One of the fastest growth areas for SkyBitz, a provider of satellite and cellular-based technology that tracks mobile assets such as truck trailers and intermodal containers, is “frac tanks,” General Manager Henry Popplewell told American Shipper
at the National Industrial Transportation League and Intermodal Association of North America joint expo in Anaheim, Calif., where SkyBitz was an exhibitor.
Frac tanks are 40 and 53-foot vessels — they look like an intermodal container — in which contaminated water from the rock-splitting process is stored until connected to a tractor for transport to a disposal site. Energy companies use SkyBitz’s Global Location Service to keep better tabs on their assets in very remote regions where cellular communications networks are unavailable. Users can set up a virtual fence and receive electronic alerts if the frac tank is moved outside a predefined perimeter. Customers are also attracted to the SkyBitz device because it is certified not to spark — an important consideration given the flammable contents of the tanks, Popplewell said.
One of SkyBitz’s claims to fame is the long-lasting batteries on its tracking devices, which makes them ideally suited for trailers and other equipment that sit for long periods untethered to a truck power unit and minimizes the need for maintenance in areas where repairmen are few and far between.
Popplewell said interest is beginning to emerge for integrating sensors that read the tank’s fluid level to wireless technology and report the status along with location information.