New pumps provide total solution –from dispensing to management reports
Merridale fuel management reporting software has been in service for over ten years across all four of Iceland Foods’ regional distribution centres at Enfield, Swindon, Warrington and Livingstone, Scotland. Apart from being adapted for use with Ad-Blue, the software is standard as originally specified without any compulsory modifications.
A common fuel management system enables purchasing and stock control to be handled centrally from Iceland Foods headquarters in North Wales. Another benefit is that drivers are able to draw fuel at any of the regional depots. Data capture is managed by a Merridale Auditor control panel located on each of the fuelling points. These authorise and record the amount of fuel drawn together with driver’s ID and vehicle mileage. This data was then downloaded to the headquarters for analysis and the creation of management reports on fuel usage.
Typical of many of the early Merridale installations, the Auditor units were used in conjunction with other makes of commercial diesel dispensers. Whilst this combination has provided useful service over the years, the installation at Enfield was becoming less reliable as the pumps were ageing and requiring more frequent service and repair.
“Iceland Foods distribution is a 24 hours, seven days a week operation, ”explains engineering manager, Karl Sewell. We have around 150 vehicles drawing fuel on a daily basis, so availability of the fuelling point is crucial.”
“Having decided to replace the pumps, we took the opportunity to switch over to Merridale twin pumps with integrated fuel monitoring facilities. We obtained quotes from a couple of other pump manufacturers, but the Merridale solution gave us specific advantages from an operational point of view.”
[quote]The support we got from Merridale from making our first approach for quotations, through to the installation was superb and everything went very smoothly – there were no issues at all.[/quote]
“The main benefit of course was that now we only have one supplier with which to deal with when it comes to service and support. With our previous set up we had a couple of situations where we called out the pump service engineer to fix a problem and he would blame the fuel monitoring – and vice versa. We found ourselves in a chasing game while the pumps were out of action. This could go on for two or three days which was not satisfactory.”
“The fuelling point is a fairly complex installation combining electronics and electro-mechanical components with hydraulics. We also have communications links and computer software so it is a great benefit to have just one engineer who will take care of everything.”
Apart from the operational advantages, Merridale came in with the best quotation for the new pumps so it was also cost effective. So we were very happy to put forward the recommendation to our board to upgrade our installation with Merridale pumps as part of our capital expenditure plans for 2010.
Karl concludes by saying: “The support we got from Merridale from making our first approach for quotations, through to the installation was superb and everything went very smoothly – there were no issues at all.
“On servicing, we do a monthly inspection to look for any damage and check for wear, in particular the condition of the belts. These are simple procedures aided by the spacious Merridale cabinets which are far easier to work on than the previous equipment.
Given that the old pumps had seen better days, they were generally very needy and we were constantly having to screw gun holders back on to the mounts as well as other issues. Indeed, it’s fair to say that we found the Merridale equipment to be much more robust than other makes. The dispensers are well built and durable, which is paramount for our operational environment.
Future plans for Iceland fuelling equipment currently under consideration includes the upgrade of the Merridale Auditor units to GX specification and higher capacity communications based on GPRS modems. This will provide faster downloads, reduce costs and improve data security as well as ensuring that equipment will be fully serviceable for the next 10 years.