Wabash National Corporation announced commitment from a fourth fleet to join the company’s launch program for its Cold Chain Series refrigerated van trailer made with molded structural composites.

Leonard’s Express joins Werner Enterprises, K&B Transportation and Combined Transport—with dealers Regional International, TEC Equipment and Wick’s Truck Trailers—to bring the company’s refrigerated trailer to the North American market, the company noted.

“The launch program for our Cold Chain Series composite reefer continues to move forward as planned,” said Brent Yeagy, president and chief operating officer. “Refrigerated carriers see the superior performance benefits in our new molded structural composite technology. Many carriers have been very interested in participating in the launch program so they can better understand the value of the performance benefits on their operations.” 

“We’re excited to show the progress we’ve made since we introduced our prototype trailer in February,” added Robert Lane, director of business development for Wabash National’s Commercial Trailer Products. “We’ve spent the past eight months in R&D undergoing further testing and qualifications and finalizing repair procedures. This reefer is unlike anything on the market today.”

Wabash National’s Cold Chain Series refrigerated van is made out of the company’s proprietary molded structural composite with thermal technology (MSCT), which the company said improves thermal performance by up to 25% and is up to 20% lighter, while improving puncture and damage resistance. In addition, the molded structural composite floor system promises higher floor ratings—up to 24,000 pounds.

“What this means for our customers is improved thermal efficiency, reduced fuel costs, increased payload and cargo capacity, optimized utilization and enhanced durability,” Yeagy explained.

Molded structural composites are used in a wide range of applications, including aerospace, automotive, marine and commercial construction. This is the first time the technology is being used in the trailer industry. Wabash National also utilizes this technology in its previously commercialized refrigerated truck body.

Production and field testing for the initial launch trailers will begin in the first quarter of 2017.