ASSA ABLOY Entrance Systems recently unveiled what it says is the industry’s first automatic door for refrigerated trucks and trailers.
The ASSA ABLOY MD2000 automated reefer door opens with “lightning speed,” electronically senses the presence of workers and cargo passing through, and quickly closes once the passage is clear, the company said. The door will help streamline the food delivery process and ensure a constant temperature and humidity barrier for reefer interiors.
Until now, fleets and workers hauling refrigerated loads have had to contend with primitive, curtain-style barriers after opening exterior doors on refrigerated trucks and trailers. Often made of heavy, vertical strips of plastic, the curtains are porous at best, and create friction points for workers, significantly reducing the working dimensions of the opening. The strips are prone to swing, striking workers and dislodging cargo, making trips with heavy pallet jacks and hand trucks both difficult and frustrating.
“During the early field research phase of the MD2000’s development, we observed countless situations in which workers tied or otherwise secured the strips out of the way, leaving the door without any atmospheric barrier during unloading,” said John Zimmerman, global director of new equipment sales for ASSA ABLOY High Performance Doors. “In many cases, we saw that the curtains had been compromised by being cut back or cut off altogether in order to make passage less cumbersome, thereby exposing cargo to the outside environment and potential contaminants.”
The MD2000 automated reefer door is the “ultimate” automatic entrance door for refrigerated truck fleets and owner-operators, providing temperature control, food chain security, and fuel savings, while improving overall delivery efficiency, the company added. The door was designed for refrigerator and freezer applications and has been tested and validated to operate at 0 degrees F.
The door can be installed on the face of a reefer’s interior wall by OEMs, or retrofitted on existing trailers within a few hours, and ASSA ABLOY will send technicians to train qualified customers on proper installation and service techniques. The system comes with its own plug-and-play modular wiring harness kit, and all cables and connectors remain accessible at the point of use for easy service and maintenance.
“The ASSA ABLOY MD2000 automated reefer door is far superior to curtain-style barriers, because when open, the entire 42-inch to 50½-inch-wide doorway space remains obstacle free, and when closed, the door creates a tight seal around its entire periphery,” Zimmerman said. “With the push of a remote fob or interior-mounted button, the door opens and closes automatically within seconds, once the system’s electronic photo eye confirms that the passage is clear.”
A red LED light strip is mounted on both sides of the MD2000 interior door frame and remains on when the door is closed to provide worker orientation in low-light conditions. The lights turn off when the door is open and begin flashing to signal when it is preparing to close.
The door’s closing cycles can be custom programmed between 0 and 90 seconds. Once closed, the secure barrier only opens for authorized personnel to prevent theft and potential adulteration.
The flexible door features a large clear window panel and a soft bottom edge, and retracts if it encounters any resistance, protecting delivery workers and eliminating potential damage to cargo. The door will break away in the event of incidental contact and can be placed back into operational position in moments.
The door eliminates the frustration associated with curtain-style barriers and makes undesirable barrier-defeating practices a thing of the past, the company maintained. The MD2000 automated reefer door reduces interior temperature variability during frequent stops, keeping food safer. By reducing the time it’s open, the door also prevents humidity from entering the refrigerated space, inhibiting condensation, vision-diminishing fog, and dangerous surface ice from forming on floors.
The MD2000 automated reefer door ensures product control and integrity and will also positively impact the bottom line of fleets and owner-operators alike, ASSA ABLOY asserted. Formal studies have proven that by adding a high-performance door to the temperature-controlled food delivery process, fleets can enjoy fuel savings of up to 40%, as well as lower maintenance costs, because the doors reduce the number of defrost cycles.
The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and 2002 Bioterrorism Act were signed into law to ensure that the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it. The MD2000 automated reefer door addresses these regulatory requirements by providing “a more reliable and consistent physical barrier” between the products and the outside environment that better protects food quality and safety.
“The ASSA ABLOY MD2000 automated reefer door is designed to increase worker productivity and safety while preventing lost time from accidents,” Zimmerman concluded. “By providing a safe and efficient automation solution for entering and exiting the reefer environment, the door will help protect the integrity and safety of cargo delivered to customers and will prevent expensive product damage, spoilage and redelivery costs resulting from high temperatures.”