The aviation refuelling business is already complicated enough, so when Shell Aviation saw an opportunity to simplify their increasingly complex aviation refuellers while adding functionality that wasn’t previously possible, it was an easy decision.
“Aviation refuelling vehicles are a core part of our business and the frontline equipment at the pointy end of a value chain stretching back to oil in the ground. To get it safely and efficiently onboard an aircraft was requiring an increasingly complex fuelling system to meet the growing operational efficiency, safety and fuel quality requirements.” said a Shell Aviation representative.
“We saw the Alfons Haar PreciFUEL system as a way to deliver on our operational needs, while dramatically simplifying the system for our operators and maintenance and support network.”
The Alfons Haar PreciFUEL system provided Shell Aviation with the metering and fuelling control systems that are the core of an aviation refuelling unit. and then through its intrinsically safe communications bus, integrated what were up to eight separate fuel dispensing technologies into the meter head.
The simple & straightforward operator interface (HMI human-machine interface) provides a seamlessly integrated fuelling system platform encompassing different fuel pumping and metering modes, pressure control, tank volume gauging, overfill protection, filtration monitoring in an unprecedented level of perfection, additive injection, large digit meter display, deadman control to tie the operator to the vehicle, and much more.
In a vehicle packed with firsts, this is the first aviation refueller built on the newly introduced Mercedes Benz Econic which offers improved driver access with a lower entry door. The Holmwood Highgate built vehicle is also carrying the first Holmwood built 22,000 litre THOMAS rigid tank, and is the first PreciFUEL system installed by Holmwoods.
While looking decidedly high tech, the refuelling systems operator interface is incredibly user friendly and is the culmination of over 60 years of fuelling technology development.
“When you automate a process (in this case a fuel delivery) you can’t do it by halves or you can confuse the operator. You have to think of every possible operation and automate it in a way that is intuitive and foolproof. I think we’ve achieved that with this fuel delivery system”, said a Haar Australia spokesperson.
“PreciFUEL is one of several PreciBUS fuelling vehicle control systems in our PreciCONTROL family. We are proud to work with Shell Aviation and Holmwood Highgate on this project, and bring these metering and vehicle control systems to the Australian fuel industry. The level of technology that is used is unprecedented in Australia and we’re receiving an amazing amount of positive feedback from operators and from system integrators alike.”
Does it have something for everyone? For users wanting to get the most cost efficiencies out of the system, it also includes vehicle control, with a can-bus interface to the vehicle control system. An operator can drive up to the delivery site and turn the vehicle off, then go about dipping tanks, connecting hoses and liaising with site staff. After choosing the product required and the volume and pressing the go button for the delivery, PreciFUEL starts the vehicle, engages the PTO, starts the pump and dispenses the preset volume of fuel, then shuts down in the reverse order, totally automating the delivery and most importantly reducing engine idle hours.
Tech savvy users can use the available open interface EN standardised FTL (Fuel Truck Link) for two-way communication with other onboard fuel management, data capture and computer systems.
“FTL is a published standard, so we have an open gateway into our system, embracing other onboard technologies and enabling fuel transport companies to use the data onboard our PreciCONTROL systems”, said a Haar Australia spokesperson.
“We also embrace Namur proximity sensors for interlocks, integrate 4-20mA analogue measurement sensors for pressure and level measurement, and within our PreciCONTROL systems we also offer integrated Sealed Parcel Delivery System and Cross Over Protection for a total secure end to end delivery solution.”