Fuel pumps and fuel dispensers come in many different forms with varying capabilities and functionality. Choosing the right equipment can be a mine field for the unprepared customer.
Whilst a few lines here will never be enough to provide details of all of the different options available, we hope to give you an essence of the complexities involved in the hope that you will be able to make better decisions in the future.
“But surely a pump is a pump?” This is something that we have heard often, along with claims that the cube pump offered by a competitor at less than a quarter of the price of our recommended cabinet pump, is exactly the same thing. Well sadly that is not the case at all, and a lesson that has been learnt many times over.
At Cameron Forecourt we always try to understand the client’s requirements before making a firm recommendation and base our decisions on the needs of our client. When it comes to fuel pumping equipment one of the primary drivers will always be to evaluate the demands that will be placed on the pump.
Fuel pumps have hard lives; especially in commercial fuelling applications. They are electro/mechanical units, that are normally located in an external and sometimes hostile environment. They can be expected to run for long periods of time and often provide a mission critical service. Finally, they are sometimes used by less than careful operators. This is not a suitable application for economy.
Fuel pumps come housed in a variety of different cases, many now use stainless steel, however Zintec Coated steel frames and panels are robust and suitable for most non corrosive atmospheres; we recommend avoiding plastic housings. There is a market for simple cube type pumps, however these units are rarely as robust as proper floor mounted cabinet pumps. If a pump is to be installed at a sea side location, then one should consider upgrading to stainless steel pump fitted stainless steel internal pipework for additional corrosion protection.
Pumping or delivery flow rate is a factor that often drives decision making, however it is quite possible to make mistakes here. When deciding on the flow rate of a fuel pump one should remember that forecourt pumps; used for refuelling cars, rarely pump faster than 30 to 40 Litres Per Minute. Most commercial fuel pumps start at 50LPM with some running up to 120 LPM for ultra-fast delivery. Flow rates above 70LPM require the larger 1” nozzle that does not fit into the filler neck of cars or smaller vans. It is our opinion that high-speed pumps at 90LPM only really suits HGV’s or similar large vehicles. Generally we recommend clients use pumps with flow rates around 70LPM as this flow rate is suitable for both smaller and larger vehicles.
Accuracy is often very important but regularly overlooked. Most commercial fuel pumps have an accuracy to +/- 0.5%, this is in keeping with retail pumps. This degree of accuracy is achieved by using a positive displacement meter. Lower cost units; often referred to as flow meters, are often only accurate to +/- 3%, and due to the nature of the way that the fuel is measured, suffering from inertia which can mean that accuracy differs at different flow rates. If stock measurement and reconciliation are important capabilities, then a positive displacement meter is essential.
Fuel pumps are regularly interfaced to other equipment such as Fuel Monitoring Systems, and therefore it is important to consider this when defining the pump specification. Fortunately, modern fuel pumps are capable of being connected to most types of Fuel Monitoring System. But it is important to check.
In some cases, commercial fuel pumps are used to sell fuel to third parties. Where this is a requirement then it is important that equipment approved to MID (Measuring Instruments Directive) is selected, especially when the pump is to be interfaced to a Fuel Monitoring System.
The majority of commercial fuel pumps have been designed to only pump Diesel and cannot be used with Petrol, however there are some models that are suitable for both products. Regardless of whether the pump is pumping Diesel or not, if it is located on an installation that also pumps Petrol, then it is extremely likely that the Diesel pump will need to have ATEX approval for use with Petrol.
More recently with changes in the regulations, Diesel has come under the control of DSEAR (Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations). There is a short explanation of these changes elsewhere in this edition of Fuelling Matters. These changes place a responsibility on Diesel installation operators to risk assess their equipment. As a consequence, operators are encouraged to select pumping equipment approved to ATEX for Diesel.
This is only a brief introduction to give you a hint of the possible choices that need to be made when selecting a Fuel Pump. At Cameron Forecourt we take our responsibility in helping our clients make the right choices very seriously. We have fully trained sales and engineering teams that are able to assess requirements and select the right equipment. As an independent supplier of fuelling equipment we can chose from different manufacturers and suppliers to get exactly what our client is looking for. The right fuel pumping equipment, regularly maintained by a qualified service provider should be suitable for many years’ reliable service.
All equipment sold through Cameron Forecourt includes a 12-month warranty that is provided by our own Service Department and directly employed engineers.