Drivers, fleet managers and dispatchers alike are dedicated to accurate, efficient fuel delivery. Dispensing the correct grade and amount of fuel each time maintains a positive relationship with stations and keeps consumer vehicles in proper operation. With driver diligence, retained-fuel conditions are rare, but technology is helping to further limit the risk of committing this error.
Leftover product in a tank can produce a range of consequences. If a retained-fuel condition is present during the loading or unloading of a cargo tank trailer at either a delivery site or the loading terminal, there are three typical outcomes that can result: an improper delivery amount; mixed product in underground storage tanks; and a potential overfill condition. Each of these occurrences have their own unique list of challenges, but they do have one thing in common – they can all be very costly for both the fuel
carrier and the retailer.
The petroleum transport industry and its delivery drivers take many precautions and steps to prevent retained product events from occurring. In some cases, this means simply observing for the subtle vibration of the delivery hoses (still indicating product flowing), or more commonly, consulting the sight glass on the delivery elbow. There have also been more advanced methods – the creation of analog onboard monitoring systems with in-tank retain sensors and LED lights that can indicate if product remains in the trailer compartment. These systems also have one thing in common – though they can assist drivers in their attempt to fully unload or empty the trailer compartments, they are not fail-safe.
Knowing the stress that delivery companies and their drivers are under as they work to ensure that retained-product conditions are not created, Civacon, an OPW company, has designed, engineered and developed a way to incorporate cutting-edge digital technologies into its cargo tank-monitoring systems. It is called the CivaCommand Smart Tank System.
The foundation of CivaCommand is its user-friendly digital cargo tank control technology that features an easy-to-read graphic touchscreen display that is in direct digital communication with the trailer’s fuel delivery and control components. The touchscreen display consolidates access to the different control aspects on a cargo tank, including product-retain monitoring, overfill detection and control, pneumatic (air pressure) monitoring, product-crossover prevention, system troubleshooting and usage/event history.
This digital technology enables the system to detect retained product more accurately and securely through the use of patented fluid-property sensors located on the tanker’s product loading and unloading adaptor. These, in conjunction with other digital sensor inputs, help eliminate the ways that the older analog systems could be “fooled” into displaying that a compartment was erroneously dry when product was still onboard.
Prior to loading at the terminal, if any retained product is detected CivaCommand will not permit loading and will note the specific truck compartment and fuel type that is affected. At the delivery site, the CivaCommand system monitors and helps confirm the delivery process has been completed successfully only when the cargo tank is entirely empty.
If a compartment is not completely emptied, the system will alert the driver of the retained product and the specific reason why via a touch screen display message. Additional on-screen help is offered for the proper steps needed to resolve the situation. If, for whatever reason, a product-retain condition is not resolved prior to the tanker leaving the retail site, the event is logged in the system’s memory storage and can be immediately relayed to the transport company’s dispatcher through the optional CivaConnect Asset Manager web portal’s text and email messaging
CivaCommand’s crossover-prevention capabilities also will help fuel transport carriers prevent driver error related “cross drops”. Using wireless technology, USTs are equipped with identifying RFID “tags” to indicate what product is being stored. CivaCommand records product information on the trailer when it is loaded at the terminal. If an incorrect trailer-to-underground storage tank connection is attempted, the trailer’s emergency valve air controls and API handles will not open, which prevents the incorrect delivery from occurring.
Finally, if the trailer is equipped with the optional CivaConnect Asset Manager performance monitoring system, fleet managers can be notified in real time via cloud-based communication of equipment issues that would prevent the trailer from remaining in service. The CivaConnect Asset Manager also stores and organizes unique performance data, such as total cargo-tank unloading average flow time, non-flow average time and total delivery time average, along with site and driver efficiency reports, which can help fleet management review and compare driver, trailer and site performance.
For more information on Civacon’s new CivaCommand Smart Tank System, please visit civacon.com.