By Paul Weissler
As any car dealer can tell you, the sales of conventional automobiles have been plummeting for the last several years, and the market has shifted to SUVs and trucks. At the same time, air conditioning service has expanded from cars and trucks to off-road equipment, including agricultural tractors; construction, forestry and mining equipment; and a range of utility vehicles, particularly those in commercial use. The MACS training event trade show, preceded by a meeting of the SAE Interior Climate Control Committee, clearly reflected these trends. And, it gave attendees an overall, multi-faceted preview into both the trends and the products that will tie into significant opportunities for the climate control service market.
The attendees who walked up and down aisles of the MACS trade show saw examples of numerous product lines. Add in commodities that cover commercial utility vehicles, such as ambulances, and it should be apparent there’s a huge market for our shops that want to participate.
Heavy-duty trucks have long been a market for no-idle packages, typically add-ons, that allow engine-off operation of the A/C for sleeper compartments. Typically installed by truck dealers, truck service specialists and A/C shops, they include battery packs or, in some cases, use small diesel engines, which adds the functionality of heating the compartment in cold weather. Bergstrom Inc., a leading manufacturer in the field, with its NITE No-Idle line of battery-powered systems, exhibited a novel new member of the line, the eCOOLPARK, which received the trade show award for best use of technology.
The electric A/C permits a more limited, but still appealing, ability to operate the A/C with the engine off. In many cases, all that is required is the existing 12-volt or 24-volt battery, although additional battery capacity can be installed. Bergstrom also offers solar panel arrays in various configurations that can be installed to augment the battery and charging system. (for more click here)