Illinois Tool Works Direct Fuel System (DFS) is a refueling system for vehicles that eliminates the need for gas caps. The user simply opens the vehicle fuel door, inserts the gasoline pump nozzle and the DFS system takes over. It guides the nozzle into the fuel pipe, sealing the system, keeping contaminants out, while eliminating vapor escape and the potential for a thermal event (fire).
The system features a rotating ball and shutter system, to guide the nozzle into the assembly, which consists of a filler pipe connector, primary fuel shut-off, as well as the surface interface. The sealed system assures a secure connection and closing without the customer having to twist a gas cap back on properly. This eliminates the “check engine light” associated with an improperly seated gas cap, which often causes sensing of a fuel leak. This reduces frequent but needless service requirements and warranty costs.
The customer convenience factors are very significant, as well. The DFS system would enable a much easier operation for people who may have physical difficulties that make fueling difficult, or may simply not like handling gas caps. In addition, there are no more caps to lose, broken nails or soiled hands. Having a cleaner and safer vehicle, of course, is of the utmost importance, and there is a guaranteed reduction in VOC emission.
The innovation originated at ITW, located in Glenview, Illinois. The DFS is now in production and featured on the Ford GT. It is a popular attraction on various auto show concept vehicles and SEMA displays. It will have a significant impact on the fuel systems market, having the potential to eliminate gas caps altogether, and even fuel doors in the future.