One such product developed by Liquip to reduce manual labor in the refueling process is Diptronic — an electronic, real-time device for fuel-level measurement. Designed for use in mobile refueling tankers, the device records fuel levels 240,000 times per second, offering users a constant, accurate measurement of tank contents.
Borg says the product offers several benefits on the tarmac, including safety and efficiency. “The opportunity with this product is it removes the requirement to the operator to get on top of the tank,” he says. As well, he says, the programmable alert levels can be used to provide primary overfill protection.
The Diptronic system can also promote overall efficiency, Borg says. “Two scenarios commonly play out. Many times the driver prematurely loads fuel to the truck where they may have been able to fuel another aircraft with the existing fuel onboard, resulting in a wasted operation. On another occasion they may run out of fuel during an into-plane uplift potentially causing a flight delay. This situation could have been avoided with Diptronic which would have told the operator that the tank should be filled before the refuelling operation was started,” he says. “In addition to the safety issue which we’re addressing with the one product, we’re also increasing productivity out in the airfield in that the trucks are being used to maximum efficiency.”
Diptronic was recently implemented in military trials of a system which represents a major shift in efficiency. Using Diptronic to control tank levels, a refueler was hooked into the hydrant system on the ground allowing the tanker to be refuelled at the same time as the aircraft. “Those trials have just finished very successfully,” Montalvo says. “This system makes a massive impact on operational costs, reducing the number of men required for the operation, reducing the amount of mileage the trucks do, saving fuel consumption by not driving the trucks back to the fuel farm, reducing wear and tear on the trucks and finally they may not need as many vehicles to carry out the same operations.”
The positive benefits of these trials could have implications for the commercial sector as well. “The benefits of this system are too great for commercial refuelling not to take notice and we see this system rolling out into similar applications for commercial into-plane refueling,” Montalvo says.
Along with increased automation, the company has focused on reducing maintenance for its equipment. The company has switched from air systems to electronic or fuel-over fuel systems, a move it believes could conserve valuable time on the ramp during frigid weather, preventing delays. “One of the big issues for air systems in cold climates is that the moisture within the air freezes,” Borg says. “and this can bring the system to its knees in some airports at times if they have cold snaps. By moving to an electronic management system for the vehicle we completely avoid this scenario.”
Borg says the company, which has experienced extensive growth recently, has anticipated further expansion. “The growth has been predominantly our business within the military sector which has grown three-fold,” he says. “And we expect similar growth through our new focus on the commercial sector both locally in the North American market and abroad.”
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