Radio modem facilitates fueling

Fort Lauderdale, FL--Operators of vehicle fleets face a number of complex, and often expensive, problems in supplying fuel to their vehicles. A fuel pump in the yard becomes a time-consuming bottleneck as drivers wait in line for a turn. Unattended, it invites pilfering. Environmental considerations add complexity.

A service that comes into the vehicle yard at night and refuels all the vehicles ends the problems. In a typical setup, the fueling cycle goes like this: Carrying both gasoline and diesel fuel, a sophisticated tank truck rolls up to the yard gate. Its driver scans the yard ID with a hand-held bar code reader attached to a radio modem. If the gate code matches route information in the truck's computer, the driver and his helper go to work.

Parking the tanker in a central location, the operator unreels a fuel hose and approaches the first vehicle. Scanning a bar code above the fuel tank verifies that it is an authorized tank, and tells the operator what type of fuel the vehicle requires. In addition, the ID number indicates whether the tank belongs to an over-the-road, off-road, or stationary machine. Operators need this information because the fleet operator pays different levels of tax, depending on the application.

Upon receiving an authorized ID code, the fuel truck's computer opens the valve supplying that hose. Fuel is metered to 0.01 gallon, and the computer records the vehicle ID, fuel amount, and the time and date. To prevent spills, operators cannot latch the nozzles open during delivery.

Removable data cartridges contain information for the various vehicle yards and vehicles. After the fuel truck returns to its home base, personnel download data on the cartridges to a PC, which prepares detailed reports and billing for the specific customer.

Guillermo Warley, PE, president of Warley Engineering, developed the refueling system for Streicher Enterprises of Fort Lauderdale.

Originally the system included a truck-mounted computer to control fuel valves. Hard-wired wands read the bar codes. Although this system worked, operators needed extra hands to manage a nozzle, wand, 200 ft of hose, and 200 ft of wire.

"Adding the radio modems solved the operators' problems," reports CEO Stan Streicher. The .25 IC-15 modems, produced by Monicor Electronics, have a range of more than 250 ft.

Additional details, system...Contact Guillermo Warley, PE, Warley Engineering, Inc., 1500 W. Cypress Creek Rd., Suite 401, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309, (305) 351-0057

Additional details, radio modems ...Contact Monroe Miller, Monicor Electronic Corp., 2964 N.W. 60th St., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309, (305) 979-1907.

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