Temperature recording and monitoring of perishable goods for the transport refrigeration industry

Thankfully technology is available by Transport Refrigeration Unit (TRU) manufacturers that can help ensure cold chain quality and integrity of critical perishable cargo.

Current technology can provide on the spot printouts as well as USB downloads of temperature values, set points, date & time stamps along with other informative data pertaining to the operation of the TRU at time of delivery. TRU is also known in the industry as “Reefer”.

More thorough and informative reports are also available and can be reviewed and customized by the reefer manufacturers telematics platform. Reporting within the telematics platform also allows freight carriers to run reports retroactively given a specific time and date of past events.

Definition of telematics:

Telematics is a term that combines the words telecommunications and informatics to describe the use of communications and IT to transmit, store and receive information from devices to remote objects over a network.

Reefer telematics is a remote monitoring system that makes it easier to keep control of your cold cargo, avoid rejected loads by monitoring and recording core cargo temperature in real time. Maintain product quality by reducing reefer unit shutdowns that can lead to lost loads. TRU (reefer) fleet uptime is critical to avoiding lost loads and maintaining revenue.

The remote reefer monitoring and management system allows users to monitor and control the setpoint temperature and modes of operation as well as observe alarm status. It will also allow the operation of pre trip diagnostics remotely. Reefer telematics provide real time cargo traceability and asset monitoring to maximize uptime, optimize fuel usage and meet compliance needs. Using temperature reports and graphs you can prove the trailer was precooled at the time of loading and to the desired temperature. Listed below are some of the benefits of reefer telematics use.

Temperature Compliance: temperature reports and graphs to prove that sensitive cargo was maintained at the desired temperature throughout every point in the journey.

Asset Security: with door sensor data available by telematics, you can record all door openings to keep an eye on temperature and load security.

Cargo Traceability: track shipment location and condition to know instantly when a delay occurs and to proactively manage exceptions.

Asset Location: monitor the current location of your assets at any time to ensure a quick and effective response to any emerging issue.

Vehicle Uptime: eliminating unscheduled breakdowns by means of preventive maintenance equals lower operating cost.

Fuel Usage: maintain visibility to ensure the most fuel-efficient mode is consistently used when running loads.

Example of a Tabular telematic download:

Listed below is the terminology used in the telematic tabular report above.

Date & Time: 15-minute reporting events would trigger extra reporting intervals.
Vehicle Name: Trailer designation
Unit Power: Either on or off
Unit Mode: Cycle sentry stop/start or Continuous run
OP1: High cool, Low cool, Modulation cool, High heat, Low heat, Modulation heat, Defrost, etc.
SP1: Set Point Zone 1 would be a single temperature unit. There could be two other zones as well (Multi-Temp unit).
RA1: Return air temperature zone 1 is most representative of box temperature. There could be two other zones as well (Multi-Temp unit).
DA1: Discharge air temperature zone 1. There could be 2 other zones as well (Multi-Temp unit). Air leaving the unit could be colder or hotter depending on the operating mode.
Ambient Temp: Ambient temperature during travels.
Fuel Level: Most tanks are 50-gallon tanks and will change in 5% increments.
Battery Voltage: Amount of electrical potential a reefer unit uses, measured in volts.
Engine RPM: Most units have two speeds, High and low.
Unit Alarm: Hundreds of different alarms pointing the drivers, dispatchers, and technicians about current issue.
Total Hours: This hour meter will be recording anytime the unit is turned on.
Engine Hours: This hour meter will be recording only when engine is running.

Single temperature Reefer is 1 temperature zone within the cargo space.
Multi-Temperature Reefer is 2-3 temperature zones within the cargo space.

Example of a telematic Temperature Chart and Graph download


  • S1, S2, S3, S4, S5, S6 and TL1, TL2, TL3, TL4, TL5, TL6 on this report are unused channels designated for additional temperature sensors and temperature data loggers.

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For more information, contact:

Nicole MacDonald
Communications and Marketing Specialist
Fruit and Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corporation
Email: [email protected]
Ph: +1-613-234-0982

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