTrak, which enables wireless monitoring, control and data transfers, as well as interface with telematics providers for Wi-Fi, RF, cellular and satellite communications.”
The APX control system also introduces the newest app, Virtual Tech comprehensive diagnostic software, which runs continuously in the background, monitoring the TRU to help to avert system problems.
From a hardware perspective, APX takes what was formerly housed in a single large metal control box and more efficiently splits it into compact, sealed subcomponents – the aforementioned display module, the main microprocessor module and a power-control module, to name a few. The microprocessor is driven by a powerful
operating system, familiar in many ways to users of Carrier’s Advance controllers.
All modules use CAN-bus communications protocols, an automotive industry standard that is also used on Class 8 tractors.
“CAN-bus makes system expansion – adding modules for expanded capabilities – as simple as plug-and-play,” Kiefer said. “A system manufactured today can be easily upgraded with future hardware capabilities by adding new modules in ‘daisy-chain’ fashion.”
The result is a system with more efficient placement of hardware components, resulting in reduced complexity and greater reliability.
“One of many examples of the benefits of this design approach is a wiring harness with fewer connections and that weighs 40 percent less, due to shorter wiring runs,” Kiefer explained.
Enhanced for operator ease, the human interface is improved with the APX display module’s vivid graphical
dashboard, the industry’s largest, according to Kiefer. The backlit LCD display has a 14 percent taller area and larger numerals than its competition, making it easier to read. It continuously shows operating status via the multi-language “message center” with more than 300 APX Improves TRU Control instructional and informational driver prompts in the user’s choice of English, Spanish, French or Portuguese.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Large raised silicone backlit buttons that can easily be pushed with a gloved hand, and menu-driven simplicity help to minimize operator error. Like an ATM (automated teller machine), the APX display module has dedicated menu buttons linked to prompts in the dashboard. This approach results in a significant reduction in key strokes to access various functions and types of information.
Exclusive to the APX display module is the ability to display data recorder trip graphs – an at-a-glance visual indicators of conditions within the trailer throughout a delivery run. The built-in data recorder has four times the memory capacity of Carrier’s Advance controller, the forerunner to APX.
The USB port provides convenient downloads of trip data reports onto a jump drive with flash memory storage. Programming uploads are just as easily achieved using the APX flash drive and Carrier Transicold’s new TRU-Tech PC software for performing reefer set-up, upgrades, diagnostics, system overrides and more.
The APX control module offers three user modes. The new Driver Mode gives fleet managers the ability to customize the control to allow drivers as much or as little access to control functions as considered appropriate. The unit also offers an Advanced Mode for more experienced operators and a Technician Mode for service technicians.
Each mode has its own access level and custom menus to increase ease of use and reduce mistakes.
Also exclusive to the APX display module is the ability to simultaneously display up to five lines of operating information on its dashboard, compared to only single lines of information on conventional TRU controllers.
“This feature is especially useful to technicians, who quickly get a holistic picture of what’s happening with the refrigeration unit, rather than single bits of information,” Kiefer said. “This makes troubleshooting easier and faster.”
For more information about the APX control system, seek a Carrier Transicold dealer or visit www.trucktrailer.carrier.com.
Dorothy Cox of The Trucker staff may be contacted to comment at email@example.com.
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