The Evolution of Home Delivery

Oct 20th, 2020

Over the last 2 decades we have seen year on year growth of light commercial vehicles on the road delivering everything from the weekly grocery shopping to white goods and especially over the last few years, the ubiquitous online retailer package.

Temperature Control plays a huge part in grocery home delivery, not just for food safety which is a critical element but also for food quality. Customers today want the convenience of having their shopping dropped to their front door but are also mindful that the product has enough shelf life, is of good quality and is at the correct temperature. Frozen Food should be at -18oC, Chill at 2oC and ambient product should ideally be at room temperature. Keeping ambient separate from temperature controlled product enables the refrigeration unit to cool product efficiently and reduces the possibility of moisture on ambient packaging when removed from the vehicle and brought into a warm environment.

The Covid-19 Pandemic has increased the demand for home delivery in every market as people are confined to their homes. The largest supermarket chains to the individual owner operator has had to react to the change in customer requirement and is trying to find the best way to deliver product efficiently & at the right temperature.

Up to now the best way to operate home delivery has been in a custom built body with 3 compartments on a chassis cab. These vans can hold up to 120 crates with each product being in its own temperature controlled environment. The downside to these vehicles is their size. Smaller owner operators dont need that volume in the vehicle and quite often don’t have the space to park the van at the retail outlet, let alone drive through narrow streets and underground car parks when delivering to apartments.

Typical Home Delivery Box Body with 3 compartments
A typical Temperature Controlled Home Delivery Vehicle with 3 compartments. Frozen, Chilled & Ambient.

At the request of several customers our Insulation Workshop has spent the last few months working on a van conversion project which will give our customers the critical 3 Temperature Zones in a smaller panel van which will enable supermarkets & food suppliers to get their deliveries in and out of tight delivery locations with less fuss. The conversion can also be installed in electric vehicles and cooled using Thermo King’s E-200 All Electric Refrigeration Unit & ES-100N Home Delivery Slimline Evaporator Configuration

Access to the frozen & Chilled compartments is through the vans side door and ambient through the rear. A door switch is installed to turn the evaporators off when the side door is open which helps preserve temperature and Thermo King’s Blue Box Telematics is also available to give visibility of the vehicles location, temperature history & door openings.

Side view of van with seperate compartments for frozen & chilled product
Home Delivery Panel Van with separate Chill Compartment (left) which has space for 15 crates and Freezer Compartment with space for 10 crates.
View inside the rear of the van with storage racks for ambient groceries.
Ambient Goods are stored separately from the temperature controlled compartments which improves refrigeration efficiency & product quality.

All insulated panels in the panel van conversion are manufactured at our state of the art facility in Ballinlough, Roscommon. Our conversions are lightweight, tough & give the highest payload with minimum impact on the vehicles GVW for WLTP (World Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure)

As Home Delivery grows in the market both Ballinlough & Thermo King are best placed to adapt & change to suit the requirements set out by both our Customers & legislation.

For more information you can find us at or contact a member of the team on 01 4600322.


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