Beware of the diesel in your tank

Hire SA Magazine, January 2012

“I would strongly recommend that plant owners do something about monitoring and maintaining the quality of the diesel in their equipment.” – Harold Wright, Service Manager


Poor diesel fuel quality has dramatic costly consequences on today’s modern diesel engines. Southern Africa’s track record when it comes to diesel quality leaves a lot to be desired despite legislation and pressure from environmental groups.

This spells bad news for diesel engines and event worse for plant hire companies whose customers are not known for discretion when refueling. Plant hire companies are generally at highest risk as they have no control of fuel going into their equipment.

A leading cause of dirty diesel is contaminated diesel tanks. Once contaminants accumulate in a fuel tank, it will continue to affect any fuel that passes through it. In the past, tank cleaning was a generally neglected maintenance item that was only attended to in extreme circumstances due to the cost, waste factor and downtime that accompanied this procedure.

Thankfully, this is now a think of the past with the introduction of a new specialized tank cleaning service that has been introduced without any of the negatives that conventional procedures involved. The service extends and enhances the range of existing Algae-X Mobile Tank Cleaning systems which have earned their place as the leading technology in this specialized field over the last 9 years in the harsh Southern African environment.

Harold Wright, Service Manager for Hitachi in KwaZulu-Natal who makes use of this service says that it is a far more cost effective and efficient process, as the tank does not have to be removed or cut open and the fuel in the tank therein does notneed to be disposed of. He adds that despite the advanced fuel filtration systems on their equipment, they were not designed to run on the high volumes of contaminants sometimes found in the tanks.

“I would strongly recommend that plant owners do something about monitoring and maintaining the quality of the diesel in their equipment,” says Wright.

The MD of CFT, SA’s authorized Algae-X distributor, Ron Mattig says that the process does not only involve the extraction of water and debris, but also adds vital requirements of comprehensive fuel and environment remediation. Refuelling practices on sites are often not up to standard resulting in contaminated fuel ending up in tanks.

The benefits of being able to perform this service on site and getting the equipment up and running again in less than an hour is a huge step forward. A lot of companies are now including this as part of their routine maintenance schedule.

“We have seen some mind boggling contaminants in diesel tanks as well as a high percentage of water. These are all removed through the decontamination process.”

David Mthetwa of Competition Construction has found this new service to be highly beneficial after experiencing a host of problems that were traced back to the fuel. “I could not believe how much debris I was finding in my equipment tanks,” said Mthetwa. Mattig made the following analogy: as with people wo require clean, contaminant free water to survive, diesel engines require clean diesel to perform as their manufacturers designed them to.

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