It was in 2012 that partners Axel Soyez and Ali Bennis tested their idea for a smart fuel cap at the largest European transport trade fair in Hanover. Encouraged by the unanimously positive reception of what many saw as a good way to fight fuel theft, after a year of research and development, they brought their invention to the market. A smart fuel cap means a cap that simultaneously prevents siphoning, measures fuel consumption and transmits this information in real time to an extranet platform so that the fleet manager has an overview of all this useful information. “For carriers, fuel is the biggest cost after salaries. That’s why saving just 1% on fuel results in a 0.3 to 0.4% improvement in the net margin. The stakes are huge,” explains Axel Soyez.
While the principle of the cap may seem simple, the embedded technology is anything but. Through a set of sensors, the cap measures the fuel level more precisely than the on-board computers, giving the exact difference, down to the nearest hundredth, between the quantity of fuel purchased and the amount actually in the truck. “In the entire fuel chain, the weak link has always been how to reconcile these two figures: how much fuel you are buying and how much you are burning in your engine. Our product offers functionalities that simply didn’t exist on the market.” If the end client can expect to reduce fuel costs by 1%, the system should pay for itself in under 2 years. “But based on the initial experiences of our customers, the payback is actually a lot sooner, because of greater savings,” he confirms.
However, the solution is about more than just the cap. An extranet platform improves the administrative convenience for the fleet manager. By integrating all the information from the fuel cards and being informed in real time about all tankrelated activity, the manager can instantly detect any anomalies. And, naturally, the transmission of the data recorded by the smart cap can only be done with access to a reliable telecom network. “After having considered the various tenders, we chose Proximus because of the quality of their network, but also because we found them to be partners who were willing to listen and who immediately offered us a true partnership, not just a commercial relationship,” Soyez added.
In addition to the (simple) provision of m2m SIM cards for the smart caps, the solution offered by Proximus also includes, of course, sending and receiving data via all the available networks on a global scale thanks to the partner networks, and access to its management platform, Belgacom m2m cockpit. “With SMS messaging, we can receive clear alerts and send queries to the cap remotely. Thanks to the various data networks, we have permanent access to more extensive data collected by the caps. It’s a real boost, therefore, for management and for profitability too,” Soyez concluded.
Spytank is a start-up created in 2012 in Mons, with support and financing from various local organizations (Invest Mons). The company develops and manufactures smart caps for fuel tanks for road freight hauliers. Spytank is currently focusing on the Benelux market.
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