Wabash composite reefer program on track for 2017 production and field testing

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Updated Dec 7, 2016
Wabash unveiled its refrigerated van, made of molded structural composites with thermal technology, in February 2016.Wabash unveiled its refrigerated van, made of molded structural composites with thermal technology, in February 2016.

Wabash National Corporation said Monday that Farmington, N.Y.-based carrier Leonard’s Express has committed to join the company’s launch program for the Cold Chain Series refrigerated van trailer, which is made with molded structural composites.

The first trailer of its kind also boasts the support of Werner Enterprises, K&B Transportation and Combined Transport — along with dealers Regional International, TEC Equipment and Wick’s Truck Trailers — to bring the trailer to the North American market.

Brent Yeagy, Wabash president and chief operating officer, says the launch program for the Cold Chain Series composite reefer continues to move forward as planned, with production and field testing set to begin in the first quarter next year.

“Refrigerated carriers see the superior performance benefits in our new molded structural composite technology,” he says. “Many carriers have been very interested in participating in the launch program so they can better understand the value of the performance benefits on their operations.”

Robert Lane, director of business development for Wabash National’s Commercial Trailer Products, says the company has spent the past eight months since the trailer’s concept launch in February in R&D undergoing further testing and qualifications and finalizing repair procedures.

Wabash National’s Cold Chain Series refrigerated van is made out of the company’s proprietary molded structural composite with thermal technology (MSCT), which improves thermal performance by up to 25 percent and is up to 20 percent lighter, while significantly improving puncture and damage resistance. In addition, the molded structural composite floor system promises higher floor ratings—up to 24,000 pounds.

“What this means for our customers is improved thermal efficiency, reduced fuel costs, increased payload and cargo capacity, optimized utilization and enhanced durability,” Yeagy explained.

Molded structural composites are used in a wide range of applications, including aerospace, automotive, marine and commercial construction. This is the first time the technology is being used in the trailer industry. Wabash National also utilizes this technology in its previously commercialized refrigerated truck body.

Jason Cannon has written about trucking and transportation for more than a decade and serves as Chief Editor of Commercial Carrier Journal. A Class A CDL holder, Jason is a graduate of the Porsche Sport Driving School, an honorary Duckmaster at The Peabody in Memphis, Tennessee, and a purple belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu. Reach him at [email protected].