What You Need to Know About the 2 Types of Temperature Controlled Shipping Containers

Temperature controlled shipping containers are the ideal solution for transporting sensitive cargo that should maintain a constant temperature over long distances. Temperature controlled containers are often used to transport perishable items such as foodstuffs, chemical substances and medication among other items. There are two main types of temperature-controlled systems: refrigerated and insulated containers.

Refrigerated containers

Refrigerated containers are also called integrated unit containers. These containers have an integral refrigeration unit that controls the temperature inside the container. The external dimensions of the container still meet the 10ft, 20ft and 40ft ISO standards for shipping containers in order to fit inside the cell guides in the container ship. Therefore, the internal space of the container is slightly less than other regular containers. The integral unit works in the following ways:

  • The integral unit needs to be connected to a power supply system during transportation. The number of integral units on a single ship depends on its power capacity. Sometimes, you can use power generators if the ships power capacity is too low.
  • The refrigeration unit draws warm air from the inside the container, cools it and releases the cod air back into the container. The gratings on the floor and corrugation on the walls of the container help with adequate circulation. You have to maintain a distance of at least twelve centimeters in the upper area of the container for adequate airflow. Normally, the maximum load is marked on the walls to ensure that you leave the required headspace.
  • The integral unit can also be designed to control fresh air exchange.
  • The temperature of the cargo is monitored throughout transportation using a temperature display outside the container. This ensures that ambient temperatures are maintained throughout.

Porthole containers

This type of container does not have a refrigeration unit; however, it is insulated to prevent external temperatures from affecting the temperature of the cargo. Since there is no running refrigeration unit there is more space inside the container for the cargo. It works in the following ways:

  • The container has an opening for the supply and exit of air at the top and bottom. The ships central cooling plant provides cold air to the container, which displaces the warm air out the top of the container.
  • The container still has the floor gratings and corrugated walls for better airflow.
  • Porthole containers do not have temperature displays; temperature is monitored from the ships central cooling unit.

Learn more about your options by consulting companies like Ultimate Storage Solutions.