Gilbarco Pumping Gas, New Technology

Industry Leader in Gas Dispensers Utilizes Technological Innovation

Matthew Schuessler with a state-of-the-art Gilbarco pump.

The time is not too far off when you'll be able to pay for your gas at the local service station simply by waving your keychain in front of the pump. Then, using the LCD touch screen on the pump, you'll order a quick bite to eat and pick it up on your way out of the station. In fact, at some gas stations, it's already possible.

"Like everything else, it's becoming more and more automated to satisfy the consumer," says Matthew Schuessler, western regional training specialist for Gilbarco, Inc., the world's largest manufacturer of gas dispensers.

"Working with Texas Instruments, we now have wireless transponders, kind of like a chip on your key chain with your credit card information, and you just wave the keychain in front of the pump. It authorizes the pump and sends the informa tion directly to your account."

With about 60 percent of the world market share as a manufacturer and a history going back to 1865, Gilbarco has been setting trends for quite a while. "We have some test sites in Sacramento that use robots to fuel cars automatically," says Schuessler. Pumps are also being tested that use video conferencing technology to allow customers to communicate to the attendant through video screens mounted in the pumps.

The company also creates point-of-sale computer systems used in conjunction with their operation.

Training and Sales

Gilbarco's Hacienda location is home to their regional sales office and is also one of their four training centers in the U.S.

"The basic purpose of the training center is to provide a hands-on environment to train electronic technicians that we contract with for warranty administration," says Schuessler. "I get guys for two weeks at a time, generally, and we teach them everything from installation to operation and troubleshooting."

The training, Schuessler says, is "no picnic." "With the advance in technology, we have had to ramp up the skill set of the people coming to us." That fact is apparent when he opens a pump to reveal three times as many circuit boards than are found in a typical personal computer.

Gilbarco, which is owned by the English corporation General Electric Company, p.l.c., employs over 3,000 people worldwide.

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