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Datatronic Uses RFID to Drive Down Fuel Loss

The company’s BlueTank solution provides a record of how much is pumped into a vehicle’s tank, and prevents the dispensing of fuel into an unauthorized truck or car.
By Claire Swedberg
Aug 06, 2013

For a decade, Austrian company Datatronic has offered an RFID-based fuel-management solution for transportation, construction and public service companies, with a reader installed on each vehicle's fuel tank and an active tag on the nozzle of a gas station's fuel pump. In the past year the company has turned that solution on its head by launching its BlueTank system, in which a passive UHF tag is attached to the vehicle and a reader is installed on the nozzle. By changing the hardware configuration, the company is able to offer the solution at a fraction of the cost of the predecessor technology, and the company claims users gain an ROI in about one month based on eliminating the loss of fuel.

Company fuel stations are frequently difficult to manage. Often there are no staff onsite to manage who is accessing diesel or gas, for what purposes, so that typically about 30 percent of the fuel used each month is simply unaccounted for, says Wolfgang Peiritsch, Datatronic's president. Staff could pump fuel not only into the company vehicle, but personal vehicles as well, for example, and the company is unlikely to know about it. Some systems track fuel use with RFID-based ID badges, but such a system identifies only the driver, and not the vehicle that is being fueled. In addition, employing staff at the stations to oversee diesel and gas consumption can be expensive.

Datatronic's Wolfgang Peiritsch
Datatronic's initial solution—with an active RFID tag placed on the pump nozzle (usually one for dispensing diesel fuel) and a reader installed on each vehicle—was expensive, and could be complicated as well, since the reader required a power source from the vehicle.

"So we developed BlueTank," Peiritsch says. With the BlueTank system, an EPC Gen 2 UHF passive RFID tag is attached to the vehicle, near its fuel filler pipe, and CAEN RFID Quark R1230CB reader is mounted onto the nozzle.

First, a user removes the nozzle from the fuel pump and a motion sensor detects that action and wakes up the reader. When the nozzle is placed in the vehicle's fuel filler pipe, the reader captures the unique ID number on the RFID tag, which is typically affixed with an adhesive directly above the filler pipe's opening. The reader is programmed to read only at close range, typically 1 to 30 centimeters, depending on the customer's requirements.

USER COMMENTS

Sriram Bangalore 2013-08-08 10:48:59 PM
Seems like a good idea. How is the fuel flow/quantity sensed by the RFID reader? This would open up a huge market in my region.

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