Hook type refrigeration trucks – specialized transport of fresh meat

General characteristics and features of a hook type trailer.

The hook type refrigeration trucks also called hook trucks, are the type of trucks used for the transportation of fresh meat on hooks. 

With this type of trucks you can transport the following: beef quarters, pork half-carcasses, pork elements, e.g. hams, bellies, shoulders, necks and mutton or lamb carcasses.

Aside from the above mentioned goods, which are intended for the human consumption, with hook trucks you can also transport fresh animal skins used for craftsmanship of fancy goods. 

Loading of hanged goods, is executed by attaching a certain meat piece to a hook (most of times is the piercing of meat with the hook), which is then hanged onto the a metal pipe fixed to a trailer's inside roof.  

Hooks and the pipes used for the hanging of hooks are made out of stainless steel, to prevent corrosion of a metal and to avoid the corroded metal going through to the meat, causing food contamination. 

On top of that, every pipe is covered in special grease used in transportation of food, so that the hooks during the loading and unloading, could move freely across pipes, preventing a rubbing of metal against metal and getting metal filings getting through meat. 

As the hook is not permanently attached to the pipe, but only hanged onto it, hence the loading and unloading is done by slipping off hooks with the goods from the pipe from the trailer on to a special pipe at a meat processing factory, where goods get on a cutting line. 

Essentially, there are three types of hook type trucks, depending on the hook system:
  1. European system (the trailer has 5 right-handed pipes, with the diameter of 60,3 mm).
  2. Danish system (the trailer has 4 left-handed pipes with the diameter of 48,30 mm).
  3. Mixed system (the trailer has 9 pipes all together, 5 European system and 4 Danish system pipes). 
Moreover, we can divide hook type trucks into two groups:
  1. Standard refrigeration hook type trucks with one aggregate for the transport of goods in one set temperature. 
  2. Hook type trucks with split walls and two aggregates, allowing for the carriage of  fresh, hanged goods and frozen goods on pallets at the same time, in one loading space. 
According to the current legislation on a maximum permissible total weight (mass of a truck including tractor and trailer, as well as the load), that is 40 tonnes in Poland most of the European countries, you can load approximately 21,5 tonnes gross of goods onto to the hook type truck. 
The maximum weight of the load can fluctuate and be dependent on a few factors:
  1. The amount of hooks required for the exchange – e.g. for the loading of beef quarters this is roughly 350 hooks for exchange, and for the loading of pork half-carcasses it is around 500 hooks, whereas for the loading of pork elopements it is 200 hooks etc.
  2. The age of the trailer – older trailers tend to be heavier than the newer generation ones, as manufactures try to improve the construction process by using lighter materials for the production of trailers, whilst remaining the same safety measures.
  3. The type of trailers -  hook type trucks with mix hook system and trailers with split walls are definitely heavier than a standard refrigeration trucks or hook type trucks with an European or a Danish hook system.

Good on pallets can also be loaded on hook type trailers, however close attention should be paid to the weight and height of the loading.
The approximate height of the hook truck is 2,45-2,55 meters, while the one of a standard refrigeration truck is 2,65 m. 

Additionally, standard refrigeration truck (without hooks) can have a load of 22,5 tonnes gross of goods, while loading onto the hook truck can be maximum 21,5 tonnes gross. 
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