March 10, 2023

Precedent Anniversary Article


Doorbells were just getting built-in security cameras. Smartphones did not yet have facial recognition technology. And nobody had been introduced to voice assistant technology yet. 

The year was 2013. Among the noteworthy innovations that would soon be introduced to the world was the groundbreaking line of Thermo King Precedent S-Series transport refrigeration units (TRU) that protect food, pharmaceuticals, and other perishables that communities around the globe depend on each day. 

The Precedent S-Series was the first TRU in the refrigerated transportation industry to achieve Evergreen California Air Resources Board (CARB) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tier 4 engine compliance. These government agencies are charged with protecting the public from the harmful effects of air pollution. With two options for reduced emission targets in California, Thermo King chose to develop a product that met the strictest standards--achieving this compliance when no one else did. 

Thermo King made a bold statement about its commitment to innovating for a more sustainable world. Now 10 years later, the Precedent S-Series is still making an impact. 

Why such a commitment to sustainability? Thermo King built our legacy on designing innovative and sustainable solutions since our start in 1938. We’re making historic pledges to help solve some of the world’s biggest challenges. We are leading our industry in the development of sustainable solutions that uplift our planet and benefit all people who call it home. 

​​10 Years of Savings

The Precedent S-Series provides customers with an Evergreen CARB compliant choice – allowing them to avoid additional costs by not having to add a diesel particulate filter (DPF) and run their units nationwide without a need to rotate fleets that operate in California.

But how do Thermo King innovations actually help companies meet their sustainability goals? By purchasing an S-Series unit, fleets can have peace of mind knowing that they are meeting the current Particulate Matter, NOx regulations, as well as maximizing their fuel usage. In addition, since the Precedent S-Series came to market, Thermo King has helped customers avoid more than 6 million metric tons of CO2 emissions. This saves the equivalent emissions of 600 million gallons of diesel fuel, which helps reduce global warming and improve air quality. This is not only important to fleets, but also to the consumers who are purchasing the products being transported.

The S-Series is also notable for not having to utilize a DPF. Its enhanced 2-stage fuel filtration system features a five-micron primary filter with 99% efficiency. This innovative design reduces engine run hours and maintenance due to quicker pull-down and recovery through the Smart Reefer® control system, which offers three available engine speeds to optimize efficiencies at fresh and frozen temperatures. 

The launch of the Precedent S-600 series, followed by the S-700 series, is a testament to our future-forward goal of continually improving and pushing the boundaries of the transport refrigeration industry. We’re not finished yet. The Precedent S-Series portfolio continues to evolve. We recently incorporated new features into the latest S-750i model including a next-generation control system, which offers precise temperature control; and a diesel-electric architecture optimized for shore power integration, which makes the S-750i an ideal investment for businesses using or considering long-term shore power operation. 

Innovation Never Sleeps

When innovation and fresh thinking are at the heart of your company mission, new ideas are not just welcomed; they are expected. Since its founding, Thermo King has offered numerous industry-leading advancements, including: 

  • Inventing transport temperature control in 1938. 

  • Creating Cycle Sentry operation, which reduces fuel usage and saves customers operating costs through customized settings for fan speeds, timers, and temperature range settings (more than 30 years ago).

  • Introducing the first TRU to achieve Evergreen CARB and EPA Tier 4 engine compliance (2013).

  • Becoming the first manufacturer to transition to a lower global warming potential (GWP) refrigerant, R452a (January 2022). Using a lower-GWP refrigerant as the standard helps customers meet sustainability commitments and prepare for 2023 CARB regulations, which require TRUs in California to use refrigerants with a GWP of 2200 or less.

All these innovations illustrate our commitment to sustainability, which extends to the environmental impacts of our people, operations, products, and services. As a global enterprise leading the way to a more sustainable future, Thermo King focuses on helping to keep transported food and perishables safe and fresh while delivering efficient and reliable transport refrigeration solutions.

Tackling Global Challenges

While innovative products like the Precedent S-Series portfolio help customers make a  positive impact on the environment, Thermo King also participates in broader global climate goals. 

As part of Trane Technologies, Thermo King is proud to participate in the Gigaton Challenge — the first-of-its-kind climate commitment related to customer product use of any B2B company. Through this commitment, Trane Technologies has set a goal of reducing customers’ carbon footprints by one billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. This reduction equates to 2% of the world’s annual emissions — or the annual emissions of Italy, France, and the United Kingdom combined. 

Thermo King will invest more than $100 million over the next three years to deliver a fully electric product in every segment of the cold chain. Our all-electric product portfolio, branded evolve™, will include electric refrigeration solutions for truck, trailer, rail, air, and marine transport in North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. 

In addition to these global efforts, Thermo King established We Move Food: a nationwide philanthropic program designed to increase access to fresh, healthy food by reducing food waste and supporting nutrition education for families and communities that struggle with hunger and food instability. As part of this program, Thermo King partners with Feeding America and its global network of authorized dealers by providing discounts on our products and services to more than 200 food banks in the United States and Puerto Rico. 


Looking to the Future

Thermo King’s Precedent S-Series has delivered unmatched Evergreen compliance for the past decade. It is a proven TRU that our customers trust and rely on to deliver temperature-critical products across the country. Utilizing the latest technology, with sustainability at its core, it has set the Precedent for Evergreen compliance. Beginning in May 2023, California will require all new TRUs operating in the state to be Evergreen CARB compliant. Thermo King is proud to be the first manufacturer with a tried-and-true product that is compliant nationwide. Customers can continue to count on Thermo King to provide future-forward solutions. Learn more about the innovative Precedent S-Series portfolio of products.
Anniversary Home Page