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CE Electric gets the measure of Whale with new Transformer Oil Tankers

CE Electric UK – responsible for delivering electricity to over 3.8 million properties across the North East of England, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire – has recently taken delivery of a bespoke rigid road tanker from Solihull-based Whale Tankers Limited.

Used for the collection and delivery of electrical insulating oil from electrical distribution sub-stations predominantly within the region of South Yorkshire, the vehicle’s specification emanated from a joint development programme involving CE Electric and their fleet procurement specialists, VLS (Vehicle Lease and Service Ltd), together with the design and engineering team at Whale Tankers.

In addition to being designed for maximum operating flexibility, particularly in terms of payload, logistics and the vehicle’s ability to operate in sites where vehicular access is sometimes restricted, the electrical insulating oil tanker is equipped with an innovative onboard radar level measuring system, developed by level specialists, Hycontrol.

Mounted onto an MAN TGM 18-tonne 4 x 2 chassis and manufactured to ADR "AT" specifications as defined in Part 9 of the regulations, the vehicle has a twin compartment stainless steel tank – half being deployed for reclaimed clean oil and the other collected waste oil – providing an impressive carrying capacity of 11,000 litres.

Complete with two multi-clamp and lockable manholes, one located above each tank compartment and featuring low level catwalk and single access ladder with fixed handrail to the offside, the vehicle’s clean and waste oil system is controlled and operated from a rear mounted cabinet complete with roller shutter doors.

As well as both systems featuring a 110 volt electrically driven discharge pump, the waste oil one having a reverse function, a near and offside 50m, 25mm bore hose reel, itself electrically driven with 2" diameter dry break coupling, is also incorporated.

Serving to address increased safety concerns relating to operatives working at height using dipsticks to measure liquid levels in tankers, Whale has successfully sourced a level measuring solution where tank levels can be safely monitored at ground level. With each tank using its own TDR guided wave radar level measuring system connected through to separate digital displays and powered by the vehicle’s 24 volt supply, high voltage electrical plant filling and emptying can now be safely carried out, without the need for drivers to climb to the top of the tank to take regular dips.

At the heart of the Hycontrol system are two co-axial 24-volt loop powered VF7 series TDR radar units, which fit directly into flanges at the top of the tank. Digital displays, which are equipped with high and low alarms, are conveniently mounted on the side of the vehicle adjacent to the fill/empty points for ease of reading at ground level. Visibility at these points is essential to control the fill and empty processes so immediate action can be taken should an event occur.

Although transformer oil does not currently come within the scope of the Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road regulations (ADR), the Hycontrol system is designed to be compliant with the requirements should product exemption categorisations change in the future. Part of these regulations mandate that tanks carrying designated dangerous goods can only be filled to a certain level, leaving a space or ullage above the maximum fill level to allow for factors such as expansion and surging during transportation. The delivery driver can now ensure there is adequate clean oil in the tanker to fill any particular HV electrical plant whilst the high alarm ensures this ullage is maintained during the filling process.

Commenting on the role Whale played in the whole process, Special Projects Manager, Kevin Willerton said: "Whale were very professional and thorough in their approach to the project and their advice, particularly in relation to the field of ADR, was given freely and with a complete understanding of what is a complex subject. I’m pleased to say that all three parties appreciated the need of getting it right first time and this is exactly what has been achieved."

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