Purpose - The major objectives of this study are the engineering development and the structural analysis with finite element method (FEM) of a refrigerated container having a passive equipment and a remote control system to carry both fresh (+4°C÷±1°C) and frozen (-18°C ÷-20°C) goods. The purpose of this paper is to offer some solutions to the many disadvantages of using phase change material (PCM) to refrigerate the insulated container for transporting both fresh and frozen goods. Design/methodology/approach - In order to transport both fresh products (+4°C÷±1°C) and frozen products (-18°C ÷-20°C), the PCM elements are filled with one eutectic liquid only, so as to avoid problems related to filling and emptying the eutectic plates, and to plate corrosion. Moreover, specially shaped air ducts and a cool flow control system are designed to maintain a uniform circulation of cool air and constant humidity values. All the structures of the container are correctly designed by means of FEM calculations to assure that all the structural, safety standards parameters are satisfied. Findings - An innovative refrigerated container with PCM and a remote control system used to transport both fresh (+4°C÷±1°C) and frozen (-18°C ÷-20°C) products, in which it is possible to maintain the temperature values for almost seven days, has been considered here. Many disadvantages due to the use of PCM have been eliminated. It is possible to maintain a uniform circulation cool air and humidity values within the design parameters by means of fans; moreover, this container is light and environmentally friendly. All structures of the container are designed using FEM. Originality/value - This paper presents a refrigerated container with passive equipment and a remote control system to carry both fresh (+4°C÷±1°C) and frozen (-18°C ÷-20°C) goods in which it is possible to maintain the temperature values necessary for almost seven days. The container is equipped with a remote control system powered by photovoltaic panels which works in real time, is capable of giving information about the environmental parameters set in it and monitors the state of products by means of a network of sensors. Furthermore, the remote control system can send information about the position of the container to a remote control centre. The relevant structural conditions are numerically (FEM) evaluated and reported.
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