Remote Tank Level Monitoring
APG sensor installed on a remote tank
Credit: Automation Products Group

For those of you in the remote tank management arena, knowing the tank level without having to visit the site can save you a lot of time and money, allowing you to take on more customers without adding resources. With the right remote tank monitoring solution, you can login to a secure website and see everything you need, including alarms and logged data.

Let me give you a few examples of big money making and saving opportunities:

1. Add Value To Your Tank Service
This makes the top of the list because to your customer, the value is what it’s all about. If you’re a tank service company, such as an oil recycler, or a bulk liquid distributor, then helping your customers monitor their tanks is a huge service.

Your customer needs its tanks emptied or filled, and they often don’t have the resources to monitor them effectively—especially when they are spread out.

Tip: Make the measurements available to your customers so they can see exactly how much you’re delivering or picking up. They’ll love the transparency and feel better about your service.

Add value to your services by offering pro-active pickups and deliveries with a remote tank monitoring option that will keep them loyal to you year in and year out.

2. Optimize Your Pick-Up And Delivery Routes
As you take the lead in monitoring your customer’s tanks, you’ll begin to notice a hidden gem of increased profitability—route optimization. Once you know what tanks are full or empty, or somewhere in between, you can take control of your routes and send your trucks where it will be most profitable.

The bottom line is servicing tanks that are half full is expensive. For a pickup service, you’re getting less income on a fixed expense. You’re already paying the driver and the diesel, and you’re putting wear and tear on the same truck. You might as well control your destiny and visit the most profitable tanks—the full ones.

For a distributor, you can eliminate over and under ordering and streamline your deliveries. It’s easier to control when and where your trucks go when you have the level sensor data right in front of you.

3. Order Accurately
If you manage your own bulk liquid inventory in remote storage tanks, then installing remote tank level sensors will give you an accurate inventory count. From there you can order accurately and avoid unnecessary charges for ordering too much. You can also reduce shortages, as you will no longer order too little.

A perfect example of this is one of our customers who monitors bulk Magnesium Chloride, a liquid deicer. These tanks are spread out along highways throughout the state. Tank level measurements were taken visually, which often resulted in ordering too much deicer. When this happened, the state was responsible for the entire order, even though it couldn’t accept all of it.

4. Increase Visibility & Accountability
Our same customer also had difficulty tracking which counties and municipalities were using the deicer, when they were using it, and how much of it they used. Forecasting the need for deicer was impossible because there was no visibility or accountability. Installing remote tank monitors solved this issue.

Managing your own liquid inventory properly is impossible without good data. Visibility and accountability let you forecast and manage inventory much better, which improves cash flow.

For pick-up and delivery services, your customers will appreciate being able to see the readings and verify the accuracy of your statements. Give yourself a competitive advantage and impress more customers by being transparent.

You also have the tools you need to monitor budgets much closer. A budget is not just a spending cap, but has a funny way of forcing creativity and innovation.

5. Do More With What You Have
Finally, perhaps the most striking way you can save money and increase profits at the same time is through asset optimization. If you service remote tanks for your customers, route optimization and increased visibility will free up more time for your trucks and drivers.

Free time means you’re not only more profitable already, but you can now take on more business with the same assets. If you manage your own tanks, you can manage more with fewer people.

Remote Tank Monitoring Is An Enabler

There are many tanks that are difficult to measure due to their location, or the expense of deploying a sensor. Using the right remote tank level monitoring equipment allows you to monitor those tanks at an affordable price. It cuts out the guesswork and allows you to build profits and slash costs.

Choosing a remote tank monitoring solution requires a bit of research and careful consideration. Look for a solution that will serve your locations best. Do you have small tank farms spread out in groups, or are your tanks isolated from others? What kind of Internet infrastructure is available at your tanks, and what do your options cost?

You’ll also want to think through power sources, installation requirements, and the technical aptitude of your personnel. Ease of installation might outweigh the cost of a more manual process. You might hire an integrator to install the sensors for you. However, in our experience, training a crew of your own personnel to tackle a moderately technical task will often result in properly installed sensors at a low cost.

Above all, search out a supplier that has the support personnel or documentation to guide you through a successful implementation.

Remote tank level sensors are enablers of your success. They can dramatically improve your tank management, or the tank management of your customers, when properly understood and deployed.

Kelvin Findlay is an Industry Analyst at Automation Products Group, Inc. He has been involved in the modern Internet-based monitoring market since its inception. He has played a key role for APG in market development and the analysis of user adoption and competitor activity for the last three years.

Automation Products Group, Inc. (APG) is on the leading edge of remote tank monitoring technology with its multi-sensor platform, Tank Cloud. As one of the first to market with a true Internet-based tank monitoring sensor, APG has a wealth of experience designing and manufacturing remote sensors for harsh chemicals, hazardous waste streams, petroleum and petrochemical supply chains, and other high value or hard-to-monitor liquids.