Datamax 4te Printer and Qualcomm OmniTRACS Mobile Information System Refine Crude Oil Transportation

Posted December 14, 2010

Genesis EnergyEvery day, millions of people drive into gas stations to refuel their cars without giving a thought to the process of how that fuel gets there when they need it. Genesis Crude Oil plays a central role in transporting fuel to gas stations in the Gulf Coast region of the Unites States, which encompasses the states of Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.

Genesis Crude Oil is a division of Houston-based Genesis Energy, a growth-oriented company with a diverse portfolio of customers, operations, and assets, including refinery-related plants, pipelines, storage tanks, and terminals The primary function of Genesis Crude Oil is moving crude oil, via trucks, from pumping stations to strategically located storage facilities, where the product is held until it’s time to move it to a refinery.

To make sure its deliveries always flow smoothly, Genesis Crude Oil equipped its fleet of trucks with the OmniTRACS® Mobile Information System from Qualcomm Enterprise Services. This system allows Genesis dispatchers to maintain contact with all drivers at all times. “We can use the OmniTRACS® System to send messages to drivers in places that cell phones don’t reach,” says Terry Lincecum, Louisiana district manager for Genesis Crude Oil.

The system, which relies on satellite technology, also sends data about conditions on the truck—such as its current location or the temperature and weight of the product being carried—back to regional headquarters. “If there’s a problem with one of our trucks after it leaves the pick-up location, we can find out about it before the driver reports it,” Lincecum says. That’s an important capability, because drivers are picking up crude oil from pumping stations in remote areas, and having to wait for drivers to be in cell phone range to learn about problems could delay finding solutions.


About a year ago, as the Louisiana region was adding new trucks to its fleet, Lincecum discovered a way to make the OmniTRACS® System even more valuable: he upgraded the printers they use with the system. Genesis Crude Oil drivers rely on wireless mobile printers to generate receipts confirming the contents of the loads they pick up from each customer. The driver also keeps a copy of the receipt to use as a manifest if a Department of Transportation inspector asks for documentation of the truck’s contents.

The information on that receipt also is transmitted, via the OmniTRACS® System, to Genesis Crude Oil headquarters, facilitating accurate recordkeeping. “As we were adding the new trucks, we realized that the printers we were using were becoming obsolete,” Lincecum recalls. One clue to this obsolescence was the increased frequency with which those printers were being repaired. After reviewing the costs of those ongoing repairs, Lincecum thought it was time to consider replacing them.


Genesis Crude Oil selected the Datamax microFlash 4te wireless portable thermal transfer printer. The 4te is the latest version of Datamax-O’Neil’s legendary 4t printer, the industry’s leading portable thermal printer and the defacto standard for route accounting and field mobile printing applications.

To accommodate the need for faster transaction processing in the fast-paced world of mobile field applications, the 4te printer incorporates a new, 32-bit RISC ARM 9 processor that allows the printer to process complex applications up to ten times faster, and enables the user to enjoy exceptionally high print throughput. It can print up to 2,240, 6-inch receipts on a single battery charge with automated, power-saving sleep and wake-up modes.

That printing capability was a selling point for Genesis Crude Oil, which was getting complaints from drivers about having to replace the paper in the older printers too often. But the most attractive feature of the 4te, according to Lincecum, was the newly developed kit for pairing the printer with the Qualcomm OmniTRACS® System. The kit made the transition to the new printer seamless. “Our drivers and customers really like these new printers,” Lincecum says. “The drivers like them because they don’t have to change the paper as often; that improves their efficiency. Customers like them because the print quality is much better. The receipts are much easier to read.”


Lincecum says Genesis Crude Oil is pleased that the 4te is continuing the Datamax-O’Neil tradition for product reliability. After six years in the field, fewer than 10 percent of the units have ever been in a repair facility, even though they operate in harsh industrial environments.

“We don’t have nearly as much downtime now,” Lincecum says. “With our previous printers, when one went down, the driver would have to locate another truck nearby and wait for that driver to show up to print a receipt for the customer. We haven’t had those issues with the Datamax-O’Neil printers.”

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