Measurement and Testing
Fuel which is Pure for Sure
Jul 26 2011 Read 13813 Times
Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) is a Fortune 500 company and one of the largest state-owned oil and gas companies in India. Its product portfolio includes gasoline, diesel, kerosene, liquefied petroleum gas, automotive and industrial lubricants, fuel oils and aviation fuels. BPCL supplies fuel directly to hundreds of industries, and several international and domestic airlines, and sells petroleum products through a large network of retail outlets.
In keeping with its strong customer-oriented philosophy, in 2002 BPCL introduced “Pure for Sure”, a major initiative dedicated to ensure the pure quality and correct quantity of fuel dispensed to the end-customer. The purchase and use of pure fuel gives customers value for money, better mileage, lower expenses for vehicle maintenance, and reduces pollution.
The success of “Pure for Sure” depends on a number of stringent measures. Tank lorries now have pilfer-proof locks, dispensing units are sealed and calibrated to prevent tampering, and retail outlets are certified and tested by an independent agency: TÜV Süddeutschland-India. Mystery audits and extensive inspections are carried out at participating retail outlets to ensure they comply with requirements. Those which do comply are allowed to display the “Pure for Sure” logo.
The laboratories required a cost-efficient way of processing the large number of incoming samples. To meet this challenge, new instrumentation was purchased, including 15 new Stabinger Viscometers from Anton Paar (Austria). The Stabinger Viscometer is a bench-top instrument which determines the kinematic viscosity and density of oils and fuels. It also calculates the Viscosity Index automatically.
For Dr. Narasimham it was important that the new instrumentation was fast and easily correlated with the existing methods. At the BPCL laboratories, lab personnel use the Stabinger Viscometers to screen incoming samples. With a throughput of around 30 samples per hour, the laboratory meets the heavy workload without compromising on accuracy. The small number of problematic samples which are detected during screening are then taken for further authentification using the D445 manual method, the reference method in India. Only using the D445 method for in-depth analysis of suspect fuels increases overall efficiency.
To serve the large Indian market, BPCL has more than 20 testing laboratories around the country. Although each laboratory works independently, it was necessary to ensure standardisation of the methods and equipment used. This resulted in BPCL ordering 15 Stabinger Viscometers to equip the most important testing laboratories. As Dr. Narasimham explains, “When you want good interlab coordination, it’s better to have the same instrument used everywhere.”
Now results for the “Pure for Sure” campaign from all locations in India are comparable. The Stabinger Viscometer meets the requirements of standard test method ASTM D7042 and delivers measurement results which are equivalent to ISO 3104 and ASTM D445.
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