The propane industry has been leveraging old and inaccurate equipment for years, opening the door for a number of potential issues.
Vertrax was recently working with a customer of ours and diagnosed faulty equipment and prevented a potentially dangerous situation through use of our Tank Monitoring Service. Read on to learn more about the situation, how we solved it, and how you can prevent situations like this from happening to your business.
Vertrax Tank Monitoring Service aided a West Coast Marketer in detecting a faulty fixed liquid level gauge, also known as a Spitter Valve, on a propane dispenser tank that is used for cylinder filling. This valve is used industry-wide to prevent overfilling of propane tanks which can result in catastrophic problems if not functioning or used properly.
Common industry safety standards dictate that tanks should be filled to around 80% allowing for adequate space for expansion and contraction of the propane as temperatures vary. If the tube on the tank’s Spitter Valve is installed incorrectly, the wrong size, corrodes and breaks off, or gets gummed up, then the situation could become dangerous for anyone in the vicinity of this tank. As this marketer soon found out, this situation is exactly what was happening to them.
Vertrax Tank Monitoring Service to the Rescue
This marketer had already put a Vertrax Tank Monitor on their customer’s tank to gain the benefits of remote tank monitoring such as being able to see tank levels in real-time, optimizing delivery timing and volume, and more.
However, after the sensor was installed on the tank, it was continually reading 94%, 95%, 96% — even 97% full. Now, this was immediately called into question by the customer because they have been following the industry-standard filling protocol and cutting off the pump as soon as the valve started spitting liquid.
To be safe, Vertrax and the marketer ran some tests. A second Vertrax sensor was put on the tank and it showed the same results. Then, to verify, the tank was completely drained, and a meter-measured fill was performed to verify without a doubt that the liquid level valve was indeed malfunctioning.
This made it obvious that the marketer was in a high liability position and if Vertrax’s tank monitor had not caught this, the business would have continued to operate with the possibility of a catastrophic accident occurring.
The Bottom Line
With the help of Vertrax Tank Monitoring Service, a potential disaster was avoided. The faulty equipment was immediately removed and the Vertrax sensor is there to stay.
This Marketer now has a much higher degree of faith in the accuracy of the information that the Vertrax sensors are providing, along with the ability to calculate the amount of propane that should go into this tank to prevent this level of risk again without having to take the tank offline.
This situation isn’t unique. Liquid level gauges, read ready gauges, and other mechanical gauges are inherently flawed, become less reliable over time, and can’t monitor certain tanks due to what type of tank it is, the location, and various other factors.
Vertrax Tank Monitoring Service is the true sonar-based end-to-end bulk tank monitoring solution. With real-time, always accurate liquid level readings, our solution is deployable for any tank, of any age, in any condition, in any location.