The profitability of your machinery depends on a wide variety of factors. These include the quality of your fuel, frequency of maintenance and the operational capacity of your staff among others. In this article, we focus on the effect of fuel quality on the performance of your machinery.
What is Fuel Quality Testing?
There are two main ways to test the quality of your fuel in Australia. High-level distributors send samples to the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA). These samples undergo comprehensive tests including distillation, titration, X-ray fluorescence and others.
Yet, end consumers only need to perform periodic tests to check for contaminants like water, bacteria and inorganic debris. These are the main impurities that can contaminate your fuel after it has been supplied. They mostly form due to long term storage or the use of worn-out pipes and tanks.
Why is Fuel Quality Testing Necessary?
To remain competitive yet offer affordable prices, you need to minimize your operational costs. Using high-quality fuel is one of the best ways to maintain the long-term performance and life span of your machinery. Below are a few reasons why you should regularly verify the quality of your fuel.
Maximize Power Output
Impurities can prevent your fuel from burning efficiently. This limits the power output of your machinery and slows down your productivity. It can also increase your fuel consumption and drive down your profits.
Minimize Damage And Maintenance Costs
Contaminated fuel can damage the components of your engine and fuel system. Delicate components such as fuel injectors can get clogged by impurities and fail. The impurities can also cause abrasion and increase the rate of wear of your engine components. This leads to the early replacement of expensive engine components.
Compliance to Regulations
In Australia, all fuel distributors must comply with the Fuel Quality Standards Regulations of 2019. Inspectors regularly collect fuel samples from the distributors for testing by the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA). Those who don’t comply face hefty penalties or criminal charges.
How to Perform Self Fuel Quality Tests
Interfil’s fuel quality tests can help in the early identification of contaminated fuel. Below are two products that interfil provides to help detect the presence of water or bacteria in your fuel.
Water is the most common fuel contaminant. Interfil’s solution involves using a probe to pass an electric current through the fuel.
The probe is made of stainless steel and has 1/8-inch NPT brass threads attached to it. If water is present, an indicator on the sensor will light up. The probe is self-grounded for your safety.
Dip Slide Test
The Dip Slide Fuel test is ideal when checking for organic matter in the fuel. It can detect the presence of a wide variety of fungi, bacteria and mould in any fuel.
The test slides are stored in individual tubes. Each slide has a white side to detect bacteria and an off-white side for mould.
Take a fuel sample from your fuel filter and dip the slide in it for 15 seconds. Take out the slide and shake-off the excess fuel before putting it back in its tube. Store the tube with its slide in a dark place and check it after 24, 36 and 48 hours.
Bacteria will begin showing spots on the slide between 24 and 36 hours while the presence of mould will be visible between 36 and 48 hours. Touching the slide with your hands will interfere with your results.
Fuel contamination can happen at any point from the refinery to your engine. This is why you should regularly check the quality of your fuel.