How the NMFC Affects Your Business – Freight Class Chart

The NMFC has something to do with freight class. That is about all most of us know what the NMFC is all about. But it can’t hurt to know more what the NMFC is, who runs it, where does it come from, how do I get one, this article is for you! After this article, you will know exactly what the NMFC is and how it affects your business.

First off, the NMFC stands for National Motor Freight Classification. It is a guide used to classify all the commodities shipped and handled by motor carriers in North America.  The commodities are assigned one of 18 different classes – from a low of 50 to a high of 500 – based on four transportation characteristics:  density, stow-ability, handling and liability.

It also includes rules and packaging requirements for each type of commodity to ensure adequate protection for products moving in the LTL motor carrier service.

The NMFC constitutes industry standards which are developed and maintained by the National Classification Committee (NCC), an autonomous committee of 100 carrier representatives who are elected to represent the more than 1,000 motor carriers participating in the NMFC. The NCC’s activities are regulated by the US Surface Transportation Board which is part of the Department of Transportation (DOT).

The NMFC is published by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA), a nonprofit organization based in Alexandria, VA.

Defining Freight Class

Although, classes are determined by density, stow-ability, handling and liability, the biggest factor in determining the class is the density. The denser the commodity is, the lower the freight class. Always remember that!

Here is a “rule of thumb” we folks in the freight industry use to do a quick estimate to determine a particular freight class. Of course this should be backed up by the NFMC but you can a pretty accurate idea of a freight class by following this chart.

FREIGHT CLASS CHART

The first column shows the pounds per cubic foot (PCF). The second column shows freight class. So when the PCF is greater than the number in the first column, than the class will likely be the number in the second column.

PCF     Class
50        50
35        55
30        60
22.5     65
15        70
13.5     77
12        85
10.5     92
9         100
8         110
7         125
6         150
5         175
4         200
3         250
2         300
1         400
< 1     500

Article provided by Newgistics Freight Services

Contact Tim Walsh today for a FREE Freight Evaluation to see how much savings is available to your company!

Tim can be reached at twalsh@newgisticsfreightservices.com or (908) 879-2940.

Own a restaurant? Tips to save time, energy, and money.

1. Make Your Menu More Efficient.

Are your menu items being prepped and cooked as efficiently as possible? Items that need to be thawed for daily food service can be defrosted in a refrigerator overnight instead of under running water reducing energy usage and conserving water. Review your menu to see if there are common ingredients or items that can all come from one source. Minimizing the number of individual deliveries you receive weekly will add to your conservation practices and reduce your delivery expenses as well as receiving time when you can be going in and out of cold storage using additional energy to bring it back to safe temperatures.

2. Switch to energy efficient light bulbs.

Subway recently switched all their light bulbs to energy efficient bulbs in all of their 2000 US franchise locations. Switching to an energy efficient light bulb can save up to $22 per bulb per year. This can add up to quite a savings over time. Also keep lights off when you don’t need them. If you don’t start serving lunch until 11 o’clock there is no reason to turn the dining room lights on until then.

Areas such as walk-in coolers or your dry store room don’t need to be illuminated all day long. Turning off lights as you leave typically unused areas is a great way to save money on your energy bill. Electrical timers can be used in these areas especially if they are commonly forgotten and left on overnight.

Higher efficiency bulbs can be used in areas that require constant lighting. Replace incandescent lights in your walk in cooler with fluorescent or LED lights which produce less heat and consume less energy. Replacing bulbs with higher efficient options will show a lower cost in your monthly bill.

3. Pre-cut and freeze many of the common vegetables you use in your restaurant or cafe.

slicing-veggiesOnions: Buy in bulk and on sale. Peel and slice or dice. Freeze one layer thick on a cookie sheet. When frozen transfer to plastic jars with screw on lids. Immediately put back in the freezer. Don’t forget to label the jars! When you need some onions in a cooked dish just shake out what you need. If they clump together shake really hard to loosen. Some of the ways we use frozen onions: sautéed or grilled on hamburgers, in omelets, in any dish that the customer asks for “extra onions” that will be cooked or at least heated.

4. Train your staff.

kitchen staff for restaurantTeach your staff to sort recyclables, turn off lights, and let you know if there is a leaky faucet in the wait station. Ask them to bring in their own take-home containers instead of using the restaurant take-outs.

Busy kitchen staff may often forget to do the simplest of energy efficient steps. Leaving oven doors open releases vast amounts of heat. Each time you open an oven door the temperature can drop by as much as 25o F.; watch the clock and use a timer instead. Don’t leave the convection oven or steamer door open too long or it will just continue to release heat, burning unnecessary energy to retain the proper cooking temperature.

The walk-in cooler is another door that needs to be shut at all times or cooling becomes a continuous energy pit. If doors such as the walk-in cooler are consistently left open, place spring hinges on the doors and it will automatically close, eliminating the opportunity for staff to forget to shut the door.

U.S. Cooler Flickr Photostream

Visit U.S. Cooler’s Flickr Photostream. Flickr is a photo and video sharing site owned by Yahoo. You can view pictures of our completed walk-ins and promotional photos. These pictures represent the wide range of custom design possibilities available for your walk-in cooler, freezer or combination unit.

We also have a walk-in photo gallery on our main website.

USDA Grant Money for Rural Energy Improvements

Note: This article was posted in 2009 and not all grants may still be available.

Government money is available to help your small business become more energy efficient.

The USDA is now offering a grant and loan program to improve energy efficiency in rural areas. The REAP/RES/EEI (Rural Energy for America Program Grants/ Renewable Energy Systems/ Energy Efficiency Improvement Program) Grants Program will provide funds to architectural producers and rural small businesses to purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficient improvements.

The program is designed to assist farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses that are able to demonstrate financial need. Small businesses that are located in rural areas can also apply. Most rural projects that reduce energy use and result in savings for the agricultural producer or small business are eligible as energy efficient projects. These include projects such as retrofitting lighting or insulation, or purchasing or replacing equipment with more efficient units. One of the main requirements of the grant program is that the new equipment must be more energy efficient than the current equipment. An ‘energy audit’ will be performed comparing the energy usage of the old equipment to the new anticipated energy efficient equipment.

Walk-in coolers and freezers qualify for this grant program. Older walk-ins are not as efficient as new units built today. Some of the recent changes in the industry include the requirement to provide higher insulation r-values and refrigeration units with EC motors, which are much more energy efficient than older units. These upgrades will prove your new equipment to be more energy efficient, which will save you money on energy costs.

Debunking the Myth of Laminated Panels

Myth: “Laminated” or “Slab” panels are inferior to urethane because they are glued to the skins to hold the panel together. Therefore, these types of panels are not considered as durable and are thought to come loose within a short period of time.

Truth: For over 40 years walk-ins have been manufactured by either gluing insulation to metal skins (laminated) or pouring urethane (foamed-in-place) between two metal skins.  Contrary to most beliefs, both systems provide equal performance in adhesion if applied correctly.  This is important because in walk-ins the structural strength of the unit is dependent on this adhesion performance.  When metal skins are glued or foamed to insulation a composite panel is created.  This created panel performs much like a steel I-beam. I-beams by design are very strong for their weight and are used in building structures that need a lot of strength without the weight, such as skyscrapers. A steel I-beam is two flanges of steel connected and separated by a center steel web.  In a walk-in panel, the two flanges are light gauge metal skins and the web is the foam insulation.  All I-beams lose their strength if the flanges separate from the web. If the I-beams separate, skyscrapers would collapse. This is similar to walk-ins that could fail if the skins separate from the foam insulation.

Plan Now for Upcoming Changes in Refrigerants

Be aware that prices of R-22 refrigeration may increase while supplies will likely wane. After January 1, 2010, original equipment manufacturers will no longer be able to sell equipment using R-22. The phase out of R-22 will be a lengthy process and market conditions may not be as greatly affected by the volatility that resulted in refrigerant price hikes characterized by the phase out of R-12.

Existing equipment using R-22 can continue to be serviced with R-22. However, chemical manufactures will no longer be able to produce R-22 after January 1, 2020. After 2020 the servicing of existing equipment will rely exclusively on re-claimed and recycled supplies of R-22.

If your equipment is more than ten years old, you may save significantly on your cooling energy cost by replacing it with a new more efficient model using R-404a or Scroll compressor technology.

Energy efficiency, system performance, hourly run time of equipment, reliability, and actual cost to operate (amp draw, run time, etc.) should be considered when deciding to purchase new equipment.

To help speed the transition away from ozone depleting refrigerants, choose a system that uses ozone friendly refrigerants.

A Matter of Insulation: Acquisition vs. Lifetime Savings

Your cold storage equipment may be one of the most important choices you make. A significant amount of costs are associated with your walk-in. Before you purchase, make sure you consider the entire lifecycle of the walk-in instead of just the acquisition price.

The two main elements that effect energy and cost savings while running a walk-in are the refrigeration and insulation.  To get the optimal results from your refrigeration it must be sized correctly taking in consideration the size of box, if it is a cooler or freezer, and what will be stored inside. (There are many other factors that are considered when sizing refrigeration.) Insulation is the key to energy savings because it is responsible for holding the cool temperature in the box so the refrigeration does not have to work overtime. Insulation quality is measured by R-value; the resistance to heat flow through an object. Since EISA was implemented January 1, 2009, all walk-in manufactures are required to have an R-value of R-25 for coolers and R-32 for freezers. Now that all manufacturers follow the same requirements, the performance of the insulation is what differentiates the walk-in.

The two common types of insulation used are polyurethane and extruded polystyrene.  Each type of insulation brings with it strengths and weaknesses that must be evaluated for each individual application.

Insulation Strength Weakness
Extruded Polystyrene Starts with a high R-value. Smaller cell structure. Resists moisture absorption. Closed cell structure. Out gases some. Over time, R-value decreases minimally.
Polyurethane Starts with a high R-value.  Closed cell structure. Out gases more. Over time, R-value decreases steadily. Is susceptible to moisture infiltration.

U.S. Cooler uses both insulations. Through experience and research, U.S. Cooler believes extruded polystyrene is the best insulation for the walls, ceiling, and floors of coolers and freezers. Polyurethane is better to insulate the doors of their walk-ins. According to a study performed by the U.S. Corps of Engineers, they found that over a five year period extruded polystyrene retains 75% of its R-value while polyurethane retains 25%.¹  This is one reason why U.S. Cooler believes extruded polystyrene provides the most value and the best option for walk-in insulation.

Polyurethane & Extruded Polystyrene walk-in insulation
Polyurethane & Extruded Polystyrene

An energy saving experiment for your grocery store

A research study at Kettering University in Michigan investigated how to make an open refrigerated display case (like those found in grocery stores) operate more efficiently.  The study concluded that raising the temperature setting while lowering the air velocity from the refrigeration would not only provide energy savings, but the food was actually kept cooler.

Lower infiltration [of warm air] means the air is coming out at a lower velocity, said Navaz. “Previously, air came out of the upper vent (or grille) of a specific display case at 90 feet per minute. We calculated the optimal speed as 65 feet per minute as an optimal discharge air velocity to yield lower infiltration rate,” he said.

By reducing the velocity by 30 percent, infiltration was reduced by 12 percent and the power required was reduced by 13 percent.

Increasing the temperature at the discharge air grille by about 1 degree (F) and lowering the velocity of air resulted in lower suction pressure at the compressor inletwhich reduced the compressor usage and therefore less energy consumption.

Infiltration represents 83 percent of the cooling load and is the biggest draw on energy of refrigerated display cases. Less energy use translates into real cost savings to the tune of about $13 million for the state of California alone, according to Navaz.

In addition to energy savings, lowering the pressure on the compressor also extends the life of the compressor and creates more cost savings over the long term.

Click here to read the entire Kettering refrigeration study.