The Magnetic Breakaway Conundrum

By OPW | Jul 11, 2012

The safety breakaways that connect the fueling dispenser to the hose at thousands of fueling sites around the globe must perform one simple task: whenever excessive force is applied, such as during a drive-away incident, the breakaway should halt the flow of fuel, while preventing personal injury or harm to the environment.

Recently, new magnetic breakaway technology has emerged. And although this technology promises great advantages for the site operator, the reality is that magnetic breakaway technology continues to fail on one of the most relevant principles – cost of ownership. And while magnetic breakaways are designed to work on the same principles as traditional mechanical breakaways, there are still some troublesome concerns built into this new method of operation, including how magnetic breakaways react to rust, elevated temperatures, magnetism degradation and leakage.

Mechanical Breakaways: Still Reliable As Ever

Mechanical breakaways from OPW provide peace-of-mind reliability and consistent performance. No matter the model, OPW mechanical breakaways will not rust and do not require an annual separation test, which removes a costly and time-consuming record-keeping nightmare from the busy-enough life of the station operator. Regarding cost of ownership, mechanical breakaways have been designed to be installed and then operate maintenance-free for five years, unlike magnetic breakaways that must be serviced at least once a year.

When speaking specifically about OPW mechanical breakaways, OPW 66REC Dry Reconnectable Breakaways feature a dual-poppet design that enables the breakaway to close off the liquid paths in the event of any type of separation event. The “push-twist-click” quick-reconnect design requires only 15 pounds of force to reconnect and its dry operation prevents liquid from spraying on the fuel-site operator or technician during the reconnection process.

What style breakaway does your operation utilize?

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