Babcock provides total fuel lockdown on every new DAF truck

Babcock provides total fuel lockdown on every new DAF truck

Fuel theft is a serious concern for every South African fleet operator. To provide its customers with maximum anti-fuel theft protection, Babcock became the first truck supplier in South Africa in 2019 to standardise TankSafe Optimum – the only fuel security device that offers protection against all forms of fuel theft, overfilling and spilling.

In an environment where diesel prices have risen by a whopping 80% in the past 10 years and more than doubled in the past four years, every drop counts for fleet owners. For transport operators, fuel accounts for the largest operating expense, representing up to 60% of total operating costs of a vehicle, yet fleet owners have to contend with the growing scourge of fuel theft.

It is therefore important for transport operators to ensure maximum fuel security on their vehicles to guard against fuel theft. With that in mind, Babcock has been offering TankSafe Optimum – the award-winning UK-made fuel security device that provides 100% protection from fuel theft in the form of siphoning and skimming. In fact, the device offers three-in-one protection – stopping fuel spills, overfilling and theft.

“One of our clients made us aware of the challenges with generic anti-siphoning units, particularly the ability to skim fuel from the top of the tank,” explains Marius Barnard, MD of Babcock’s Transport Solutions business. “Once we tested the TankSafe Optimum device, we found that it was the only product in the market that could guarantee total fuel tank security. Babcock is therefore proud to be the first OEM in South Africa to fit these devices on all new vehicles.”

On the back of the successes of the TankSafe Optimum device, Babcock now offers the full TankSafe offering as standard, which includes the SenderSafe and DrainSafe, to protect all secondary access points on a fuel tank to ensure a total fuel lockdown on every DAF vehicle. SenderSafe prevents tampering or removal of the fuel sender and pipes, while DrainSafe prevents unauthorised draining of the fuel tank. The anti-tamper banjo bolt replaces the original drain plug/block off and requires a special security tool to unscrew the bolt. 

“Our pre-delivery workshop has been fitting the TankSafe Optimum and DrainSafe products as stock-standard fitments on all vehicles since August 2019. We have also recently begun fitting HoseSafe kits as stock-standard on all new DAF vehicles. The primary reason for this decision is that we identified the importance of providing maximum anti-fuel theft protection for our customers, who acknowledge and appreciate the cost-benefit,” explains Dean Temlett, GM – Technical Services. Furthermore, it reduces the risk of fuel consumption disputes between the OEM and customers.

Ken Bailey, MD of TankSafe South Africa, commends Babcock for realising that not all anti-siphons were created equal, and for opting for TankSafe to stop fuel loses from theft and overfilling. Fuel theft, he adds, has evolved and where one point is secured, others access points are found. These are called secondary access points such as tampering with the fuel level sensor, hoses and drainplugs.

“I have been in the automotive industry for the past 30 years, initially in the fleet management/telematics business. We would all agree that the technology has been key to changing driver behaviour and driving efficiencies for customers. Coupled with that has been the great technological advances by OEMs to reduce fuel consumption in their offerings,” says Bailey.

Despite these improvements in technology, customers are still not realising the projected return on investment. While telematics data shows that fuel efficiency in vehicles is improving, many customers still do not see any significant change in their fuel spend. The only explanation, he says, is fuel siphoning. The general theory around the world is that 99% of fuel theft is through skimming.

“This doesn’t mean emptying a 400-litre tank of fuel in one go, but taking, for example, some 20 litres after every refill. Skimming often goes undetected because one can claim various reasons such as traffic and strong head winds for the excess 20 litres of fuel,” explains Bailey.

Over the years, adds Bailey, various anti-siphoning devices have come to the market to curb the scourge of fuel theft, but none has provided full protection. TankSafe Optimum addresses the problem through its unique float-valve which allows fuel to flow into the tank during the filling process and then ‘locks’ the tank once filling is complete.

“The pressure of the flowing fuel pushes the float ball down while it enters. However, when filling is complete, the float ball rises up to lock off the tank. In this way, no fuel can be siphoned, not even the top few centimetres. The float-valve lock process also prevents overfilling and spills, which alleviates a lot of health and safety as well as environmental concerns,” says Bailey.

While TankSafe Optimum comes at double the price of some of the traditional anti-siphoning devices (at a retail price of about R10 000 for the full lockdown kit on two tanks), the return on investment is unmatched. “If, for example, one siphons out some 25 litres after every tank fill, it means that some 50 litres is stolen every week if the truck refills twice a week. If a truck loses about 50 litres of fuel per week, that translates into more than 2 500 litres per truck per year,” he says.

Putting a R24 average rand value to every litre, this means that the fleet owner could be losing in excess of R60 000 per truck per year. These numbers are staggering for transport operators running big fleets. A fleet owner with say 10 trucks in his fleet would be losing over R600 000 per year across the whole fleet.

In conclusion, Babcock is proud that DAF is the first truck OEM in South Africa to offer a fit-for-purpose solution that locks down the entire tank, ensuring customers receive the best possible fuel consumption.

“Our customers are extremely happy that we now fit this as standard to all new vehicles going into the market. Collaborating with TankSafe South Africa aligns well with Babcock International’s purpose to create a safe and secure world together. This is absolutely the best investment every fleet owner can make,” concludes Barnard.


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