Fuel flow control

Automated ND system monitors the entire chain of fuel movement: from the petroleum storage to the tank of your car.
Fuel flow diagram

To get into the tank of the car, the fuel should proceed along the route from the petroleum storage (oil storage) to the filling station. The delivery of fuel to filling stations in European countries is carried out by gasoline tankers. And along the entire route, including the extreme points of the route, the main object of observation is the fuel quality.

  1. Measuring and data transmission is carried out not by a man, but by the ND control and measuring system on real-time basis.
  2. The problem is not established by the person, but by the ND software and it is based not on the subjective opinion of the operator, but on exact mathematical calculation.
  3. The ND alert system duplicates the problem notification to several decision centers at once, which eliminates the possibility of the staff collusion.
  4. Any attempt to shut down the system at a remote facility or change its configuration (for example, take out a level gage or sensor) is accompanied by an alarm in the regional and head offices.

Levels of protection of filling station customers

LEVEL 1. Fuel quality control

No competitive system is capable of providing information on the type and quality of fuel on real-time basis.

One of the common types of fraud is based on the so-called "use of bootleg gasoline". This method is applied mainly at petroleum storages and oil storages, less often — at filling stations. The essence of it is in the artificial increase in the octane number of gasoline by mixing the gasoline base with fuel and lubricants.

Octane number

An indicator characterizing the resistance of the fuel to detonation i.e. self ignition under compression

The prerequisites and conditions for the appearance of this type of fraud were laid down by the Soviet norms for the production of gasoline. So the basis for AI fuel is a straight-run gasoline (i.e. gasoline obtained as a result of primary oil refining) with octane number 66. This rule has become an excuse for most domestic refineries, which up to this day do not have a technical base for the production of straight-run gasoline with a higher detonation index.

Octane number

An indicator characterizing the resistance of the fuel to detonation i.e. self ignition under compression

At the same time, modern refineries produce rather high-quality of A 76, 80, 92 and AI 95, 98 brand, which is obtained by introduction of antiknock and octane-increasing additives (so-called additives) into low-octane gasoline.

The technology of mixing in the factory provides the connection of these components at the molecular level. This fuel is characterized by a long-lasting resistance to stratification and boiling.

It is impossible to achieve the creation of molecular bonds in an improvised manner. The octane number of mechanically mixed fuel can be quite high (92, 95 and even 98). However, the quality of such gasoline will be low. Its resistance to stratification is measured by tens of hours. As a result of the decomposition, resins and toxins are formed. Resinous compounds settle on the components of the injection system and the engine, which at times speeds up their wear. And toxic substances enter the atmosphere and cause irreparable harm to men and the environment. 

The first level of ND protection determines the fuel quality of the claimed brand. It happens as follows.

  1. Data collection
    The ND control and measuring equipment is installed in the tank battery of the petroleum storage. Permanently (every 5 minutes) sensors determine the physical parameters of the environment: temperature, wave impedance and others.
  2. Situation analysis
    As soon as available data is automatically transferred to the ND system. Their program analysis allows you to determine the chemical composition of the fuel and determine its type.
  3. Alarm
    In case of change in the type or quality of fuel, the automated ND system signals the identified problems to the regional office on real-time basis.

LEVEL 2. Control of filling accuracy

ND® level gages provide metering accuracy at a level of 0.5 kg/m3. The indicator of the best European analogues is 3kg/m3.

The refuelled petrol tanker, on which ND level gages and sensors are installed, leaves the petroleum storage. According to the established process, dispatch of fuel from the petroleum storage is carried out in kilograms, and the income in the store of the filling station is made in liters. It has always been a convenient loophole for fast-buckers.

The trick, which is often resorted to by drivers of gasoline tank trucks, is the heating of the tank in the sun. When the fuel is heated, the number of kilograms does not change but the number of liters increases by about 5-7% of the initial volume. After sufficient stand in the sun, the driver of the gasoline tank truck goes to the filling station indicated in the travel sheet and pours fuel into its storage in a volume that corresponds to the fuel temperature during shipment. The surplus remains in the tank of the gasoline truck.

Obviously, after discovering such a shortage, the filling station will strive to cover it. As a rule, this is done at the expense of customers by filling fuel shortage.

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for a filling station to use underfill not only as a mean of covering shortages, but also as a "business process", which brings its organizers a steady and considerable income.

The scheme of underfill is simple. Either the fuel dispenser is calibrated with an error of not -0.25%, as required by law, but -1-2%, or it has a built-in "bug", which falsifies the parameters of filling both on the column itself and in the cash register system. Such devices are equipped with a mechanism of flexible adjustment and remote control. Can be activated and deactivated by a mobile phone. It is almost impossible to detect such a device.

In the scheme of the underfill there is only one weak link: in both cases, uncharged fuel remains in the tanks of the filling station. If unable to prevent the implementation of the scheme, ND minimizes its effectiveness. Control and measuring equipment and automated control ND system expose this type of fraud in the stage of seizure of accumulated "surplus".

It happens in 4 stages.

  1. Measuring the actual unload data
    During the stage of the fuel unload, the ND control and measuring equipment installed on the gasoline tanker automatically reads and transmits to the system data on the type and amount of fuel loaded. The system recalculates the kilograms shipped in liters and builds a mathematical model of the behavior of this type of fuel in different temperature regimes in a given climate zone.
  2. Measurement of the physical parameters of the fuel before unloading into the tank
    Before starting the filling of fuel in the storage of the filling station, the ND control and measuring equipment devices again measure and transfer to the system the current physical parameters of the fuel in the tank of the gasoline truck: temperature, density, wave resistance. Comparison of the obtained data with the previously constructed mathematical model allows to determine the volume of fuel (i.e. liters) corresponding to the current temperature regime, as well as its chemical composition, which determines the quality of gasoline. This data automatically appears on the screen of the operator of a filling station that receives fuel.
  3. Measuring the actual amount of fuel in the tank after unload
    ND control and measuring equipment is also installed in the tanks of the filling station storage facility. It automatically detects and transfers to the system the quantity and physical parameters of the fuel every 5 minutes. And the system analyzes the received data on real-time basis.
  4. Alarm
    In case of discrepancy between the calculated data and the actual data, the system notifies the operator of the filling station and the regional office of the problem: gives an alarm and reports the possible reasons for its occurrence.

LEVEL 3. Operating personnel actions control

At the filling stations managed by the automated ND system, the probability of error in the actions of the operating personnel is minimized.

Imperfection of equipment and improper instructing of personnel often leads to the appearance of such problems as draining from gasoline truck fuel of one type into a tank intended for another type of fuel.

Modern regulations for the release of fuel at the filling station allows it to be produced simultaneously with the income of the goods. If only the fuel brands are confused, then this is not good, but not critical for the engine of the car. But if instead of diesel, gas is poured into the tank, problems can not be avoided. 

The automated ND system allows revealing of this problem already in 1 minute after the start of drain from the gasoline truck and blocking the operation. At the same time, the system does not deliver fuel from the refillable tank to the station during the first 5 minutes from the start of fuel reception. Thus, the very possibility of making an error is prevented.

Another serious problem is the lack of control of the fuel level in the tank when the gasoline truck is drained. It is not uncommon for a tank to be filled with fuel in excess of the permissible rate. This leads to increased pressure and vapors, improper operation of the breather valves. At the next stage it leads to pipe rupture, the emergence of an explosive situation. In the first case, the fuel flowing out of the system leads to contamination of soil and groundwater. In the second case it is possible to blow up the gasoline truck and the entire station.

LEVEL 4. Security control, conflict resolution

The customer of a filling station equipped with ND security system has the opportunity to solve the problem at the level of the company's top management, and the top management of the company is personally responsible for the actions of the operating staff.

No matter how "smart" an automated system is, it is not able to foresee the actions of a person outside of it. That is why ND is implementing a security system that is aimed at monitoring the interaction of the personnel and customers of the filling stations.

At a filling station equipped with ND security system, the solution of disputed, conflict or problematic situations is based not on the subjective view of the participants, but on the technical evidence base. The only thing necessary to restore justice is a check that confirms your interaction with the filling station.

The check can be issued both before the fuel is filled and after. A check after refueling is not an indicator of the presence of a problem. This is just a specific accounting for a specific filling station. But non-issuance of a check may indicate an attempt to either sell unaccounted-for fuel, or sell counterfeit fuel, or evade taxation. And even if all these facts are indifferent to you, a good reason for obtaining a check is the protection of your consumer rights.

ND video surveillance, combined with the cash register system of the filling station, allows you to synchronize the video sequence with the actions inside the automated system. In each video fragment associated with the arrival or sale of goods (not only fuel), all information about the operation is recorded. In case of refueling, this is the check number, the time of purchase, the station number, the name of the nozzle operator, the form of payment, etc. If there is a problem or a controversial situation, such organization of the service allows you remotely, for example, at the head office of the company, to restore the sequence of events even with the help of the check scrap.