Air Freight News

Tower Cold Chain announces product upgrade for the airline and railway sector

May 31, 2023

The temperature-controlled transportation of perishable food, beverages and ice is now even easier thanks to the latest product expansion from Tower Cold Chain – a range of onboard catering containers, capable of maintaining fresh and frozen temperatures without using dry ice.

Listening to customer needs, Tower’s passive Advanced Insulated Boxes (AIB4 & AIB7) have been tested and new PCM plates fitted to give the choice to customer to transport and store their perishable food and passenger wet ice at refrigerated and/or frozen temperatures. This is because the AIB range meets Food Safety Standards and sustain, temperatures at 5°C and below 0°C for up to 24 hours.

This upgrade gives airlines and rail operators the ability to serve ice on return flights or long train routes without the need to restock. The clever and simple design means a single trolley can hold consumables needing two different temperatures.

As such, the Advanced Insulated Box fills a gap in the onboard insulated container market, eliminating the need for dry ice, electricity, or human intervention during transit. This is achieved through using a combination of VIP insulating materials and phase change materials (PCMs).

Available in two sizes, 12.9L and 26.6L, the AIBs Operational Qualification (OQ) test measured the performance of the onboard catering solution for frozen food products throughout, and at the extremities of the available payload volume. Frozen and wet ice results indicated the container was able to maintain the simulated payload between -25°C. and 0°C for over 17 hours before the test was finished, with zero temperature excursions during this time.

“Dry ice is considered a hazardous material when transported and therefore requires strict compliance and regulatory training,” commented Suzanne Hagley, Business Development Manager Airlines/Cargo – Tower Cold Chain. “Tower’s passive, on-board catering containers eliminate the need for such complexities, enabling airlines and train operators to carry food without compromising safety standards or creating dedicated supply chain networks at each station.”

Innovation is also achieved through the AIB’s modular design, made of a robust and long- life monocoque hard shell outer and inner, and top-grade VIP sustainable panels that allow the container to withstand years of manual handling and repeated cleaning in catering tunnel washing. This double layered protection helps to maintain the temperature of the contents and ensures the container is reusable for 5+ years, whilst its airtight seals and locking mechanisms ensure that the contents stay fresh and secure during transport, to reduce spillage and waste.

In addition, the AIB’s optimum size and shape means it can fit into standard Atlas airline and rail catering boxes and carts, making it easy to integrate into users existing galley space or cargo holds, so that crew members can easily serve passengers their in-transit meals and snacks.

“Catering options have evolved a lot over the last few years, and with it the need to store food and beverages at lower temperatures. The AIB range revolutionises onboard catering, allowing airlines and trainlines to transport sandwiches, salads, ice cream, frozen meals and drinks at refrigerated and sub-zero temperatures in food graded or FDA “known safe” units,” concluded Suzanne.

The AIB design meets Tower’s commitment to sustainability by providing return catering opportunities to reduce the risk of food waste. It also gives airlines and rail operators the possibly to use fewer down-route stations, thus reducing costs, energy or where the uplift does not meet the airline food safety requirements.

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