Whale Tankers of Solihull – the UK’s leading manufacturer of high quality vacuum tankers and a diverse range of waste applications equipment – is assisting the AA further strengthen its Fuel Assist fleet by delivering an additional 20 vehicles equipped with fuel retrieval system technology.
Designed and installed by Whale, the AA liveried Fuel Assist service Ford Transit vans equipped with the system have been specified in continued response to some 150,000 motorists in the UK who inadvertently fill their vehicles with the wrong fuel each year. With all of the new vehicles in service, the AA Fuel Assist fleet will be 60-strong.
And it is a similar picture in Eire, where the AA is simultaneously trialling its own Fuel Assist vehicle, the bespoke Whale Tankers fuel retrieval system having been installed in a mid-wheelbase, mid-roof Ford Transit 330. Whilst only having entered service in late October, the technology – designed to handle every stage of the process required to get a motorist back on the road as quickly as possible – is already proving to be a big hit in the field. As Noel Keogh of AA Ireland comments: "Since going on the road, the fuel retrieval system and vehicle have performed perfectly. Indeed we are currently servicing an average of three misfuels per day, seven days per week. Both the Whale system and the 330 Transit are very impressive and they meet our requirements perfectly."
Having established a demand for a Fuel Assist service – available to members and non-members – on the back of receiving some 60,000 calls annually with people facing fuel-filling problems, the AA approached Whale to develop an intrinsically safe fuel retrieval system. The new vehicles are therefore capable of recovering ‘contaminated’ fuel from a vehicle’s tank, which is then stored safely, before refuelling correctly. Also incorporated is a separate carbon vapour recovery system. Not surprisingly, the Whale system complies with the latest requirements for the Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations 2007 SI No. 1573. It also passed a risk assessment carried out by the Health & Safety Executive.
Having originally developed a prototype system that was protected by a series of push buttons and relays, Whale has refined the technology by incorporating additional safety features ‘driven’ via a PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) and Whale software that displays a series of diagnostic and electronic warnings with full reporting through a digital display.
Commenting on behalf of the AA, Technical & Training Manager, Donald MacSporran said: "Demand from members of the public who continue to experience problems whilst refuelling dictates that there is further scope to once again expand the size of the AA Fuel Assist fleet. Since taking delivery of the first 20 Whale vehicles two years ago their performance has been consistently impressive and this is largely due to the company having delivered a system that is both intrinsically safe and which satisfies our demanding requirements, as well as those of the Health & Safety Executive and our insurers."
Whale Tankers’ Managing Director, Mark Warmington adds: "Whilst we are understandably delighted to have supplied the additional fuel assist vehicles to the AA, it is equally pleasing to hear that the vehicle that is being trialled within the Dublin area appears to be exceeding the customer’s expectations."