Supporting refuelling with equipment small and large

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Titan Aviation is a specialist in aircraft refuelling, though it has many strings to its bow. On its stand at inter airport Europe was a hydrant dispenser vehicle with ‘zero emissions’ technology, but it also offers several refuelling vehicles and all sorts of support equipment and systems

Laurent Pourprix, general manager at Titan Aviation, talked to Airside at inter airport about just some of the vehicles and systems the company offers to the airport refuelling segment. Aircraft refuellers (rigid and semi-trailer), high flow rate hydrant dispensers and fuelling carts are available alongside equipment such as hydrant pit cleaners, as well as various software products designed to make the jobs of airport refuellers as easy and safe as possible. Fuelling infrastructure-related equipment also forms an important part of the Titan Aviation portfolio, including mobile and fixed fuel farm systems, fuel tanks and bladders.

​Meanwhile, sister company Titan Aviation Services provides specialist service support and training to customers, while various subsidiaries and joint ventures have been created to support regional markets – such as subsidiary Titan Algérie which is dedicated to this important North African market and Titan Antony, a joint venture between Titan Aviation France and Antony Motors India, which designs and manufactures equipment for the Asian market.

​Currently, about 80% of the company’s product is destined for export markets. Specialist product lines are dedicated to the civilian and military markets, whose differing needs are equally well served by Titan Aviation. In the former segment, customers include such big names as Air BP, Total and Shell, Pourprix confirmed.

The vehicle on the stand, which formed part of the large French Pavilion at inter airport, was a hydrant dispenser vehicle. The standard version of the unit can be customised according to particular client requirements, Pourprix explained, with Titan Aviation enjoying the services of its own design department (Titan also has two assembly plants to bring together the various components of its products, one near Lyon and one in Aix-en-Provence).

One particularly welcome feature for users of vehicles such as Titan’s hydrant dispenser is what the company describes as ‘Emission Zero [EZ] engine-off refuelling’ – ie, the vehicle’s engine need not be turned on during the potentially long process of refuelling. Available for hydrant dispensers, the energy required for the refuelling process is provided by a separate turbine, additional batteries or by a simple start & stop system, negating the need to draw power from the vehicle’s own engine. The EZ Fuelling system enables significant fuel savings, chassis maintenance savings, a reduction in unwanted chemical emissions and less noise during refuelling.

Also available for viewing on the stand was a new refuelling management system developed in collaboration with fellow French concern X-OPS. The software, which benefits from real-time geolocation/geofencing and the secure transmission of information, allows users to optimise the value of their refuelling vehicle fleets, with relevant tasking orders or information being sent direct to a vehicle’s cab and all pertinent performance data being both collected and recorded for management planning and oversight of operations, and hence the optimal utilisation of fuelling resources.

​The on-airport refuelling sector is a competitive market, Pourprix observed. While the total number of suppliers might be small compared to some other aviation-related markets, the competition is intense and growing – especially from new entrants based in the Far East, he noted. Nevertheless, Titan Aviation is selling more than 100 fuel dispensers/refuelling vehicles a year, he estimated, alongside all its supporting equipment and services.

​The business is also changing, the most obvious example being in terms of the greater levels of digitisation of technologies, Pourprix asserted. But that creates challenges – vehicle systems might have to be radically overhauled as a result, as well as the interface in the cabs. Nevertheless, digitisation offers a wealth of benefits, not least in terms of the greater safety measures that can be built into what is often the fairly complex and certainly always potentially dangerous task of on-airport refuelling.

Titan Aviation is placing itself at the forefront of those changes with its new form of a refuelling control panel, the EZ Control interface, a refuelling human-machine interface assistant, recently launched at inter airport, he concluded.