IoT system boosts war against fuel thieves

JOHANNESBURG – AN Internet of Things (IoT) end-to-end system for real time fuel management is poised to ultimately eradicate the theft of this vital commodity.

Refuel, a technology company established in 2020, has introduced innovation.

The latest IoT offering is said to provide full visibility of the fuel’s journey through the company in all types of vehicles, plants and generators.

Officials said the fuel management software update allows logistics companies, mines and construction companies, among others complete visibility of their entire fuel consumption, together with data analytics to scrutinise utilisation patterns as an end-to-end solution.

Refuel retrofits its technology onto clients’ on-site bowsers, inserts the probes into each asset’s fuel tank, links them to Refuel’s app and web-based ordering system, giving clients a digitally controlled real-time end-to-end fuel management solution tracking every litre of fuel pumped and consumed.

Refuel disclosed its system was developed as a response to feedback from the market about rampant theft that exists in decentralised fuel consuming locations.

Ricky Luntz, founder and Chief Executive Officer, said they had added additional functionality to their initial product, to give customers a greater level of control and knowledge around their assets’ fuel consumption.

“The new version consists of a specialised fuel probe onto which software is written and which is installed into every single asset,” he explained.

The probe and the app perform a “handshake”, which acknowledges having received a certain volume of litres pumped into the tank, Luntz explained.

“It thereafter tracks fuel – every single litre as it’s consumed, whether on the road, at a construction site, a mine or in a generator,” he said.

For instance, when an asset is switched off, but the fuel level drops, the owner is immediately alerted via the app that fuel is being drained from the tank, what time it happened and where the asset was located.

“With fuel consumption being one of the biggest operational expenses for any company with a fleet, criminal activity and abuse has to be minimised,” Luntz said.

Theft of fuel occurs through misuse of fuel cards as fleet managers often have no visibility of what happens in retail forecourts and activity is completely uncontrolled from the business perspective or drainage of fuel out of fuel tanks.

Luntz said on implementing the Refuel system, they had seen drops in consumption by as much as 20 percent, on top of a saving on the fuel price our clients often pay.

“This represents a large amount for a logistics, construction, or mining business, on what can be their largest operating cost. It can be even higher among companies that haven’t been tracking the cost.”

With the ever-rising price of the commodity and the use of alternative energy during load shedding, fuel is a much sought-after commodity.

– CAJ News

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