Thermo King Introduces Smaller and Lighter Bulkhead Evaporator and New Split System Solutions

Thermo King is unveiling the new BE-550 lightweight bulkhead evaporator for small to mid-size shuttle and school bus applications to help ensure passenger comfort in vehicles where headroom clearance is an issue.

Thermo King, a manufacturer of transport temperature control systems for a variety of mobile applications and a brand of Ingersoll Rand, introduced this solution at BusCon 2012. It will be available to original equipment manufacturer installers in the first quarter of 2013.

The new bulkhead evaporator is a split system solution that can be mounted in the front, rear, or both bulkhead areas of a vehicle. In general, this unit offers advantages over similar industry solutions that include:

  • Approximately 40 percent smaller by volume and more than 20 percent lighter in weight;
  • Approximate airflow improvement of more than 5 percent; and,
  • Approximately 20 percent greater in capacity¬†

"The updated evaporator responds to customer requests for an HVAC system that keeps passengers comfortable in ambient conditions, while not intruding into the cabin space to avoid headroom clearance issues," said Doug Lenz, director of product management and marketing for Thermo King. "Thermo King engineers concentrated on reducing the unit footprint and weight, while increasing the airflow and cooling performance to produce a lightweight solution that maximizes performance."

The new bulkhead evaporator is ideal for small to mid-size bus users such as transit authorities, airport shuttle services, as well as school bus fleets. Three speed blowers provide optimal pulldown on the evaporator to maximize passenger comfort. The blowers and the return-air filter are easily accessible to allow for efficient maintenance.

The evaporator can accommodate either right-side or left-side refrigeration and electrical connections. It features a flexible mounting arrangement and is compatible with skirt-mount and roof condensers.

SA-600 Skirt-Mounted Condenser and Evaporator

Thermo King will also feature the SA-600 skirt-mounted condenser and evaporator solution in its booth that was introduced at BusCon last year. The solution is now available in two new offerings: the SA-400 skirt-mounted condenser and evaporator, designed for smaller shuttle bus applications and the SA-800 evaporator, designed for the largest shuttle bus applications. 

The SA-800 evaporator features dual refrigeration circuits, providing a redundant air conditioning loop to maximize uptime.

The SA series of systems was designed to significantly reduce maintenance time while offering increased performance and energy efficiency. The condensers feature micro-channel coils in lieu of standard fin-and-tube designs for increased performance and a refrigerant charge which is 66 percent lower than previous versions offered by Thermo King.

The total system charge reduction for the units is estimated at 30 percent due to the micro-channel condensers. The height of the skirt-mounted condensers is reduced by approximately 17 percent, which allows for increased ground clearance.

The condenser designs provide optimized fan placement for improved airflow through the coils. The filter/drier in the condensers is mounted in an easy-to-access location. The evaporator blowers can be replaced quickly without having to remove the entire unit cover or blower frame assemblies. The return air filter is located at the rear of the evaporator section in a swing-out frame for replacement in seconds.

All of these systems are compatible with the slim-line condenser system which was released last year. The condenser provides the industry's most compact solution and the lowest profile, measuring just six inches above the roof. 

Rooftop placement of the condenser reduces installation time and lessens refrigerant charge because it can be installed directly above the evaporator toward the rear of the vehicle. Reduced hose and harness lengths and the solution's modular design also contribute to reduced installation time. Placing the condenser on the rooftop instead of in the traditional skirt location also removes it from exposure to road heat and debris, and reduces the chance of collision damage.

All SLR, SA and BE series systems are available with three different controllers: Standard, the ClimaAire 1D with diagnostics, and the Intelligaire III microprocessor with advanced diagnostics and J1939 CANBus communication capability. The SA-400, SA-600, SA-800, and BE-550 are all manufactured in the United States to allow for a minimal lead-time and to ensure that they meet all Buy America requirements.

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