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K-State Today

November 4, 2011

On the right track: Advanced Manufacturing Institute helps with new locomotive fueling system that's safer, faster

Submitted by Communications and Marketing

It's all aboard for a new high flow locomotive fueling system on the market courtesy of the Advanced Manufacturing Institute at Kansas State University and MPL Technology Inc., a Kenmore, Wash.-based company.

The SpillX system utilizes dry-break connections and a tank overfill protection device to help fuel locomotives faster and safer.

MPL Technology, a company that markets solid lubricants to railroads, approached the Advanced Manufacturing Institute for help with developing SpillX. The institute provided engineering assistance with the product design, including modeling, prototyping and testing. The institute also helped with the business development, strategy for commercialization and product marketing for SpillX.

"The rail industry is demanding of its equipment and there is no tolerance for second-rate products," said Matt Molz, product design engineer at the Advanced Manufacturing Institute. "We focused on keeping the system simple, safe and reliable, and what resulted was a robust system that works well. While the system is simple, it took a lot of thinking outside of the box and listening when it came to our client's needs. Along the way, we learned many things, both about the product and about some of the challenges in the rail industry."

The SpillX system installs easily into locomotives in a matter of minutes and enables significantly higher fueling rates -- up to 600 gallons per minute. The overfill protection mechanism reduces the environmental risk of spilled fuel. The new system differs from others in that it allows higher fueling rates, yet it requires no special electronic sensors to be installed on the locomotive and no special controller is necessary on the platform.

The SpillX system was introduced at the September Railway Supply Institute trade show in Minneapolis, Minn. During a live demonstration of the product a locomotive was refueled approximately 50 times at 600 gallons per minute without spillage.

More information about SpillX is available at http://www.spillx.com.

The Advanced Manufacturing Institute is a part of the Kansas State University College of Engineering, a Kansas Department of Commerce Center of Excellence and an Economic Development Administration University Center that provides engineering and business services. More information about the institute is available online at http://www.amisuccess.com.