NGVConnection Newsletter - November 2013


 


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Heavy-Duty NGVs Require Increased Technician Electrical Diagnostic Skills

By Robin Skibicki, Marketing Coordinator, NGVi

Do you (or your technicians) know the answer to this question?

While performing a voltage drop test on the power side of the 12 volt fuel shut-off solenoid, you get a reading of .04 volts. Technician A states this indicates a properly operating circuit. Technician B states that the reading for a properly operating circuit would be 12 volts. Who is correct?

  • Technician A
  • Technician B
  • Both Technicians
  • Neither Technician

Check your answer at the end of this article.



NGVi Training Manager, ASE Master Certified automotive technician and CSA certified CNG Fuel System Inspector, Paul Pate, answers commonly asked questions about NGV electrical systems.


What general skills do technicians need in order to effectively diagnose and repair NGVs?

In order to be proficient at NGV diagnostics, heavy-duty technicians require a complete understanding of three areas:

  • The operation of the natural gas fuel system components.
  • Differences between Diesel Cycle and Otto Cycle engines and their ignition method.
  • How basic electrical/electronic circuits operate.

What specific skills do technicians needs to effectively diagnose NGV electrical systems?

Technicians specifically need to know the operation of electrical circuits and their diagnosis. Electrical diagnostics is an area that is often confusing to the uninformed technician. One key way to tell if a technician really understands diagnostics is to see what function they use on their meter.

If a technician typically uses his/her DMM only to make resistance measurements or voltage source measurements, they’re not effectively diagnosing electrical circuits.

Resistance measurement has its place, but only shows two things: whether a component is electrically open or electrically shorted, and this is while the component is at rest.


What is the advantage of a voltage drop test over a resistance measurement?

A voltage drop test shows how a component acts while under a loaded condition. Since the majority of electrical problems do not typically occur until the component is loaded, this is the most valid way to diagnose a circuit.

Additionally, voltage drop testing can show you where the fault exists within the circuit. Is it in the supply side, on the ground side, or in the component itself? Technicians properly trained in electrical systems diagnosis find these methods make the diagnostic process quick and efficient.


Are there other effective electrical tests technicians should use for diagnosis?

Yes. Depending on the electrical device or sensor, tests may include amperage measurements using an inductive amp clamp and/or wave form analysis using a digital oscilloscope. In addition, technicians need to be comfortable with scan tool operation as well as understanding on-board diagnostics.

Where can I learn how to effectively apply diagnostic principles to NGVs?

In our new Heavy-Duty NGV Maintenance and Diagnostics Training, we cover all aspects of the electrical system on a modern CNG powered vehicle. This includes each component from the fueling receptacle to the engine fuel system, how they work, how to effectively test each component electrically, what type of electrical signal each sensor generates, and how to properly read and use the wiring schematics to develop a diagnostic and repair strategy. For more information about this training, visit our website at ngvi.com/HD_Diagnostic_Training.html

Answer: a) Technician A. If you answered correctly, congratulations – you understand voltage drop testing! If not, you might benefit from a refresher in electrical diagnostics. We include this information in our Heavy-Duty NGV Maintenance and Diagnostics Training.

 

Perspectives with Gregg Lennon, CNG Application Engineer, SSP
By Kasia McBride, Marketing Manager, NGVi

SSP, founded in Cleveland, Ohio in 1926 as a contract manufacturer of screw machine products, has grown to become a world-wide leader in the production of tested, certified, and trusted stainless steel tubing, tube fittings, valves, and installation tools. NGVi recently had the opportunity, to sit down with Gregg Lennon, CNG Application Engineer at SSP, to learn more.


Tell me about SSP’s scope of services and your target markets. 

SSP is a vertically integrated manufacturer, from tooling to forging to high-volume and made-to-order precision machining. The company is housed in a recently updated 165,000 square foot facility and serves a global growth-oriented distribution network.  We manufacture the brand names Duolok®, Unilok®, Griplok®, and TruFit® fittings and FloLok® valves. ISO 9000-certified since 1997, SSP utilizes Kaizen methodology and Six Sigma tools to continually and rapidly respond to customers’ requirements, with a special focus on the needs of the installers of the instrumentation systems.

Our midsized company in Twinsburg, Ohio is home to our ISO 9001:2000, vertically integrated facility. All engineering, machining, forging, treating, assembly, and testing are performed under one roof, allowing SSP to tightly control materials and manufacturing processes. This control allows us to ensure high-quality, on-time delivery of both standard and non-standard products.

One thing that sets our company apart is that we are considered a trusted advisor that knows the issues to guide customers through the component selection process. This is important because there is no tube fitting standard for the safe design and construction of CNG vehicle fueling systems and fueling stations.  We offer technical experts with industry experience, products tested to requirements of NGV 3.1, 4.6 and ECE R110 and training and tools for safe installation. 


Our philosophy is that the people who buy, install and use our products become extended members of our family business, not a number on our balance sheet. This is what we do, and we love it.

What sets your products, services and company apart from your competitors?

First of all, SSP products are 100% U.S. made. Secondly, our products are certified by third-party laboratories to meet or exceed industry standard designs, so there is no need for retraining installers if they are switching from other common fitting designs. In fact, SSP Duolok® components are proven interchangeable per ASTM F-1837. Finally, each fitting is individually bagged to assure integrity and cleanliness. Our exclusive Expanite™ hardening process not only provides a super strong bite, we also have the lowest make-up torque in the industry.

One of the most frequently requested services SSP offers is our training, especially proper selection and safe assembly of tube fittings, including proper tube preparation and bending. Not only can we help with the installation crew, we can also help with fire marshals and other inspectors.


Can you give us a general overview of the CNG-related products and services provided by SSP?

SSP offers a family of CNG Plus™ products that are matched with the high-pressure requirements of CNG fueling stations. Our newest addition is the CNG Plus coiled tubing, which comes in both ½” and, more perhaps importantly, ¾” sizes.  The primary advantage is the 5500 psi working pressure, which allows design engineers and construction companies to get the maximum flow without compromising safety. The wall thicknesses were designed to optimize the flow available while achieving the 5500 psi rating. Designers no longer have to choose between a lower pressure or a lower flow. Additionally, all SSP tubing, coil or stick, is built to a “plus” tolerance which guarantees the OD is at or above the nominal size, and never below. This Restricted Tolerance Control improves the successful bite of the ferrule into the tubing, thus increasing the safety and reliable performance of the SSP connection.

Customers are most enthusiastic about the larger size products. Because we provide ¾” coiled tubing, designers are able to specify that tubing instead of two runs of ½”. With fittings, SSP’s Duolok ® double ferrule compression fittings offer 5500 and 5300 psi performance in ¾” and 1” sizes, respectively. SSP’s unique TurnPro SX-2 portable assembly tool allows construction teams to pull up large fittings at the point of use, rather than back in the job trailer.

What product innovations is SSP currently working on?

SSP’s CNG Plus product line, detailed earlier, includes our most exciting and relevant new CNG product additions. We have several other CNG-specific products and services in testing right now, so stay tuned for additional announcements. SSP is committed to collaborating with engineers and construction firms to develop innovative solutions to the most common CNG construction challenges. These solutions include new and enhanced products combined with onsite construction tools, training and local supply.

What is your role at SSP and your personal career path in the CNG industry?

I’ve been in the tube fitting and stainless steel tubing industry for over 30 years, and have seen the CNG transportation movement start and stop several times. What is different now is the economics, largely due to the abundant supply of natural gas in the United States. The products that SSP manufactures are proven to be reliable and safe, so it is great to be able to have a career position focused on taking these products into a high growth industry like CNG fueling.

How is SSP responding to the increasing demand for CNG vehicles and fueling?

SSP has invested in significant manufacturing capacity to keep up with the growing demand for CNG Fueling. Our sister company, AFV LLC, has been providing CNG fuel systems for over five years and also has recently expanded capacity. Being 100% made in America, we offer fast delivery of essential components that are helping America achieve energy independence.

What surprises you about the natural gas vehicle industry?

What surprises us about the natural gas vehicle industry is the passion and zeal that everyone exhibits toward the industry. Everyone knows everyone, and everyone is an evangelist for the benefits of natural gas in transportation. There is a universal awareness that we all need to help grow the adoption of natural gas as a fuel, and the way to do that is to make sure every vehicle and fueling station is designed and built to high performance and safety standards. As long as we are all smart about how we grow, the marketplace will have a positive experience with CNG.

If you were “King of North America,” what would be the first three things you would do about transportation fuels here?

More public CNG fueling infrastructure, along with incentives for the purchase of CNG vehicles, would help with the light vehicle market. But the economics are so compelling for medium- and heavy-duty fleets that the main focus would be more education and awareness for fleet owners.

For more information visit
www.mySSPusa.com and www.altfuelexpress.com


>>Back to Top


Getting Serious About the CNG Fueling Business

By Kasia McBride, Marketing Manager, NGVi

Last month, NGVi participated as an exhibitor in the 2013 National Association of Convenience Store (NACS) Show. Gathering at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, GA, nearly 22,000 professionals from more than 60 countries, represented the convenience and fuel retailing industry.  Attendees included fuel retailers, equipment manufacturers, distributors, service and construction firms, and affiliate members offering a wide variety of supporting products and services. This is serious business.

NGVi's booth was located in the Fuel and Equipment Services zone, designated for attendees to view and discuss all available fueling-related products and services.  NGVi’s exhibit was there to encourage attendees to ask questions and foster discussion regarding CNG fueling station design, operation, and maintenance practices, as well as to provide information about
NGVi’s training and consulting services

We had a major takeaway from the 2013 event. We attended the 2012 NACS Show, but compared to last year, we not only saw a significant growth in interest in CNG from this industry, but also a major shift in their level of awareness about the fuel and their involvement in CNG infrastructure development.

“The amount of knowledge among the petroleum equipment companies and fuel retailers about CNG fueling has elevated tremendously,” said Leo Thomason, Executive Director of NGVi. “A lot of the questions we received at the show this year were no longer driven just by curiosity from those who see the potential demand for the fuel.  Many had advanced to specific questions about CNG fueling station design, construction and ROI. This strongly indicates that more and more companies are getting serious about the business of CNG fueling station construction and retailing.”

CNG retailers are one of the most influential groups because of their direct impact on customers’ buying experiences, and their ultimate decision to use natural gas as a transportation fuel. Retailers also take the most financial risk in infrastructure development. 

Publicly-accessible CNG stations can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on type and capacity. Building a CNG station for retail use requires careful planning and forecasting of current and future demand so the station can be sized appropriately because the consequences of not getting it right are severe. If a CNG station is sized too small, customers will not get the fuel they need and will be dissatisfied.  If it is sized too large, the retailer will suffer a very poor return on investment. Because there are significant differences between building a traditional liquid fuel station and a CNG station, specialized knowledge is key to properly design, size for capacity, and construct.

Retailers must determine optimal locations for CNG stations, identify and grow their customer base, and be able to control cost factors so they can price fuel competitively with gasoline, diesel—or even other CNG retailers.

Petroleum equipment and construction companies, responsible for designing and building natural gas fueling stations, need to learn the specifics of an entirely new system. Unlike gasoline and diesel, expertise in working with
pressurized gas, specific knowledge of the national codes and regulations that affect fueling stations, and informed capability to build CNG fueling infrastructure is required.

This knowledge and information is critical whether organizations are purchasing CNG fueling stations, designing and constructing them, or handling fuels in the retail space.  Many decision makers who visited NGVi’s booth recognized that in order to get involved successfully in the CNG fueling business, they must be properly trained and prepared.

The high traffic to NGVi’s booth this year and the large number of detailed questions is a strong indication that the petroleum retail industry is ready and motivated to seize the advantages of CNG.

For more information about NGVi’s CNG Fueling Station training, go to
http://www.ngvi.com/fuelingstation_training.html

 


CNG Fuel Price Report
From Clean Cities Alternative Fuel Price Report published by Argonne National Laboratory for DOE's Clean Cities Program

Overall Average Fuel Prices (as of July 2013)

 

Nationwide Average Price for Fuel This Report

Nationwide Average Price for Fuel Last Report

Change in Price This Report vs. Last Report

Units of Measurement

Gasoline (Regular)

$3.65

$3.59

$0.06

per gallon

Diesel

$3.91

$3.99

$0.08

per gallon

CNG

$2.14

$2.10

$0.04

per GGE


NGVs and CNG in the News

 

To read more, click here.


Upcoming Training from NGVi

NGV Technician and Fleet Operations Safety Training

December 3, 2013 | Kenosha, WI
January 28, 2014 | Charlotte, NC


One-day session that teaches you the elements involved in the safe maintenance practices, fueling procedures, and operation of NGVs.

REGISTER>>>

CNG Fuel System Inspector Training

December 4-5, 2013 | Kenosha, WI
January 29-30, 2014 | Charlotte, NC

Two-day session that provides you with the proper techniques for inspecting CNG fuel systems, including on-board compressed natural gas fuel storage cylinders.

 

REGISTER>>>


Heavy-Duty NGV Maintenance and Diagnostics Training

January 14-16, 2014 | Long Beach, CA

Three-day course that prepares technicians to understand the operation, maintenance, diagnosis and repair of heavy-duty natural gas vehicles.

REGISTER>>>

 



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August 15, 2017
Atlanta, GA

Level 2: CNG Fuel System
Inspector Training

August 16-17, 2017
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September 12, 2017
Chicago, IL

Level 2: CNG Fuel System
Inspector Training

September 13-14, 2017
Chicago, IL

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About NGVi

Natural Gas Vehicle Institute is North America’s leading provider of training and consulting on natural gas as a transportation fuel.

Our services address the full range of natural gas vehicle and fueling issues, including:

Technical consulting services – Sizing and designing compressed natural gas fueling stations, vehicle assessments and technical assistance for fleets, CNG fueling station troubleshooting, natural gas vehicle maintenance facilities upgrades, liquefied natural gas fleet and fueling management.

Technical training – NGV Essentials and Safety Practices, CNG Fuel System Inspector Training, Heavy-Duty NGV Maintenance and Diagnostics Training, Light-Duty NGV Maintenance and Diagnostics Training, CNG Fueling Station Operation and Maintenance Training, CNG Fueling Station Design Training and CNG/LNG Codes and Standards Training for Fire Marshals and Code Officials.

 

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