“We have developed a system where 500 fuel gauges automatically send liquid level information to the cloud where it is retrieved by traffic planning for distribution by several hundred trucks in Sweden,” says Jens Johansson, project manager at Top Fuel.
“A chemical and oil supplier that supplies the pulp industry with products can save 25-40 percent of the distribution costs by utilizing sensors and the Internet of Things. Environmental benefits are also significant through the reduction of transport emissions.”
Can tank levels be measured without physically being there? For almost 30 years, Top Fuel has pioneered tank-monitoring technology through remote metering (telemetry).
“The interest in the remote monitoring of tank levels has increased since the mid-1990s with new products and services steadily coming online. It is primarily the oil industry that has installed such systems but other industries are following suit. Internet, GSM, GPRS and other technological advances have made it possible for us to tailor solutions that have opened new opportunities for our clients to control their, and their clients,’ levels in real time,” adds Johansson.
The tank is never empty
There are several parties involved in the supply of liquid or solid chemicals to industrial customers. They include chemical manufacturers, the importer of the raw material, the distribution terminal and ultimately the customer who receives delivery with a tanker from the terminal. Late deliveries compromise production for everyone.
“With the help of the Internet of Things, tanker transports can be followed. The amount of chemicals is registered with the suppliers so that the correct amount is always available at the various locations in the supply chain. “Intelligent” tank level monitoring measures level changes and calculates the need for replenishment,” says Johansson.
“This way, there will never be a shortage of product as the system monitors how much is in stock and how much is on the way through the supply chain. Improved transportation planning is particularly important to the customer from an environmental perspective. Level readings are available via the Internet. Suppliers in the supply chain have all the background information to make the right decision at the right time and cost. To call in an order to fill the tank is history.”
Small quantity of dangerous goods by road
“The economic, safety and environmental value of the system can be easily calculated,” says Johansson. “One day of driving with a tanker truck costs about € 2,000 and the amount of returns due to miscalculations is about 6 percent. Each year in Sweden, there are roughly 250,000 deliveries of fuels, chemicals and other items that are considered dangerous. If all large tanks for dangerous goods were equipped with Top Fuel’s system, approximately 15,000 trips per year would be saved, which is equivalent to an economic value of € 30 million.”
“In addition, this reduces the capital tied up and wear on the vehicles. Another safety benefit is that the quantity of dangerous goods on the roads decreases. Per year, 15 million tons of Class 3 dangerous goods are transported. Our technology with remote monitoring in full scale could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1,000 tons per year,” concludes Johansson.
This article was published in October 2014