Mass Flow Meter Adoption Could Be Industry Standard for Fuel Suppliers, Says OW Bunker

By Jocelyn Redfern at November 10, 2010 19:46
Filed Under: Company News, General

Despite requirement for further R&D and MID approval, ‘next generation’ technology is central to optimising control procedures, increasing supply efficiencies, further professionalising the industry, as well as building customer trust

Mass flow meters represent an essential element of further professionalising the fuel supply industry and continuing to build trust with ship owners and operators, says OW Bunker, one of the world’s leading suppliers and traders of marine fuel oil. 

OW Bunker pioneered the initial adoption of mass flow meters, when it installed the technology on vessels within its global fleet five years ago in order to ensure and further enhance its quality control processes.  Based on the positive results, the company believes that over time, the technology could become an ‘industry standard’ for fuel suppliers as a means of helping customers to drive further efficiencies within their operations, and continuing to increase professionalism in bunkering.   To achieve industry standard status, mass flow meters would have to be formally approved under the European Union’s Measuring Instruments Directive (MID).

Mass flow meters provide the most sophisticated, quick and accurate method of measuring the amount of fuel oil that is transferred during the bunkering process.  Despite this, many suppliers within the industry continue to use manual tank gauging and sounding on a widespread basis.  Mass flow meters also supersede - particularly in relation to the ease of installation and price - positive displacement flow meters.

“Clearly the process of widespread adoption and installation across the industry will take time, but it must be recognised as the right progressive move that customers want to see,” says Søren Christian Meyer, Global Sales Director, OW Bunker.

“It makes good sense on every level.  Mass flow meters make life easier for the crews of both the bunker barge and the receiving vessel, and the customer receives a full service solution that ensures the quantity of fuel oil delivered, creating a smoother and faster bunkering service.  Ultimately this increases efficiencies within our customers’ operations, which is an absolute priority for us in adding as much value as we possibly can.”

Mass flow meters are also particularly beneficial when conducting high seas and offshore bunkering, a service that OW Bunker has specific expertise in, where swells or rough waves make sounding difficult.

While mass flow meters represent the future in fuel quantity measurement, OW Bunker also believes that further modifications need to be made to the technology by the manufacturers that are pioneering it.

“In our experience, mass flow meters are very accurate, however, there are still certain developments that need to be made as part of the continual R&D and evolutionary process,” says Steffen Kortegaard, Technical Director, OW Bunker.

“The meters are very sensitive towards external stress, vacuum and pressure pulsations, as well as pulsations in the fuel oil that come from gear pumps or engines that are nearby.  Despite this, these issues are not insurmountable, as mass flow meters clearly represent the most accurate method of calculation in what is a highly complex process.”

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