Introduction

High accuracy inline and real-time measurements The Insatech Bunker Flow Meter Management System for ships and vessels

Insatech Marine’s Bunker Management System is developed, designed and constructed to act as a safeguard against manipulation of bunkered marine fuel oil as well as counteracting it. By using equipment and methods that deliver high accuracy inline and real-time measurement during bunker operations, any attempt by the bunker service to gain an economic advantage is detected. This ensures you have the upper hand in any possible disputes.

Temperature and air manipulation is detected

As the focus on bunker consumption has risen over the last decade, so has the incentive for bunker delivery services to attempt to actively affect the properties of the delivered fuel. The properties typically manipulated are temperature and air content. By raising the temperature of the marine fuel oil during bunkering, the bunker supplier can increase the volume of the oil, and thereby give the impression of delivering a larger quantity, than what is actually delivered.

The uncertainty of volume-based measurements

It is common practice to determine the amount of bunkered fuel oil by sounding both vessel and barge bunker tanks before and after bunkering and then converting the volume into mass using conversion tables. Measuring bunkered fuel oil in volume but settling in weight causes some uncertainty due to the table based conversion.

If air is introduced into the Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) bunker stream the volume will also appear to be larger than what is actually delivered. The air can enter the HFO during bunkering through several – intended or unintended – entry points. The most common source is stripping during the changeover from one source tank to another. As long as it has been agreed how long stripping is allowed it is normally not an issue. However, if the bunker fuel supplier intentionally uses the stripping period to increase the volume of the delivered marine fuel oil, it is clearly a manipulation that must be addressed and dealt with.

”The Cappuccino effect”

Letting air seep into the bunker line and thereby continuously manipulating the volume is known as “the cappuccino effect”. It causes tiny air bubbles to form that are barely visible and therefore very hard to detect during for example sounding.

Common for both stripping and the cappuccino effect is that the fuel oil will stay aerated for several days or even weeks. This means the manipulation is not detected in time and disputing is not an option, as claims should normally be made within 48 hours after the first bunkering.

Measure mass directly – and get the amount of bunker you pay for

The clear advantage of the Bunker Management System is that it utilizes a mass flow meter instead of a volumetric flow meter. This means the mass flow is measured directly, and is therefore not influenced by air entrained in the oil. Furthermore, the system takes the differential pressure over the flow meter and media temperature into account, ensuring entrained air detection automatically, bunker operation stability and logging.

By understanding the bunker operation and the factors that influence it, as well as applying precise, trustworthy instrumentation and equipment, you will put yourself in the optimum position when bunkering!

 

Get the Amount of Fuel Oil You Have Paid For!

In June 2013 the Insatech Bunker Management System documented short-delivery of 53.3 metric tons during a bunker operation. That is equivalent to USD 31,980. For the ship operator this meant that the investment in our system was “paid back” on just one bunker job.

As fuel expenses constitute between 50 pct. and 70 pct. of a ship’s total operational costs, short-deliveries of bunker fuel can easily amount to large extra costs for the ship operator. It is not uncommon that ship operators are short-delivered 3 to 4 pct. during the bunker operation as the volume of the bunker fuel is manipulated by introducing air into the oil. The Insatech Bunker Management System measures and logs mass, temperature and density detecting any attempt to introduce air.

The system is installed on more than 50 vessels world-vide and has been proven in practice during the last six years. It consists of a Coriolis Mass Flow Meter, a computer and an easy-to-use operator interface. In order to obtain thorough knowledge about your fuel consumption, we recommend that you also install our Performance Monitoring System.

Contact our expert for more information about utilizationcustomization, implementation and price.


 

How the Bunker Management System Works

The bunker management system is based on reliable and tested instrumentation to ensure efficient detection of non compliant bunker operations whether intentional or unintentional. The system is made to aid your crew when bunkering, via the reporting feature the information is stored, and the system ensures headquarters have all the data.

Direct mass measurement with coriolis mass flow meters

The main component of the Bunker Management System is the mass flow meter, based on the Coriolis principle. The flow meter directly measures the mass of the fluid that passes through it, and is unaffected by air in the marine fuel oil.

Pressure transmitters ensures heightened precision

Pressure transmitters are placed before and after the flow meter, and will in the advanced system aid in the regulation of line pressure and flow rate, by controlling a valve placed downstream of the flow meter. The valve is also used for slow start-up, enabling venting of bunker hose and pipes. Furthermore, the two pressure transmitters are needed for detection of air in the bunkered marine fuel oil. A temperature transmitter is also included in the setup to heighten precision.

All signals that are drawn from the mentioned instruments are received, stored and processed within the control cabinet containing the electronics. All communication is handled and administrated from this cabinet as well.

Bunker Report

Insatech Marine’s Bunker Management System is very useful during bunkering as well as in the event of a bunker dispute. Data collected from the sensors, will automatically generate a bunker report including all necessary information, such as bunkering time, average density, temperature, flow rate and viscosity. If the advanced system is installed, the report will also include a value for the stability index of the complete bunkering operation. This report will be stored in the system and can be recalled at any time you require.

 

Operation

Insatech Marine has developed and designed the operator interface and focused on its functionality and easy operation. We know it is vital to have an easy to use system in order to get benefits from it, as it will be handled by different crews, with different nationalities and experience. The system eases the processes related to raising protests and claims towards bunker suppliers.

A simple system to operate

The simple operation of the Bunker Management System is achieved by a clean and minimalistic design, that eliminates confusing elements and unnecessary information, while in depth and full data is still readily available to any user. It is done without compromising the compatibility and integrity of the system.

One-time setup

When the system has been installed and is ready to use, some basic set-up information is needed. Merely enter the ship’s name, IMO number and other obligatory data once, and the system will continuously use these for Bunker Reports and displays.

User experience Insatech Bunker Management System Main View

When using the Insatech Marine
Bunker Management System all information is readily available within one touch of the screen. All information needed during bunkering operations is presented in the overview display, including intuitive illustrations of current status within the different stages of the system.

The ”Start Bunkering” display will swiftly let the operator enter the necessary input and ready the Bunker Management System for the task at hand. Once the data has been entered, the operation is ready to begin, and by the press of one button the system is activated. During the operation the operator will be able to see information such as flow, density, viscosity and trends.

After the operation all details
regarding the bunkering will be saved in a Bunker Transfer Report (PDF file), which can then be printed or sent to another destination via email.

 

Installation setups

Choose for your needs

Depending on what your needs are and how you wish to use the Bunker Management System, there is a configuration that will fit. The system is made in two setups Standard and Advanced. Both includes a cabinet for signal processing and a touch screen for operation. Insatech Bunker Management System setups

Standard setup consists of a mass flow meter, a temperature transmitter for more accurate readings and better compensation as well as two pressure transmitters, which are used to compensate for viscosity. The system requires manual input of viscosity and temperature from the BDN (Bunker Delivery Note). The system is mainly used for MGO (Marine Gas Oil).

Advanced setup includes a control valve enabling air detection, slow start feature and critical operation shut-down. The Automated setup will act upon changes in the bunker flow, give alarms on predefined set-points and can be programmed to close to a 15% flow automatically in case the delivery does not comply with expected quality. This system is intended for high viscosity fuels such as HFO (Heavy Fuel Oil).

 

The bunker operation

The marine fuel oil flow is measured by the Coriolis Mass Flow Meter installed with the Bunker Management System. Pressure and temperature transmitters enhance the precision and functionality of the system, and an automatic control valve will help ensure that there is always sufficient back pressure, as well as provide the ability of an automatic and controlled partial shutdown, if the delivered bunker fuel is not acceptable.

Bunker reporting

A Bunker Transfer Report will be generated automatically after each operation and stored in the system. The Bunker Report will contain information such as average density, temperature, air content and flow rate. Naturally, fuel type and logistical information will also be stated.

Report access – from ship or shore Insatech Bunker Management System Signal & data flow

The data collected from the bunker operation can be accessed at all times and can be transmitted via the ship’s own internet connection as soon as the operation is completed. This means both ship and shore have access to reports, current and historical. At Headquarters the use is primarily for statistical and financial purposes.

Action enabler via alarms – also from shore

The system can be set up to signal an alarm in case of faulty deliveries or quality inconsistencies. Critical alarms that might require action or assistance from land based operations can be sent directly to Headquarters to ensure timely action is taken. Since dispute claims often have to be made within 48 hours of bunkering, taking action in due time is critical.

 

Installation

Insatech Marine provides you with turnkey solutions

The system installation does not generate unnecessary costs, it will not alter your schedule or put your vessel out of service. Our experienced technicians install and commission the system while your vessel is in service, whether at sea, in port or dry dock. We are ready to move out at your preferred destination and time.

Do it yourself – or let us install

The system is programmed, calibrated and has been initially setup by our technicians to minimize installation time onboard. The crew on board will in some cases be able to install the equipment under the guidance of Insatech Marine’s technicians, to ensure correct placement and electrical installation. This minimizes cost and required man-hours, while ensuring maximum benefit of the system during use. However, we are also able to provide installation with commissioning, tests and training of the crew. We can complete the installation at sea, in port or dry dock at your preference.

Turnkey solutions and installations;
at sea, in port or dry dock at your preference.

 

Service, Maintenance and Support

If you require a service agreement as part of the system our skilled technicians are ready to service your vessel at all times. While the system requires minimal maintenance an occasional calibration of equipment is recommended.

Service and support is readily available

To constantly get highly accurate measurements, your marine equipment must function optimally. This means it must be calibrated according to the purpose, and therefore we provide service options, should the need arise. This is why we have our own technicians ready for service on board your vessel at all times, whether it is a planned service visit or a pressing and acute matter that needs immediate attention.

Minimal maintenance required

As the equipment used for the Bunker Management System is mostly constituted by components without moving parts, the need for active maintenance is minimal. Nonetheless there might be equipment in need of calibration or service from time to time, and depending on the specific setup, a service and maintenance plan will be issued with each individual Bunker Management System.

Contact our expert

Mads Hyldahl Mathiassen

+45 2761 4531