LPG Tank Telemetry

11 January 2008
The use of Telemetry within the LPG market is proving to benefit customers, distributors and suppliers in a number of ways. By automatically measuring the amount of LPG within a storage tank then the volume of each delivery can be increased; the number of part load returns can be reduced, customer service can be improved; the supplier / distributor can initiate proactive delivery scheduling; run outs and emergency deliveries can be eliminated; customer confidence can be improved; there are fewer order processing errors; there is reduced manpower and unattended deliveries are easily accommodated.Over time we have seen the cost of transporting product in bulk increase as the cost of fuel goes up, the cost of drivers, insurance, the working time directive, the increased congestion on the roads and so on. At the same time we have seen the cost of telemetry come down which is making the solutions viable, even when the number of deliveries each month, or even each year, are minimal.


Added on to the reduced cost of transportation are the increased benefits to your customer - they no longer have to walk out to the tank and take a reading and they have the added assurance that if they forget to take a reading and reorder, that you are there monitoring things and telling them what they need. This saves having to arrange a delivery in a panic, you can start to schedule things to suit your logistics and your manufacturing and save money.

So, why has telemetry become so viable…? Well, we've seen advancements in electronics and mobile phones so we can now utilise this technology as a means of communication. There's no need to get a phone line fitted near the tank, you have complete control and the hardware solution is less in cost. The world of GSM Telemetry has come on leaps and bounds in recent yours, reliability has improved and other application areas have latched onto it so there has been some decent investment in the technology and the economies of scale have kicked n.

Microprocessor technology has also come on a long way meaning that 5 and 7 year battery powered solutions are now possible. This further simplifies installation, reduces costs and even improves lightning integrity.

By using the mobile phone network installation can be completed without access into the customers house to connect to the phone line. There’s no need for the customer to be at home while the installation takes place and the customer can’t inadvertently unplug the phone line and stop the telemetry from working.With automated remote tank level monitoring the responsibility for maintaining the user's inventory at adequate levels shifts to the supplier. The user no longer needs to have someone check the tank levels and report to purchasing on a regular basis. Tank levels are checked automatically by machines that do not forget and do not call in sick. The vendor or supplier controls the amount delivered and the time of delivery.

It also reduces the number of different people and departments that are involved in the inventory management process, and this reduces the risk of mistakes and accidents that can result in an outage. The vendor becomes responsible for managing customer supplies.

Safety is always an issue with larger tanks that must be checked by climbing atop the tanks to check the levels with a stick or drop line. Automation greatly reduces the user's risk of employee injury and workman's Compensation claims.

The METRON ATEX from Powelectrics is capable of monitoring 6 tanks with just one telemetry unit. The unit is battery powered with 5 year battery life, making the unit easy to install. The METRON ATEX uses the GSM mobile phone network – no access to the customer property to install, no need to use the customers phone line. The device is flexible – there are variations to suit large bulk tanks as well the more common small ones. The Metron is easy to test – giving you full confidence that the system is working before you leave site and it includes temperature monitoring.
Powelectrics have been providing data communication solutions to 5 continents for over 15 years and have seen the advances in wireless based telemetry at first hand. Powelectrics supply telemetry solutions to a wide range of industries. The key to success is in offering proven, stable technology coupled with an ‘end to end’ approach. By putting all the pieces of the jigsaw together Powelectrics are able to ensure projects are delivered within budget and on time. Powelectrics supply the sensor, the telemetry outstation, the sim card, the installation and maintenance and the data hosting, leaving you to do what you are good at.Data is delivered directly where it is needed, with simple web based interfaces provided for data presentation and collection. The integration of the data into existing business systems is easily achieved and further benefits can be made. With user configurable alarm levels the telemetry solution becomes pro-active.And it doesn’t stop there. Powelectrics have solutions that can monitor the location of tankers as they travel across the UK, Europe and the World. Following the events of June 2005 the terrorist threat to tanker fleets in the UK has become foremost in the minds of transport managers, and Powelectrics have successfully supplied and installed integrated systems to help reduce the risk presented by terrorism and reduce operational costs and improve customer service.By using vehicle tracking you can pin point the location of any of your fleet at the click of a mouse. The same system can also be used in the case of theft and to alert HQ of potential hazards, accidents, driver issues or even theft, giving operational staff the exact location of the tanker so that appropriate action can be taken immediately. Information can also be sent to managers out of hours via SMS text message. In cab panic buttons allow the driver to alert HQ immediately should a threat occur. HQ can then track the tankers location and inform the police of it’s whereabouts.The solution comprises a GSM/GPRS based telemetry module which is fitted on the tanker. This communicates every minute back to a server over the mobile phone network and you can then log on to this server via the internet. Various on vehicle parameters are monitored such as location and speed, as well as other signals relating to panic alarms and vehicle immobilisation. Geo fences are used so alarms are created should a vehicle leave the compound out of normal hours or if it leaves its normal working area.


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