Fleet checkups at every fill up
The San Antonio Water System (SAWS) has used a fuel management system for more than 20 years to monitor fuel use and vehicle maintenance for the fleet. Last year, the utility updated the system to improve driver accountability, preventive maintenance and vehicle performance.
In the previous system, drivers swiped plastic cards at the fuel pumps to begin fueling. When it was swiped, the system had parameters about which and how much fuel should be used, and how frequently the vehicle should need fuel. Then, drivers typed in the vehicle’s odometer reading on a keypad on the pump. The fuel coordinator would transfer the readings each morning into a work order system. The system worked fairly well for many years, but driver error sometimes resulted in flawed data.
Seeking to eliminate errors and to further automate fuel management, SAWS sought bids for a new system. It selected the Ward Automated Fuel Management System (Ward AFMS) by locally based E.J. Ward. The new system incorporates wireless technology and radio frequency identification, replacing the plastic cards. A ring antenna around the vehicle’s fuel tank and a hose module device on the fuel nozzle recognize the vehicle when the driver activates the fuel pump. Information about the vehicle’s performance, such as odometer readings, is transmitted wirelessly from the vehicle to the fuel control terminal.
The system authorizes vehicle fueling without the need for driver intervention. In addition, the system includes several new reporting options to help the SAWS fleet management team monitor and track preventive maintenance on the equipment.
Project: Automated fuel management system
Jurisdiction: San Antonio, Texas
Agency: Public Water Utility
Vendor: Locally based E.J. Ward
Date began: October 2008