The UK’s largest crane hire operator, Ainscough Crane Hire (ACH) has been using electronic fuel management systems since 1995. Now, with their second generation of equipment, supplied by Fueltek, ACH has extended the application of the technology to include site security, key access and even time and attendance recording.
Ainscough Crane Hire is a national operation with 26 locations and a fleet of 600 mobile cranes to meet every need from 10 to 1000 tonnes safe lifting. Their bright yellow vehicles are a common sight on UK roads and have acquired an iconic status. With an annual diesel bill for these vehicles of around £3 million, fuel management and security is a major issue.
"Ensuring that fuel goes into permitted vehicles only and not into others is a concern for all fleet operators – no matter what their size. With fuel cost rises and pressure on margins, this is even more vital," explained Fueltek managing director Martin Devine.
Beyond security there is the question of management – what variances are there between the fuel consumption of vehicles of the same type and even the performance of drivers? How can managers identify best performance and make this the norm?
The Fuel Access Control Terminal (FACT) provided by Fueltek is at the core of the fuel security and management operation at Ainscough Crane Hire. An island based terminal, the FACT operates with a robust proximity tag which is programmed with a unique identity number and details of each vehicle’s fuel drawing rights. Fuel access is simply a matter of presenting the tag to the reader on the unit, keying in the driver ID and mileage and responding to the plain English instructions on the screen.
Fuel management systems must be resilient. Fuel island equipment is often in continuous use throughout the day, exposed to all weathers and subject to rough handling. Fueltek engineer their systems to withstand this harsh treatment. Keypads are of the same type found in telephone boxes with robust metal keys designed to withstand the weather, thousands of keystrokes and be operated by a gloved hand. Enclosures are engineered in stainless steel for a long maintenance free life.
Based on their experience with the fuelling systems, Ainscough Crane Hire recognised that the crane hire operator, Fueltek technology could have other uses in depot security and management. ACH have Fueltek systems on 26 sites providing fuel management. At 18 sites this technology is used for site access control via readers that operate gates and barriers. At 20 sites Fueltek systems control access to vehicle key cabinets and at six sites the systems provide data for time and attendance records. The company has also just installed key readers on internal doors on one depot to manage personnel access.
Commenting on the relationship Carole Rigby, Ainscough’s purchasing manager noted, "Fueltek know their business well. The hardware is robust and reliable, easy for our drivers to operate and provides the kind of information that we need to operate the fleet efficiently. It was as a result of this experience that we approached Fueltek to ask them to adapt their technology for the other applications."
The complete Fueltek package includes bunded tanks, tank gauging, fuel delivery pumps, fuel access control and management software to deliver management reports. However, where a company already has one or more elements in place, Fueltek supply the missing technology and integrate the systems with a customers existing equipment.
"Times are tough and the fuel price shocks over the last two years are placing pressure on commercial and public sector organisations to look at security and efficiency. We have technologies based on proven technology that can make a real contribution to security and the bottom line," concluded Martin Devine.