For operators considering any equipment purchase, one of the most important considerations before investing is the level of after sales support available nationally. This is even more true when looking at an innovative product which is relatively new to the UK market. Swedish company Hultsteins has been in business since 1959, but only brought its tried and tested alternative to diesel-engined transport refrigeration units (TRUs) to the UK during 2019.
Aware that having an established repair and maintenance provider join their mission would be vital, Hultsteins have appointed Kent-based Longhurst Refrigeration as their UK National Aftersales Service Partner. Started in 2014 by Denise and Jason Longhurst, the company offers 24-hour provision to operators across the South of England and was recognised as Transport Refrigeration Service Provider of the Year at the TCS&D Awards in 2016 and 2018.
“As a fully independent company, this is potentially a gamechanger for us,” says operations director Fred Allen. As well as providing hands-on service to Hultsteins customers in their usual catchment area, Longhurst will also have responsibility for co-ordinating all repair and maintenance work carried out on Hultsteins’ behalf, nationwide.
“For customers further afield, we will take responsibility for vetting all third-party providers, ensuring they are trained and competent to the same level as our own engineers,” Allen assures us. “We will also look after all invoicing and technical enquiries, keeping everything clean, tidy and efficient. This means operators will only need to deal with one trusted point of contact, no matter when or where they might need us.”
Hultsteins offers two main products, both of which enable a TRU to be powered by the truck’s engine via a PTO. For rigid-bodied vehicles up to 26-tonnes, the Ecofridge Slimline is a fully hydraulic solution, replacing the traditional top-mounted unit with a far slimmer, lighter version which also allows vehicle height to be kept to a minimum.
For tractor units and trailers there is the Ecogen, an easily accessible bridging technology. Ecogen uses the same technology to generate the 400v electricity needed to run an existing diesel TRU using its integral stand-by electrical motor.
“There’s real potential here for operators to see a big improvement in their carbon footprint, compared to a traditional diesel fridge,” Fred Allen tells us. “Meanwhile, for Longhurst Refrigeration, the aim is to develop alongside Hultsteins, helping to build confidence in their environmentally friendly products from the very beginning.”