There are three types of temperature-controlled tank containers available including refrigerated, heated and super insulated. Typical industry applications include the movement of:
- Waxes and latex
- Food and drinks
- Medial & pharmaceutical
- Resins & urethanes
- Construction and building materials
Refrigerated tank containers
This type of temperature-controlled container may use brine, synthetic oil, propylene glycol or ethylene glycol to refrigerate the contents.
Reefer units are used to transport temperature sensitive cargoes whilst others are constructed for use on offshore oil and gas platforms through to units that are designed for military use.
Some reefers have two full capacity refrigeration units and these are used to store and transport very temperature sensitive or valuable cargoes including chemicals and pharmaceuticals.
Some refrigerated units have been specifically designed for use in hazardous locations, Zone 2, Group IIB ATEX. Whilst the offshore DNV reefer containers are classified as ATEX Group II, Category 3 for Zone 2 hazardous areas.
For clarification, ATEX refers to two EU directives that govern the equipment that can be used in explosive environments, and the development of safe workspaces where risk is present. So, ATEX 137 has specifications for protecting workers whilst ATEX95 provides guidelines for manufacturers or explosion proof equipment.
ATEX differentiates between zones according to the level of risk they present so, Zone 0 is the highest risk zone and this environment is described as one where explosive gas, mist or vapor may be present continuously. Zone 1 is defined as areas where these risks are common but not regular and Zone 2 is an area where they are encountered occasionally.
Equipment designated for use in Zone 0 and Zone 1 has to be certified by an independent, third-party auditor and is labelled with the symbol EX.
Heated tank containers
This type of container is used to transport temperature sensitive chemicals that are used in industries such as the automotive industry, machine and plant construction industries. Temperature is controlled using steam, hot water, glycol, water/glycol mix and electric heating systems.
Good temperature control is essential for maintaining product quality and some products are very sensitive to even the smallest fluctuations.
Heating is for products that have to remain at an elevated temperature or kept in liquid form. And, any heating or refrigeration system has to be mounted with the frame of the container otherwise, it will fall outside of the ISO specification and therefore cannot be shipped.
Super or high insulated tank containers
This unit has above standard insulation thickness to extend the temperature hold time and reduce temperate variations of the product contained within.
These are typically used for food groups that do not require refrigeration but do need to be kept cool or warm within a given temperature range.
Super insulated units are non-mechanical and therefore, wont breakdown, and are cheaper than reefer units however, they will not cover every temperature variance possibility.
Depending on specification and/or manufacturer, super or high-insulated containers may have insulation from 100 to 200mm in thickness and some come with sun shields.
If you’re interested in reading more about tank containers, you be be interested in our recent article about what are tank containers and if you want to get a price for a used tank container, please contact us or complete our online enquiry form.