What is IoT? (Internet of Things)

What is IoT? (Internet of Things)

Smart technologies have changed every industry, including transportation. The Internet of Things (IoT) uses new technologies to convert regular tools and pieces of machinery into smart devices that can be controlled via computer or app. For the transportation industry, the IoT has changed the way that loads are managed during shipments. 

What is The Internet of Things

The use of GPS to track loads from start to finish to the new temperature monitoring services that can manage the temperature in a reefer trailer remotely are true time savers.  In addition, all areas of transportation are being improved by smart technology. 

A recent study conducted by Frost and Sullivan shows that a fleet that is managed by IoT technology can significantly improve performance in every area of operation. Some areas, such as fuel usage and fleet utilization, can see an improvement of up to 30 percent by incorporating these smart technologies.  

Any increase in performance is beneficial to a company. However, improvements that are over 10 percent can result in reduced operating costs and better overall performance of the company. 

The study also showed that shipping companies utilizing smart technology to control the temperature of their loads see a significant decrease in spoilage. Using remote reefer management systems, these companies can guarantee that the temperature remains constant from the minute it is loaded until it arrives and is unloaded from the container.  

Temperature control is crucial to many agricultural loads and pharmaceutical transportation. Even small variations in temperature can ruin the product and cause significant losses for the company. 

computers enhance transportation industry

Smart Technology Enables Temperature Management 

The smart technology used to manage the temperature in a reefer container is very basic. It consists of a GPS system and uses Bluetooth technology connected to a program that maintains the temperature at all times. If fluctuations are found in the temperature, the system can make the necessary adjustments remotely. If the problem is something that can’t be remotely fixed, the system will notify the driver immediately so that the problem can be adjusted manually before the temperature fluctuates too much and causes potential harm to the product. 

Documentation For Business 

A final benefit of using remote reefer management systems is the ability to produce temperature reports for the end-receiver of the product. Since the load is continually monitored, you can build a report that shows the temperature of the product throughout the shipment process. This is beneficial to all parties if there is ever a question about the safety of the product. 

Additionally, many companies that receive special items and pharmaceutical products will not accept any refrigerated shipment that cannot provide verification of shipping temperatures. Businesses that implement the remote system can increase their business by being able to offer shipping services to these specialty companies. 

Shipping Container Walk-In Cooler: A Restaurant Food Storage Solution

Shipping Container Walk-In Cooler: A Restaurant Food Storage Solution

Restaurants that are experiencing growth may find that they need extra refrigeration space. This could present a problem for restaurants located in a building that they lease or at a location with limited renovation space. Additionally, many restaurants do not want to close their location for renovations or risk moving to a lower traffic location.  There are even some new shipping container restaurants opening in the hottest locations worldwide. 

So, what do you do? You cannot afford to stunt the growth of your business, but you also cannot grow without enough refrigeration space. 

The answer: Use refrigeration trailers for walk-in coolers at your restaurant.

The Benefits of Refrigeration Trailers for Restaurants 

A shortage of cold storage space can be solved by creating a shipping container walk-in cooler for your business. You can purchase a refrigerated shipping container and have it converted into a cold storage space for your company with little investment or time. These containers can be placed anywhere on your property and will maintain your food products at desired temperatures with ease. 

Portables360 offers refrigeration trailers for restaurants in two different sizes so that you can always have the room you need for your company. Portables360 can even customize your trailers so that you have two different temperatures in the same unit which will allow you to store different food products in one area. 

Using a shipping container walk-in cooler is also very convenient for your business. The container can be placed anywhere on the property and is safe and secure. These containers are airtight and you will not have to worry about anyone or anything entering the container when the door is shut. 

These shipping containers can be used as a temporary cold storage solution, or you can make them into a permanent fixture for your property. Portables360 offers leasing options as well as purchase options on all of their refrigerated containers. 

bowl of pink ice cream

Customize your Walk-In Freezer Container 

The beauty of this type of cold storage solution is that these containers can be customized to meet your needs. Shelving, lighting, and other specialty changes can be made to the container so that it fulfills all of your needs. Even if you are only looking for a temporary cold storage solution, you can change these containers to provide you with exactly what you need in storage space. 

All of our containers have been designed for even consistent cooling via Airflow Management. Any containers that do not implement this technology will be very cold in one area and warmer at the opposite end. This can lead to product spoilage or contamination. Our refrigerated containers have been designed to push the cooled air evenly through the container so that all areas maintain the same temperature. 

If you need to expand your cold storage space, even on a temporary basis, Contact Portables360 will help you find the right refrigerated container to meet your needs. 

Pharmaceutical Storage

Pharmaceutical Storage

Pharmaceutical products must be managed carefully after production to ensure their quality until they reach the end consumer. This is especially important when it comes to temperature control. Many pharmaceutical products can lose their potency.  They may become harmful if they are subjected to extreme heat or cold.

In fact, some medications like vaccines need to be kept cold at all times because of their components. Allowing these medicines to become warm before use makes them ineffective.

Customizable climate controlled storage container

Pharmaceutical Storage Solutions

Storing pharmaceutical products requires a secure storage container that offers temperature and humidity control. The easiest solution that meets these guidelines is refrigerated shipping containers.

A refrigerated container offers you a secure space to store your pharmaceutical products. The thick walls prevent anyone from tampering with the unit and trying to enter it.  The single entrance is easy to secure. You can also place the unit in a position that allows for easy monitoring of the entrance.

The interior of the unit can be customized with shelving or other racks for storage. Lighting can be installed for convenience and safety. The cooling system can be monitored from the outside at all times.  This will reduce the number of times the unit needs to be opened.  In this way, efficient climate control is achieved.

The cooling unit on the container is also designed to circulate the air within the container instead of just pumping in cool air. Circulated air ensures that all the product receives consistent cooling. This eliminates the potential for damage to pharmaceuticals placed near the end of the unit.  Consistent temperature is imperative for pharmaceutical storage.

storage of medications in climate controlled shipping containers

Emergency Services and Disaster Relief

Refrigerated shipping containers also provide a great way to move pharmaceutical products into emergency areas or areas where disasters have struck. These secure storage containers are easy to transport and can bring in viable and essential medications to areas in crisis.

Storage containers are also the right choice for moving pharmaceutical products and vaccinations into areas where there is limited access to medication. Health organizations and charity groups can help those in need by transporting medications and vaccinations into third-world areas without the threat of unauthorized access or spoilage.

Benefit Of Cold Storage Containers

Pharmacies and medical centers can also benefit from secure cold storage units at their place of business. Using a secure storage container is a cost-effective way of pharmaceutical storage without having to make significant changes to a building. If your business needs additional space, you can use a storage container for your pharmaceutical products instead of building additional storage space or having to move your business.

Marijuana Storage

Marijuana Storage

One of the keys to a successful marijuana crop is being able to store the harvested crop correctly. Cannabis growers can safely store marijuana that has been cured for about a year if it is stored in the right conditions. When stored properly, the marijuana will not lose its taste, smell or potency which is important in long term marijuana storage.

Storing your crop gives you better control of when to sell your product. If the market is flooded when your crop is harvested, you can store the product until a time when you can get a better price. Proper marijuana storage containers also allow you to sell during off-season periods when demand remains high but availability is low.

Proper Marijuana Storage Conditions

To store your cured cannabis correctly, you will need a dark place that is temperature and humidity-controlled. Exposure to sunlight, water or dampness, or temperatures that are warm or hot or too cold can cause the crop to spoil.

You need to be able to seal the product in a storage area that can be easily monitored for temperature and moisture and gives 100 percent protection from exposure to the sun.

The best choice for this type of storage facility is a refrigerated shipping container. When it comes to controlled temperature storage, these containers provide you with everything you need.

display of cold storage containers

Benefits of Refrigerated Containers for Marijuana Storage:

  • Complete darkness.  Storage container lighting is important for when you are working inside. Other than that, your cannabis should remain in darkness as much as possible.
  • Controlled temperature. You can manage and monitor the temperature from outside the container for convenience.
  • Humidity control. You can control the humidity in these controlled temperature storage units because they are air-tight.
  • Sufficient space. You can place shelving in the unit or store your crop in containers.
  • Cooling system. These containers are designed to circulate the air in the container.  They do not just push cool air in one side and hope it reaches the other end at the same temperature. Your crops will remain fresh regardless of their location in the container.

As a final benefit of using a cold storage shipping container, you can easily secure your crop.  With only one entrance to the storage unit, security does not have to be elaborate.

It takes four months to grow a crop for harvesting (Ever considered using a shipping container for a grow room?). It can take less than five days to ruin a crop from improper storage. Opting for a refrigerated shipping container is a cost-effective way to protect your crop while in storage for up to a year.

Preparing for a Natural Disaster

Preparing for a Natural Disaster

Power outage occurs.  Are you prepared?  As northerners count down the days until the winter storm season ends, southern and coastal communities are bracing for hurricane season.  The season begins on June 1. Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project is calling for 13 named storms this year.  Five are likely to become hurricanes.  Two may strengthen into major storms (Category 3 or higher).

Reliable cold storage is imperative for families, medical centers, restaurants, and grocery stores during and after a storm.  It could be a matter of life and death. That is why it is crucial to prepare your home and business for a power outage.  We’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks to help you preserve perishable items during and after a storm.

using a candle in a power outage

Preserving Personal and Retail Products During a Power Outage

With some simple preventative measures in place, you can easily safeguard your family’s food and your business’ inventory:

  • Place appliance thermometers in all of your freezers and refrigerators so that you can ensure your perishables are at a safe temperature for consumption during a power outage. 40 degrees Fahrenheit or less in a refrigerator and 0 degrees Fahrenheit or less in a freezer is considered safe.
  • Before the storm hits, fill plastic storage bags or small containers with water and freeze them. If the power goes out, use them to fit around food in the refrigerator and freezer to keep food cold.
  • Freeze leftovers, milk and meat that you do not need immediately to keep them at a safe temperature longer.
  • Figure out where you may be able to purchase dry or block ice to put in coolers with your perishables in case the power is out for more than four hours.
  • Limit the number of times you open the refrigerator and freezer. A refrigerator will stay cold for roughly four hours and a full freezer will hold its temperature for about 48 hours with minimal opening.
  • Fill your washing machine with ice and place perishable items inside to keep them colder longer. Once the ice has melted, the water will drain just like it would if you had run a load of laundry.
  • Purchase a generator or to keep necessities like AC/heat, cell phone chargers and refrigerators running or alternate cold storage to preserve perishables.
  • Many vaccines will retain their properties despite slight changes in temperature, however, more sensitive vaccines like MMR or Varivax may be compromised, so it is important to monitor the temperature of the cold storage they are in.
  • The CDC recommends that vaccine providers establish agreements with other facilities, such as hospitals, to serve as emergency storage facilities during power outages.

Transformer on power lines

Recovering from a Power Outage

Once the storm has passed and power has returned, it’s important to evaluate all perishable items and throw away anything that may have been compromised:

  • Check the thermometers you placed inside your refrigerator and freezer and throw out any items that have been above the minimum temperature for two hours or more.
  • Throw out any items that have an unusual odor, color or texture.
  • Do not taste test a food to determine if it is safe. When in doubt, throw it out.
  • If your home or business flooded, do not eat anything that may have come into contact with the water.

Other Cold Storage Solutions

Refrigerated containers are the ultimate solution to preserving food and pharmaceuticals during and after natural disasters. These containers provide customers with a consistent temperature-controlled space that runs on a generator, so you can keep temperatures low even when power is lost.

It’s never too early to start preparing for the next storm season and putting measures in place to ensure that your personal and business inventory will be protected during a power outage.

Spring Cleaning Portable Storage Containers

Spring Cleaning Portable Storage Containers

Pollen is in the air!  It’s time to share some cold storage maintenance tips.  Yesterday we received several postcards from HVAC service companies selling their air conditioner seasonal tune-up services.  In order for an HVAC system to work efficiently, the unit requires a little attention.  Your cold storage container needs attention also.

Cold Storage Maintenance Tips

Similar to your home air conditioner, it’s time to tune-up your cold storage unit.  A simple review of your cold storage system will guarantee your unit is operating as efficiently as possible and, ultimately, maintaining the quality of your product.  As we change seasons, pollen and dust are the biggest culprits that negatively impact the operation of our machinery.

As the April showers bring May flowers, consider the following Spring maintenance:

Clean your condenser fans and coils

Debris (i.e. dirt, pollen, leaves, etc.) accumulates on the fan and in between the condenser coil fins of your cooling equipment.  Prolonged buildup of dirt will force the unit to work harder and longer.  This will ultimately hinder the machine’s performance.  Turn your unit off and give the coils a simple rinse with a garden hose.

cleaning condenser coils on storage trailersCheck your evaporator coils

On our machines the evaporator coils are not exposed to the outside elements. However, they can still build up with dirt and excess ice.  For maximum cooling, you must make sure the evaporator coils are clean and free of ice and dirt that impede the airflow.  Moreover, excess ice on the evaporator coils may also impact the micro’s sensors.  The best way to clean the coils is to empty the cargo and run the unit at 70 degrees.  When any/all ice has melted, just rinse the coils clean.

Visually examine the portable storage container – inside and out

When we do a visual “360” of the unit, we are looking for the following, but not limited to:

  • Worn or cut gaskets;
  • Fully operational and properly seated doors;
  • Holes on the interior or exterior;
  • Height and location of the cargo inside the unit;
  • Position of the Fresh Air Vent on the outside/back panel of the unit;
  • Vinyl curtains installed and fitted properly;
  • Clean drains of dirt/debris.

Choose the correct lighting

Do you still have incandescent lighting inside your portable storage container?  You might consider changing to LEDs.  Aside from energy savings from using lower wattage lighting, consider the amount of heat produced when the 3 x 100 watt bulbs are left on.  An incandescent bulb is an extremely inefficient light source. According to the Wikipedia online encyclopedia, a 100-watt bulb is 2.1% efficient. In other words, it produces about 2 watts of light and 98 watts of heat.

Interior LED lights for storage containersIt doesn’t require a special technician to maintain your portable storage container.  Instead, following these basic tips will guarantee you are operating the cold storage unit efficiently.