In a perfect world, there would be no need for fuel filtration. Clean diesel fuel would leave the refinery and remain contaminant free all the way to the engine’s combustion chamber. It would not pick up sediments as it travels through pipelines. It would not be exposed to dust and debris during transfer. Condensation would not occur inside tanks, microorganisms would not thrive on hydrocarbons, and fuel system components would never fail. Then again, in a perfect world, there would be no need for fuel.
The world we live in goes ‘round, in large part, thanks to running trucks and machinery. Today’s engines are more advanced than ever before, and require cleaner fuel to operate efficiently. High pressure, common rail fuel systems are built to extremely tight tolerances, which places greater importance on effective filtration. Tighter tolerances mean finer components that are more prone to blockage and failure caused by wear and corrosion.
Fleet operators should take the necessary steps to identify and address any points of contamination along their entire fuel supply chain:
Purchasing – The first point in which operators have any control is the purchasing of fuel. Purchasing the correct fuel for your operating conditions from a reputable supplier is the first step in ensuring optimal quality.
Storage – Next is proper storage. All fuel storage tanks, whether above or below ground, should be periodically inspected and properly maintained. Caps, vents, pumps, fittings, hoses, and tanks are all subject to wear and corrosion, and need to be kept in good, clean working order. Proactive filtration of fuel going into storage tanks will help prevent degradation of these components over time. There are a wide array of methods and systems on the market designed to keep stored fuel clean, it’s just a matter of choosing the right one for your application. Keeping tanks full will help by reducing condensation and accumulation of free water.
Dispensing – Sound fuel dispensing practices can go a long way in preventing further contamination of fuel. Ensuring that nozzles, caps, and fill ports are clean prior to fueling are a few simple ways reduce introduction of dirt and debris. Measures should also be taken to reduce exposure to environmental contaminants such as blowing rain, snow, dirt, and dust.
Equipment Fuel System – Your fuel’s last line of defense is the equipment’s fuel system. Today’s advanced filtration systems are capable of removing water and catching particles down to 3-5 microns in size while still allowing ample fuel flow. How long that filter lasts is largely determined by the cleanliness of the fuel passing through it. Periodically removing water, slime, and deposits from fuel tanks will extend the life and efficiency of the fuel system’s filters between change intervals. Proactive tank maintenance is especially important for equipment commonly fueled off-site.
Maintaining fuel integrity for a large fleet is not an easy task, especially when operating in extreme conditions. A thorough evaluation of your fuel supply chain, from refinery to combustion chamber, will undoubtedly reveal opportunities for improvement. Better to be proactive than reactive.
If timely fuel system maintenance, including filter changes and tank sweeps would help your fleet run more efficiently, contact Sharp HES today to discuss an on-site Custom Service Solution.