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Paz Energy Uses RFID for Fuel Security and Inventory Efficiencies

The Israeli company is using a combination of RFID, GPS and GPRS from Hi-G-Tek to track fuel deliveries to gas stations and stores around the Middle Eastern country.
By Rhea Wessel
Jun 06, 2007Paz Energy, an Israeli energy company, is using active RFID to track when the fuel valves and hatches on its tanker trucks are opened and closed as drivers deliver fuel to filling stations around the country.

Paz owns gas stations and convenience stores, and it also has its own distribution company, which supplies the stores with fuel from its own refinery. In late 2004, the company began working with Hi-G-Tek to design a system that would help Paz secure the valves on tanker trucks (as required by Israeli law), as well as deter fuel thefts and improve the efficiency of the fuel-delivery process.

Each of the valves on a tanker truck is fitted with an active RFID tag.

Consequently, Hi-G-Tek—formerly based in Israel but now operating a worldwide sales and marketing network out of Rockville, Md.—designed the Tanker Truck Monitoring System (TTMS), which utilizes active RFID tags built into tanker valves and hatches. Each time a valve or hatch is opened or closed, its RFID tag transmits a signal that is picked up by an interrogator mounted in the cab of the truck. The interrogator then relays the data, via a general packet radio service (GPRS) connection, to a computer in a central command center in Tel Aviv, where managers oversee tanker trucks and their deliveries. TTMS works in conjunction with a GPS-enabled fleet management system from Starcom Systems, a Hi-G-Tek partner, so Paz can also track its trucks' locations.

Paz began implementing the vehicle-tracking and fuel-monitoring solution on its trucks in 2005, taking the application operational by the end of 2006. By May of this year, most of the 50 trucks in the Paz fleet, and many belonging to third parties that deliver fuel for Paz, were equipped with the hardware. A total of 100 trucks are expected to be outfitted by year's end.

Before Paz implemented TTMS, drivers used mechanical clip seals on the valves and hatches. They had to keep track of seal numbers, writing them down by hand. Later, the company began using electronic reusable seals provided by Hi-G-Tek, and it has now moved to the RFID-enabled seals.

The fact that GPS tracks the exact location of each vehicle and RFID records any opening and closing of fuel hatches and valves provides Paz a strong theft deterrent. "The main problem was that we wanted to assure that our trucks arrive at our gas stations filled up, and that nobody opened the compartment along the way," says Moshe Sabag, Paz's vice president of IT. "We took the system to be sure that the compartments are opened just in the locations where we want it. With the system, we get real-time reporting and real-time information."

Now, when a driver arrives at a station and begins pumping fuel from one of the truck's 12 valves or hatches, managers at the command center can oversee which types of fuels are being pumped, and for how long, enabling them to calculate the amount of fuel delivered to a station.

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