Sunday 29th Mar, 2020

Pressurised refuelling systems not spilling a drop

Pressurised refuelling systems help maintain the vast fleets of machinery working in bulk handling operations but carry with them particular safety risks. This is why JSG Industrial Systems supplies a solution that avoids risks and losses.

Pressurised refuelling systems help maintain the vast fleets of machinery working in bulk handling operations but carry with them particular safety risks. This is why JSG Industrial Systems supplies a solution that avoids risks and losses.

Heavy-duty machinery used in bulk handling requires significant amounts of fuel. In particular, a mine site could have dozens, if not hundreds, of vehicles and systems operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, that need to be ready and fully operational.

For decades, refuelling these vehicles has involved using pressurised fuelling systems.

Preeth John, Business Development Manager for fuel management products at JSG Industrial Systems, explains that these are not like the bowsers at a petrol station.

“We’re talking about some of the biggest machines in the world, bigger in many cases than those used in construction, so that means their fuel tanks can’t be filled conventionally,” he explains.

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“Some of them have tanks with capacities higher than 4500 litres. Mining companies run efficient operations and simply don’t have the time to wait.”

Pressurised shut-off systems utilise a build-up of tank pressure and a pressure sensing fuel nozzle to shut off fuel flow when the tank is almost full. Because these machines are being refuelled day in, day out, constant expanding and contracting can put pressure on the tank.

Another issue facing operators is safety. Once the system shuts off due to the pressure build-up in the tank, diesel fuel can still be pumped into the tank, overfilling it and causing diesel to spill. This not only wastes fuel but has environmental and safety consequences.

John says that in many cases, overfilled tanks can spill onto the operators themselves, or onto the turbo of a vehicle, presenting a serious fire hazard.

“The fact of the matter is, any diesel leak is a big risk. The costs can range from minor loss of vehicle efficiency or spills on the ground to a catastrophic fire leading to the loss of life,” he says.

“All it takes is one accident and then the entire site is shut down to go through an occupation health and safety audit, not to mention the potential for tragedy.”

He adds that some sites continue to operate with traditional systems, and can go for long periods of time without an issue, but questions whether it is a risk that is worth taking.

This is why JSG Industrial Systems provides a non-pressure refuelling system from Flomax International. The system is made up of three parts, the fill point, the fuel vent and the signal line. The signal line is used to actuate shut-off based on the tank level and does not require tank pressure, reducing stresses acting on the fuel tank. The system also does not allow filling once the tank is full, meaning it cannot cause overfill issues.

Fuel enters the tank through the fill point, causing air to escape through the fuel vent. Once the fuel level reaches the fuel vent, a float valve shuts fuel flow through the signal line, shutting a valve at the fill point to shut down the incoming fuel. As long as the fuel level in the tank remains at the fuel vent, the signal line will keep the system shut-off to avoid overfilling.

John says this is by far the safest and most reliable technique used in the field for refuelling heavy duty diesel machinery.

“This reduces the environmental impact from having diesel spills or tank damage when refuelling,” he says.

“Each system can save businesses time and money and also have peace of mind that their operators are safe.”

Non-pressurised refuelling systems have been implemented across a range of industries, including mining, rail, road fleet vehicles and marine applications.

JSG Industrial Systems supply the systems along with the proper training and technical guidance for installation and use, to ensure operators are less likely to be faced with dangerous scenarios.