Anova, Silicon Controls Merge to Further Innovation in Logistics and Consumer Engagement

New Providence, NJ (November 20, 2019) — Anova announced today that it has merged with Silicon Controls, provider of the Gaslog solution and a key player in the global LPG & propane industry. This merger is motivated by a shared approach to customer engagement, innovation and global engineering capabilities in tank telemetry, telecommunications, cloud applications and mobile platforms. The combined capabilities uniquely position Anova to help its customer base transform logistics and redefine consumer services, ultimately driving greater profitability for propane distribution. This accelerates Anova’s strategy of connecting the industrial world ‘for the better’.
Anova and Silicon Controls Merge to Further LPG Innovation in Logistics and Consumer Engagement reports BPN propane industry's most trusted source for news since 1939.
With over 25 years of proven experience providing end-to-end solutions in remote telemetry, Silicon Controls has leading positions with customers in North America, Europe and Australia. "With a reputation for taking a consultative partnership approach to logistics transformation, we have secured a strong market presence and installed base," said Mike Neuman, CEO of Silicon Controls. “Silicon has done extensive work over many years in the propane industry, helping customers decrease the number of trucks on the road by improving delivery efficiency."

"Collectively, we are reducing winter overtime, minimizing miles per stop, improving safety and productivity, and addressing the growing decarbonization conundrum. We're stronger together - and that is the immediate value our customers will feel," said Robert Battye, Silicon Controls’ VP North America.

This partnership will allow Anova to play an even more significant role in supporting the LPG and propane industry across the globe. Most notably, Anova will increase its presence, and the availability of industrial IoT in Europe, offer relevant business models to an expanding Asian and South American market, and support the rapidly growing use of technology across North America. In response to customers demanding more reliable technology solutions to improve supply chain strategies and operational efficiencies, Anova continues to invest in R&D and is strengthening its industry engagement. This merger is further proof of its customer-first mentality - listening and responding to market needs and what keeps customers up at night.

"Our customers need a dependable partner that is heavily invested in developing next-generation technology solutions that will not only provide the lowest total cost of ownership, but, quite simply, make their lives easier," said Chet Reshamwala, CEO of Anova. "The new Anova team has over 90 years of LPG & propane experience and intends to build on that, ensuring our customers have access to the best technology, equipment, partners and people to support our customers’ needs."

Independently, Anova and Silicon have moved the needle on delivery and truck efficiency for 1,200+ distributors around the globe.

About Anova Anova is a leading global provider of Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) solutions to remotely monitor and manage industrial assets. Drawing on more than 30 years of experience, the company provides wireless hardware and cloud-based analytics to reduce operational costs, prevent stock-outs, and improve end-customer service and engagement. Anova incorporates the DataOnline, Wikon, WESROC and ISA brands, and has offices in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, plus a global network of representatives. With a growing network of cellular, satellite, and LPWAN devices in 70+ countries around the globe, Anova is connecting the industrial world - for better. Additional information can be found at www.anova.com.

About Silicon Controls
Silicon Controls, a global leader in tank monitoring, providing Gaslog equipment, applications and services aimed at helping gas suppliers reduce the cost of distribution and improve customer service. Silicon Controls operates internationally with commercial activities in Europe, North America and Australasia. Silicon Controls has a proven track record, earned over nearly three decades, in the design, installation and maintenance of systems that employ advanced hardware and software technologies. For more information about Silicon Controls, visit their website at www.siliconcontrols.com.

FERC Announces Alternative Dispute Resolution Process for Adverse Propane Situation In Midwest

(November 20, 2019) — The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) announced it will initiate an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process with pipeline companies, shippers and their representatives to explore actions FERC and industry can take to alleviate propane pipeline constraints in the Midwest.

FERC Announces Alternative Dispute Resolution Process for Adverse Propane Situation in the Midwest and CEO Deb Grooms Iowa Propane CEO meets with NPGA and FERC to discuss dispute reports BPN propane industry's trusted news source since 1939This action is the result of conversations with and letters from Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and several members of the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate expressing their concerns regarding reports of propane distribution and supply difficulties in the Midwest.
 
Additionally, yesterday FERC issued an order accepting a proposal by Enterprise TE Products Pipeline Company LLC in Docket No. IS20-66-000, providing emergency transportation service of propane to the Midwest region for a 30-day period.
 
“The Commission takes this issue seriously,” FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee said. “We have been actively engaging with stakeholders, and with Capitol Hill and the states, and receiving regular updates from pipeline companies. By bringing the pipelines and shippers to the table, we are building on these efforts and establishing a dialogue focused on exploring concrete solutions.”

Deb Grooms, CEO of the Iowa Propane Gas Association (IPGA) and representatives from the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) will be meeting today at FERC headquarters to begin discussions for the Alternative Dispute Resolution Process.

On November 15, Iowa Govenor Kim Reynolds signed a proclamation that temporarily allows vehicles that transport propane and anhydrous ammonia to be oversize and overweight. The late harvest and high demand for petroleum products throughout the Midwest have resulted in low supplies of propane as well as difficulty transporting adequate supplies of anhydrous ammonia for agricultural activities. The proclamation temporarily suspends provisions of Iowa Code §§ 321.463 (6) (a) and (b) and 321E.29 and Iowa Admin. Code chapter 761-511 pertaining to movement of oversize and overweight loads of propane and anhydrous ammonia. The proclamation is effective November 16, 2019, and will expire at midnight on December 15, 2019.

Gov. Reynolds has led the state response to the severe propane distribution and supply issues. On October 31st she signed a proclamation easing the hours of service regulations for propane transporters, and continues to be in contact with industry stakeholders and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to increase the amount of  propane in the pipelines to Iowa.

Truck Safety: Before, During, and After The Sale

(November 2019) — Amid the process of building, selling, and servicing propane trucks of all kinds, there is a group of professionals who dutifully go about their work every day to make sure the roads will be safe as thousands of propane trucks go out to take care of customers’ needs. “This past winter was rough and the people who keep everything rolling really need to be recognized,” said Tim Schweppe, general manager—propane division at Arrow Tank and Engineering (Cambridge, Minn.), “I will start with my better half (in the workplace), Kelly Schlickenmayer, our production manager, and his crew. He is the ‘absolute No. 1 premier’ production manager and a lifeline to so many people in the industry who have relied on him to carry out their day for the past 25-plus years.”
PROPANE TRUCK SAFETY:  what to know BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER THE SALE by bpn the propane industry's most trusted news source since 1939
“Kelly needs to balance our new production schedule for new bobtails, DOT/ASME documentation, requalification, forecast inventory, and, most importantly, conduct random repairs and field calls and help during the day,” Schweppe said. “This is an extremely tall order…I can only imagine he does this for his absolute passion and love for his work and the industry. He is a very essential ingredient to the industry—not just Arrow.”

“Safety starts with the employee, the hands-on people,” Schlickenmayer explained. “I can give the training and resources, but the knowledge and confidence the employee brings is what builds the value in a safe bobtail. Safety is a must and always a top priority in our industry.” For the customer, he believes knowledge is a must to ensure a bobtail is managed safely. “Knowing the standard operating procedures; testing the CTMV emergency shutdown system; meter creep testing; understanding the gauges and valves; inspecting the delivery hose for cuts or abrasions; and being aware of the area they work in are all critical to daily safety,” he said. “I haven’t seen many in our industry cut corners over my 25 years of experience…only some unauthorized shops and a few do-it-yourselfers.”
Propane Trucks have many safety components drivers need be aware of before during and after the sale reports BPN the propane industry most trusted news source since 1939
Schweppe also gave high marks to a new employee at Arrow Tank and Engineering, Nate Jacobsen, who serves as production manager for its new transport trailer business. “We started this division in January of this year,” Jacobsen said. “There is a lot of hands-on training for staff. New employees must learn what every valve does. They must know what is in every tank that comes into the facility and the associated safety concerns.” His memories of starting in a manufacturing plant, learning the ropes, and moving into management are as fresh as when he began his first job in 2007. “There is always a lot to do, but a mind-set of always following safety procedures is very important. In a given week, tasks include talking with customers, finding work, doing estimates, ordering parts, and training guys to build and fix the trucks.” In his first year, Jacobsen already has new customers in several states, including Texas, Oregon, Nebraska, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Georgia.
Here's what propane marketers need to know about lpg truck safety before during and after truck sale reports BPN propane industry most trusted news source since 1939
 














































Regarding safety precautions for drivers, Jacobsen recommends regular maintenance and not putting it off until tomorrow. “Tomorrow and next week never come. Cleaning a transport truck, washing the road salt and grime off equipment, is important and should be done regularly.”

At Bulk Truck and Transport Service Inc. (Hanover, Ind.), Jason Wilson, the company’s service manager, grew up in the retail propane business before getting into truck building. “One of the most important challenges is troubleshooting the pumping system with a customer over the phone and walking the customer through repairs in a safe manner,” Wilson said. “In the production process, we perform redundant check sheets in each department, and we also perform live tests to assure all components are installed per manufacturer’s recommendations and are functioning as designed.” Wilson suggests that customers familiarize themselves with requirements set forth by DOT in 49 CFR Part 180 and follow them monthly.

CEO John Hawkins of H&H Sales (Huntertown, Ind.) has nearly 50 years of industry experience specializing in crane service trucks, cylinder delivery trucks, and propane storage cabinets for forklift and 20-lb grill cylinders. “We do a complete walk-around with customers and go through the owner’s manual with them. We point out all PTO warning valves. Customers can always reach us by phone if necessary,” Hawkins said. “With cranes and tanks onboard, operators need to always be aware of how full the tank is and the radius of unobstructed area. Crane trucks should always be operated on a level surface. They need to be aware of electrical lines.” Another area of concern is transporting tanks and cylinders, according to Hawkins. “Securing the cylinders and tanks is very important. Running a strap is often necessary to secure them. The straps should be checked regularly for fraying, cuts, or abrasions.”

Other areas noted by Hawkins include inspecting for PTO leakage, watching speed based on the load being carried, checking every two months to make sure U-bolts are tight, and replacing lights that go out.

“Having heavily experienced, trained personnel…a mature, experienced staff is very key to our success,” said Steve Bloomstrand, who has been with Rocket Supply (Roberts, Ill.) for 25 years and is its sales and marketing manager. “For the customer, the daily inspection is extremely important. We feel a very high percentage of our customers take safety very seriously. Being familiar with the vehicle will help you notice when something has changed that ought to be looked at further. It’s important to be cognizant of anything out of the ordinary while performing the daily inspections and to pay attention during pumping to any irregularities in performance or sound.” Bloomstrand notes that many new features such as rear-vision cameras and improved LED lighting are helping to further enhance safety. “The industry is doing a good job,” he added.
LPG TRUCK SAFETY:  what drivers need to know BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER THE SALE by BPN the propane industry most trusted news source since 1939
“Conducting regular safety meetings and holding everyone accountable for safety are important steps to make sure it is always a priority,” said Jason Soulon, branch manager at Westmor (Shawnee, Kan.). He explained regular meetings include stretch exercises at the beginning of each shift, as well as discussions of safety and production concerns for that day. “We have a safety coordinator at each facility,” Soulon said. “It is a key function for at least one employee at each of our locations. Employees know that they can raise concerns at any time through our ‘care to share’ process. They can document any safety concern from something as small as an air hose having a bubble to making suggestions for improving an entire production process.”

“Protection and restraint from falls is very important in the truck building process,” Soulon said, noting the OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) requirements. “In designing a safe vehicle, weight scale and weight distribution analysis are important. When we order a chassis, we want to understand the jurisdiction the vehicle will operate in. As an example, New England weight laws are much different than those in the Midwest.” In addition, Soulon and his team take into account any safety features the customer wants, such as safety-interlock devices to prevent pull-aways at loading racks; camera systems for backing up, including 360 degree camera systems and obstacle detection systems; and roll stability systems. “Electronic stability control minimizes the risk of rollover and may someday be mandatory on tank vehicles.”

For customers, Soulon also stressed problems that regular inspections can help resolve. “Tank corrosion is a problem that can lead to more and more expensive repair costs if not resolved when first detected. The spread of corrosion to tank rails and tank rail pads can add $2000 or more to the cost of refurbishing a bobtail.” He also recommends washing the bobtail at least weekly, not only for better maintenance, but to maintain a good brand image.

Soulon noted a few pet peeves regarding how some drivers operate their bobtails. “Drivers sometimes leave the emergency shutoff in open position to save a step at every delivery. This can cause it to freeze in the open position and not allow the emergency shutoff device to function when it is needed. Another concern relates to the filling of cylinders from the bobtail. With bobtails typically able to fill tanks at 60 gallons per minute, it is best to fill cylinders using a bypass valve that can vary the flow rate, such as the Versa-Fill bypass valve from Marshall Excelsior. The sale of more and more cylinders is making this a bigger issue.” Soulon also encouraged the use of Ergoload decks, which are designed to make it easier to load bobtails. “It puts a lot less strain on the driver’s back. This makes a difference over time.” — Pat Thornton

First-Half Petroleum Product Exports Rise Year-Over-Year

(November 18, 2019) — In the first half of 2019, the U.S. exported 5.47 MMbbld of petroleum products, an increase of 19,000 bbld, or 0.3%, from the first half of 2018 and the slowest year-over-year growth rate for any half year in 13 years, reports the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
VLVC Cardiff Gas LPG Ship
Lower U.S. refinery runs in the first half of this year compared with the first half of last year, and slowing global economic growth that is limiting demand for petroleum products, likely contributed to fewer exports. In the first half of 2019, increased exports of propane and distillate offset decreased exports of all other petroleum products.

Distillate remained the top petroleum product export by volume in the first half of this year, averaging 1.3 MMbbld, an increase of 60,000 bbld, or 5%, compared to last year’s first half. Distillate has many uses, including in the transportation, manufacturing, agriculture, residential, and commercial sectors. Mexico is the top destination for U.S. distillate exports, receiving 290,000 bbld, or 22%, of total exports. Aside from Mexico, U.S. distillate exports go mainly to Central America and South America, including Brazil at 13%; Chile, 7%; and Peru, 5%. Exports also go to Europe, mostly to the Netherlands at 4%. The nation is also a transshipment country for some U.S.-sourced distillate volumes.

Propane was the second-largest U.S. petroleum product export in the first half of 2019, resulting in significant changes in both the destinations for U.S. exports and the amount of propane going to each destination as prices and markets adjusted. Even though Japan, Mexico, and South Korea remained the top three destinations, the volume going to Japan nearly doubled, from 188,000 bbld in the first half of 2018 to 334,000 bbld in the first half of 2019, an increase of 146,000 bbld, or 78%. Meanwhile,
U.S. propane exports to China fell from 74,000 bbld to 4000 bbld during the first half of this year.

Unlike the significant differences in U.S. propane exports between the first half of 2018 and the first half of 2019, U.S. motor gasoline exports were mostly stable. The U.S. exported 901,000 bbld in the first half of this year and more than 50% went to Mexico. Other U.S. motor gasoline exports go mostly to Central America and South America. Exports to Brazil increased 26,000 bbld, or 71%, when comparing the first halves of 2018 and 2019. Further, after sanctions were slapped on Venezuela in early 2019, U.S. exports of gasoline to that country fell from 30,000 bbld in the first half of 2018 to 8000 bbld in the first half of 2019, a 73% drop.

Residual fueloil exports declined the most when comparing the first half of 2019 and the first half of the previous year. They fell 74,000 bbld to average 258,000 bbld. In the 2018 first half, Singapore was the top destination for U.S. residual fuel exports, mostly to supply Singapore’s marine bunkering market. However, in the first half of 2019, trade press sources indicated that the city-state’s bunker market was preparing for new international regulations that limit the sulfur content of marine fuels by drawing down higher-sulfur residual inventories to make room for stocks that are lower in sulfur. As a result, U.S. exports of residual fueloil to Singapore dropped 68,000 bbld, or 80%, in the first half of 2019 compared to the first half of 2018.

Continued growth in petroleum product exports, albeit slower than in previous years, combined with increasing U.S. crude oil exports, will result in the U.S. becoming a total petroleum net exporter, EIA observes. EIA’s October 2019 Short-Term Energy Outlook forecasts this change will occur in the fourth quarter of this year.

November Is National Scholarship Month — NPGA Schlarship Fund Accepting Applications

(November 15, 2019) — November is National Scholarship Month, as established in 1998 by Scholarship America (formerly, Citizens' Scholarship Foundation of America). Each year, this annual designation encourages seniors (and some juniors, depending on the scholarship) to get organized and apply for as many scholarships as possible to help them pay for higher education.
national propane gas association scholarship applications open for 2020/2021 college technical school year reports bpn the propane industry's trusted source for news and info since 1939
The National Propane Gas Foundation (NPGF) Scholarship Fund is also now accepting applications for students who will be attending college or technical school in the 2020/21 academic year.

In 1993, a committed group of energized volunteers from within the propane industry, in conjunction with the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA), established a scholarship foundation. Its purpose is to foster educational opportunities for the children of National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) member companies by offering scholarships to colleges or vocational/technical/trade schools. The fund provides nonrenewable scholarships in the amounts of $1,000 and $2,000.

Continuing in the 2020/2021 academic year, NPGF is again offering $1,000 scholarships solely to applicants attending an accredited trade, technical or vocational school pursuing one of following propane-related occupations: Commercial Truck Driver, Electrician, Gas Fitter, HVAC Technician, Pipe Fitter or Plumber. Click here for details.

Scholarships are funded from Scholarship Fund endowments earmarked for that purpose and managed by the NPGF. The first scholarships were awarded in 1994.

The submission deadline is February 15, 2020. Successful applicants will be notified at the end of May.  For high school seniors, SAT or ACT test scores are required or an explanation of why no test was taken. Official transcripts are needed for all applications. This aid is for undergraduate study only. Applicants also submit with their parent’s approval, family financial information on the application.

If you have any questions, contact Lori Dec or 202-355-1328 or visit the NPGF Scholarship page.