Faced with an ageing and unserviceable fuel management system, Rotherham Borough Council has turned to Fueltek to provide a complete package of new hardware and support. With a fleet of around 450 vehicles, three depots and an annual fuel consumption of over 1.3 million litres, fuel management and accountability are serious issues for Rotherham as they are for other Boroughs. It was therefore vital that Fueltek smoothed the transition from the old system and provided fuelling systems with the flexibility to meet future needs.
Effective management of fuelling operations has many facets: fuel security, accountability, management of fuel usage and environmental considerations of ground, water and air pollution. All this depends on the reliable gathering of information to permit timely and effective management action. These issues are important for all organisations with vehicle fleets, especially as fuel costs are certain to continue to rise.
The legacy system inherited by Rotherham’s transport department had a number of serious problems. The fuel island hardware was unreliable and service support inconsistent so that primary data capture was patchy and drivers were frustrated in using the system. This meant that the subsequent reports – produced in a poorly analysed and obsolete format – were difficult to interpret and did not produce meaningful information for action.
Of four companies invited to present proposals, Fueltek emerged as the one able to offer the most comprehensive fuel management package. Their Fuel Access Control Terminal (FACT) is used with a robust programmable key fob sized Datatag that identifies the vehicle being fuelled. FACT can be supplied as a stand alone control unit, as a control unit with pump to work with further Fueltek pumps, or to control existing fuel delivery equipment of any make. Networks can be configured so that all reporting is routed to a central base and software customised to provide the reports in the format that is most useful to the user.
Most fuel management companies concentrate on the fuel island equipment and associated software, but Fueltek go further. If clients need them, they can include bunded fuel tanks, with integral gauging, as part of the package. Where required they will also provide the associated civil work and integrate their equipment with existing tanks, fuel pumps or other equipment. This is usually rolled into the package so that there is single contractor responsibility for the different system elements.
Rotherham took full advantage of this service. Three sites were upgraded between 2006 and January 2009. At Bramley Road, a 25,000 litre fuel storage tank was installed with Tankwatch contents gauging together with a FT2000AP integrated fuel pump and management system. This is the headquarters for the transport department, and software at this site polls equipment at two subsidiary sites.
At Greasbrough Road two FT4000 systems controlling four existing pumps were supplied, two old tanks were removed and an existing underground tank and pipework was pressure tested for leaks before connection into the new system. At Eastwood Road a complete fuelling package was supplied including a 30,000 litre bunded fuel tank with Tankwatch, and a FT4000 fuel island unit. Works by Fueltek (fueltek.co.uk) also included new interceptor and drainage, a concrete base for the fuel tank and an area for delivery vehicles to draw up to the new fuel storage tank.
The transport department works as an internal contractor to the council and must therefore re-bill the various departments – refuse collection, highways, housing, social services, open spaces and so on – for departmental fuel use. This is slightly complicated by the fact that vehicles can use whatever site is most convenient for their fuelling without returning to their home location. “Fueltek were able to programme their system for us so that each vehicle on the fleet has an individual cost code associated with the relevant department. This made it much easier for us to attribute costs to each department and track fuel use, mpg and report on vehicle performance,” explained, technical manager Roy Nixon in the Corporate Transport Unit.
The three sites are managed under a service contract so that routine hardware and fuel management software maintenance can be provided on a scheduled basis and other outages attended to promptly. The ability of Fueltek to respond to urgent service calls was tested during the floods of 2007 when the Greasbrough Road site was flooded twice. “On both occasions Fueltek responded quickly, supplying and installing new replacement equipment and helping us to be up and running again within days of regaining site possession,” commented Roy Nixon. “After the second flood they even helped us with testing the fuel for water infiltration before reconnection of the fuelling equipment,” he added.
One of the current challenges for Rotherham, and other local authorities and agencies, is setting up the systems for compliance with government environmental directives. These focus on reducing carbon footprint and managed reductions of NOX and PM10 particulates. “Having the Fueltek system in place, means that we have fuel usage data available at the vehicle level. This provides the base line so that we can benchmark existing performance by each individual vehicle and each class of vehicle and plan with the departments concerned targeted improvements,” said Roy.
“Every fuel management job is different; Fueltek thrives on the complex multi-site challenges that customers like Rotherham Borough Council bring. Careful analysis of customer needs is essential in selecting the right fuel management equipment, software and follow-up support,” concluded Fueltek managing director Martin Devine.
Martin Divine, Managing Director, Fueltek Ltd
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