In today’s economy, getting leaner and greener is not just part of your future goals—it’s what leading companies have to implement in order to stay competitive. That is exactly what has happened in the upper Midwest where the combined efforts of CHS, Inc., Blackmer®, Westmor Industries, LLC, and Trans-Tech Industries, Inc., have resulted in the creation of a refined-fuel delivery truck that benefits not only their own operations, but also those of their end-user customers, as well as the environment.
CHS, headquartered in Inver Grove Heights, Minn., is a diversified energy, grains and foods company owned by farmers, ranchers and cooperatives across the U.S. The Fortune 200 company also operates petroleum refineries and pipelines, and manufactures, markets and distributes the Cenex® brand of refined fuels, lubricants, propane and renewable-energy products.
With its delivery fleet of 42 trucks operating in nine states, CHS had been looking for a new, more efficient way to supply the Cenex gasoline and diesel fuel. This unique program features upward of 17,000 gasoline and diesel storage tanks that are located throughout the Midwest. End-users with Cenex accounts are allowed access to these tanks when they need fuel for their operations. The tank’s product level is monitored remotely by CHS and is refilled when the tank level is reduced to a predetermined point.
The program’s original delivery plan called for picking up fuel at a refinery or terminal pipeline location, storing it at an intermediate bulk-storage site and then dispatching trucks from there when the fuel deliveries were needed. Realizing the inefficiencies in this type of operation, CHS began the search for a better, more efficient way to complete this delivery process.
The hub of the new delivery program would be the rolling stock, namely a new series of 7,000-gallon, four-compartment straight tank trucks featuring bottom-loading, dual meters and a dual pumping system for gasoline and diesel, trucks that would be colloquially called “Big Boys.”
“In 2006, we started looking for a new configuration for our trucks,” said Doug Frasier, manager of refined fuels distribution for CHS. “We had always had big trucks and made direct terminal to end-user deliveries, but we wanted to find a new configuration since the excessive maintenance and expense of running them were killing us.”
CHS turned to Westmor Industries, LLC, Morris, Minn., a leading designer, manufacturer, distributor, installer and service provider of parts and equipment in the petroleum, LPG, aviation and liquid-handling industries. Working in conjunction with Trans-Tech Industries, Inc., Brewer, Maine, a leading manufacturer and supplier of truck tanks for use in the petroleum-delivery industry, Westmor presented CHS with the Big Boy design.
“We felt we could improve on what CHS had previously purchased,” said Steve Loge, regional sales manager for Westmor Industries. “With the help of Trans-Tech, we sat down with CHS and said we could really provide them with a better solution.”
CHS immediately ordered three of the units, and they have performed so well, soon a dozen of the Big Boy trucks will have the Cenex logo. In addition, CHS is also concerned with making its operations, including its truck fleet, more environmentally friendly.
“These trucks allow us to deliver directly from a supply terminal pipeline straight to an end-user tank,” said Frasier, “so these tanks help us reduce our carbon footprint, while they also dramatically reduce the chances for product spills since there are less steps in the delivery process, and, finally, we’re also using less fuel to deliver the fuel.”
For the new trucks to meet all of the needs of CHS—operationally, environmentally and in terms of increased efficiency—they would need the best components.
“We’ve been buying Blackmer® pumps for a while now, going back to 2006,” said Ben Renberg, CHS’ refined fuels distribution (RFD) maintenance administrator. “We’ve found that they’re very reliable high-speed pumps.”
Specifically, the Big Boy trucks feature a pair of Blackmer 2.5-inch TXD Series Sliding Vane Pumps, one on the gasoline side of the tank and one on the diesel side. The TXD pumps are ideal for the CHS operation because they have been designed to handle clean liquids for petroleum products. The TXDs feature Blackmer’s unique sliding-vane pump design that self adjusts for wear and to maintain required flow rates, while the vanes can be replaced without having to remove the pump from the truck. The CHS trucks also feature Blackmer’s T-type Strainer, which protects the pump from damage that can be caused by foreign matter.
“Paramount for us is daily operation and service reliability; if we don’t have service reliability, we can’t go out day to day,” said Renberg. “Being able to have a reliable pump is key to continuing operations for us.”
In today’s tough economy improving the way companies operate and provide services to their customers is paramount. By working together with its key suppliers—Westmor, Blackmer and Trans-Tech—CHS has provided reliable delivery, cost savings and a cleaner environment to its customers thanks to its new fuel-delivery fleet.
Bill Holmes is the regional director of energy & transfer for Pump Solutions Group (PSG™), part of Dover Corporation. PSG is comprised of six leading pump companies—Wilden®, Blackmer®, Griswold™, Neptune™, Almatec® and Mouvex®. Mr. Holmes can be reached at (847) 726-7565 or Bill.Holmes@pumpsg.com.