Temperature control was at the top of its agenda when Pilgrim Foodservice commissioned the latest additions to its expanding fleet.
All have highly specified, insulated bodywork by long-standing supplier Gray & Adams. Based on a combination of 13.5- and 16-tonne Mercedes-Benz Atego chassis, the new vehicles are assigned to intensive, multi-drop delivery duties.
Gray & Adams’ 6.6m and 7.6m bodies feature twin compartments for frozen and chilled/ambient product and powerful, quiet-running Thermo King T-1000R and T-1200R multi-temperature refrigeration systems.
Enhancing operational flexibility, the bodies have movable bulkheads incorporating internal doors. The design also includes additional features specified to minimise temperature ‘creep’ between compartments and restrict any loss of cooling arising from frequent openings of one or more of the triple rear doors, which have Planarctic strip curtains.
Pilgrim Foodservice currently has further examples of each model on order. The company, which is based in Boston, Lincolnshire, takes pride in its brand image, and its latest trucks certainly look their part in its smart metallic silver livery with colour-coded bumpers. Their modern appearance is further enhanced by Gray & Adams’ latest, aerodynamically profiled, large radius panel cappings.
Managing Director Peter Bateman founded the family firm in 1979. A high-profile member of the British Frozen Food Federation, it supplies some 6,500 frozen, chilled and ambient food lines, as well as cleaning and disposable products, to an expanding portfolio of customers.
Pilgrim Foodservice’s vehicles make deliveries across a large swathe of the country that takes in 12 counties, from London to North Yorkshire, and from the East Midlands to the east coast.
“We used to shop around for temperature-controlled bodywork but began dealing with Gray & Adams nearly 20 years ago and have not looked back since,” says Mr Bateman.
“Gray & Adams’ Steve Rose and his colleagues provide an excellent, customer-focused design service. They are very flexible in their approach and have been able to incorporate a number of improvements on our latest vehicles, which have helped to take the pressure off the fridge.”
He continues: “Gray & Adams equipment is manufactured to a very high standard and we know it will last long enough to give us a double life – we have boxes that are 16 and 17 years old which we’ve remounted onto new chassis and are still going strong.
“Gray & Adams also understand the crucial importance of maximising uptime. If ever we have an issue that cannot be resolved at base – which doesn’t happen very often – they will take the vehicle back into their factory at Doncaster, work on it overnight and get it back to us within a matter of hours.”
Pilgrim’s latest vehicles are equipped with Thermo King technology that allows operations staff to monitor vehicle temperatures remotely in real time and where necessary intervene to adjust the fridge output from a computer back at base.
“It’s all about ease of operation and maintaining temperature integrity,” adds Mr Bateman. “We can see when the doors are opened and for how long, and if necessary make finely-tuned adjustments to the cooling system from the office.”
Pilgrim Foodservice is also a longstanding operator of Mercedes-Benz vehicles, which dominate its fleet. The Atego 1624L models, which have uprated front axles, and 1321Ls, were supplied by local Dealer Intercounty Truck & Van. Their ClassicSpace day cabs are air-conditioned, while they also feature optional Lane Keeping Assist safety systems, carbon filters and air suspended rear axles.