LOUISVILLE, KY. Carrier Transicold chose the Mid-America Trucking Show to unveil its newest control system for transport refrigeration units (TRUs). Called the APX, the system uses distributed electronics, features a bigger, brighter display with simplified user interface; greater memory; and an expanded range of applications for unit customization. Initially, APX will be available as an option on Carrier’s X2 Series TRUs, specifically, the X2 2100 and X2 2500.

APX essentially takes what was formerly housed in a single, large metal control box and splits it into compact, sealed, sub-components or “modules” including the display module, the main microprocessor module and a power-control module, among others. The result is a system with more efficient placement of hardware components, resulting in reduced complexity and greater reliability. The approach also results in a lighter-weight system (some 40% less) and a wiring harness with fewer connections and shorter runs.

All modules use the CAN-bus communications protocol.

“CAN-bus makes system expansion, adding modules for expanded capabilities, as simple as plug-and-play,” noted David Kiefer, director of marketing and product management for Carrier. “A system manufactured today can be easily upgraded with future hardware capabilities by adding new modules in ‘daisy-chain’ fashion.”

According to Kiefer, the system reflects what customers are increasingly asking for: controls that allow greater customization, are easy to use, better for drivers, have higher reliability, are technician-friendly and offer obsolescence protection.

“APX combines future-forward technology with a personal touch,” Kiefer said. “From a fleet and driver perspective, it’s the easiest yet to program and use, and it provides exceptional temperature management for any hauled commodity, especially when users take advantage of popular optional Carrier applications, or ‘apps.’

The optional applications, all developed by Carrier’s own IT group, include IntelliSet; Range Protect for added fuel optimization; and Data Trak, designed to enable wireless monitoring, control and data transfers and the interface with telematics providers for WiFi, RF, cellular and satellite communications. The newest app, called Virtual Tech, is diagnostic software that runs continuously in the background, monitoring the TRU. Additional applications that may be added include ProductShield to monitor ambient conditions outside the trailer, FuelChek to alert drivers of a low-fuel situation, Door Man to monitor door switches, Driver Mode to simplify operation and help prevent errors by locking out more advanced controller functions, Sleep Mode for temporary periods of inactivity and Rail Mode.

“The architecture is also in place to allow us to talk to other systems on the truck in the future,” noted Kiefer. And customers are already expressing an interest in migrating applications to handheld devices, he added.

Besides expanding functionality, Carrier also made changes to enhance the user interface with the APX system. The new backlit LCD display has a 14% taller area and larger numerals. It continuously shows operating status via the multi-language (English, Spanish, French or Portuguese) message center with more than 300 instructional and informational driver prompts. It also features dedicated menu buttons linked to prompts on the dashboard, designed to reduce the number of keystrokes required to access various functions.

The APX display module can also show data trip recorder graphs and features four times more memory capacity than Carrier’s Advance controller. The USB port handles downloads of trip data reports onto a jump drive with flash memory. It also enables program uploads, reefer set-up and upgrades, diagnostics and more via the APX flash drive and Carrier’s TRU-Tech PC software.

Three user modes are available through the new APX control module: a Driver Mode and Advanced Mode for more experienced operators and a Technician Mode. Each has its own access levels and custom menus designed to increase ease of use.

APX comes with a 3-year, 6,000-hour warranty. It is available in limited quantities now.