Loadtec Zip-Load Integrated Meter Skid Atex Control System & Telescopic Top Loading Arm

The Loading Arm: An Evolution in Safety

This article has been reproduced from Tank Storage Magazine Feb/Mar 2017 issue.

The oil and gas industry is sometimes seen as something from the Jurassic age, much like the products it deals with, an industry where innovation and development lags behind the superfast digital age. Is this perception true? Alec Keeler, managing director of Loadtec Engineered Systems, begs to differ.
Loadtec Zip-Load Integrated Meter Skid Atex Control System & Telescopic Top Loading ArmInnovation and safety is its roots

The modern loading arm was invented in 1938 when Bob Wheaton and John Savage built an articulated pipe system to replace a canvas hose and swivel joint arrangement for loading 1,000-gallon horse-drawn tanker barrels carrying hops in New Jersey, US.

Until this point, rubber hoses were the main method used for fluid loading and unloading on road tankers, rail tank cars and ships (marine loading arms were first made commercially available in the 1950s). By replacing hoses with loading arms, the safety and operational efficiency benefits were numerous:

  • Hoses have limited bend radius, can be catastrophically damaged through poor handling; are an environmental spill waiting to happen and more likely to become a major manual handling incident
  • Loading arms are balanced throughout their movement envelope; are designed not to hit the ground – protecting the valves and couplers; carry a (negotiable) five-year warranty; allow a one-man operation; can be moved into position with ease and left hanging in the air while the operator prepares the tanker connection; are parked neatly and can have various interlocks fitted to give warnings of arm condition or position.

The method of transferring fluids has changed surprisingly little since then. What has changed though is not only the security, reliability, durability and safety of the components used, but also the operation built around a loading arm to make the process of transferring fluid safer, faster and more efficient.

In the autumn of 2015, Loadtec was approached by an international pharmaceutical company in Ireland. They had no experience with liquid tanker loading, having previously only exported in bulk powder form. They required a turnkey solution.

All the client wanted to do was provide clean-dry instrument air, 110 volts and an inlet flange. They wanted Loadtec to manage everything else.

New challenges

In the early 2000s, Loadtec developed a design for waste solvent tanker loading using telescopic loading arms. These were provided extensively to the pharmaceutical industry and set new standards for safe, clean and efficient tanker loading of this volatile liquid.

However, the scope was limited to the loading arm with a telescopic drop pipe and the fall prevention systems which, by then, Loadtec had their credentials firmly established for having the widest portfolio on the market.

The most recent project set new challenges for the UK-based company that it believes has further evolved the concept and pushed the boundaries of ‘plug and play’ loading arm technology.

In this case, the client requested that the station should:

  • be designed to be the most compact size
  • all necessary components at easy working height for maintenance and cleaning
  • ATEX-approved custom control system to interface with the client’s DCS (distributed control system), provide pre-set batch volumes and totaliser along with permissives from a number of safety interlocks:
    • Interlock #1 – Loading arm not parked
    • Interlock #2 – Loading arm cone pressed down on manhole rim
    • Interlock #3 – Telescopic drop pipe touching tanker bottom
    • Interlock #4 – Vapour return line pressure below pre-set limit
    • Interlock #5 – High level probe is dry
    • Interlock #6 – Tanker is correctly earthed and verified
    • Interlock #7 – Dry line detection upstream of the control valve
    • Interlock #8 – Heating system at optimal temperature
Loadtec Zip-Load Rear View of Meter SkidListen, create and innovate

Rather than supply a separate meter skid to control the flow of the product into the tank, Loadtec employed a technique developed on a previous multi-position rail loading project in Saudi Arabia.

The metering and control components are all mounted on the loading arm standpost. This provides the customer with a neat solution which is shipped in two boxes to site and can be assembled in a few hours.

It further eliminates the need for site run spool pieces between the two packages and allows installation to take place in less than one day.

Loadtec Zip-Load Detail View on Control Valve Position IndicatorLoadtec also supplied a control system with batch controller which connected to the site PLC (programmable logic controller) providing assurance to the operators in the control room that all the loading conditions had been met before loading commences. Because the loading process would take a number of hours, the panel was designed to be fully automated but also readable by a security camera watched by a remote operator. The starting point was the platform, this included a large working area, double flight stairs to ground and a canopy over the working area.

This arrived at site from Loadtec’s UK facility in a semi-pre-assembled state. Site time involved bolting the sub-assemblies together and mounting on the foundations.

Next the folding stair, meter skid and top loading arm delivered from the Zip-Load factory in Italy.

These all arrived and were installed by the site team following the IKEA-type instructions provided. The final visit by a Loadtec Service commissioning engineer was to set up the system and ensure everything was working in line with the operating philosophy.

Inspirational technology

Uniqueness in this market is uncommon. Virtually all designs are an adaptation of a previous solution. In this case the design has been very much an evolution, created by a customer need that was listened to, developed and well presented as a solution.

While this solution was developed for the pharmaceutical industry, waste solvent is a chemical and this technology is something that can and should be easily adapted into the oil and gas market today.

The compactness of the design certainly had its own challenges and the Loadtec engineers utilised Solidworks systems to ensure that everything went together seamlessly. Once built, the system was fully tested in the client’s presence for flow and interlock viability at our test facility in the factory.

This meant that the unit could be tested at full flow, physically disrupt all the interlocks, both in turn and in combination, to witness the behaviour of the control system and valves. It also allowed for the simulation of real world issues that can arise during normal tanker loading.

For more information

This article was written by Alec Keeler, managing director of Loadtec Engineered Systems. info@loadtec.co.uk, +44 (0)1303 813030

Tank Storage Magazine The Loading Arm: An Evolution in Safety Page 86-87 Feb/Mar 2017 (PDF)

Loadtec Skid Load System - Single loading arm, pumping, metering and overfill protection, in container - UK

How Low Can You Go?

This article has been reproduced from Breakthrough Magazine Winter 2016 issue.

Alec Keeler is clearly the creative force behind Loadtec. He’s an ideas man with more than 30 years’ experience in the fluid transfer and fall prevention industry. He loves solving problems, even some that haven’t been encountered yet. We found out how he and the team at Loadtec delivered a solution to an extreme challenge.

One of the biggest challenges that Loadtec’s Managing Director, Alec, has had to tackle came when a prospective client approached them with a project that should have been relatively straightforward, but for one significant factor. Where it was to be installed the temperature regularly drops to -45 Celsius.

Inside Loadtec Skid Load System housed inside a shipping container - Newcastle, UKEstablished 20 years ago, Loadtec is a global provider of solutions for bulk fluid transfer and tanker fall prevention. Where liquids are made they are typically stored in large containers before being transferred, via ship, rail or tanker, for further processing. Loadtec provides the interface between the fixed storage and the transport solution. The broad principles of how this is achieved are similar across most projects, but individual applications vary, depending on the fluid properties, the environment, relevant legislation, toxicity and a range of other factors.

Loadtec is, in essence, a systems integrator. It brings together other manufacturer’s equipment in a carefully designed configuration to meet the requirements of the intended application. Each final solution is different, and the applications can range from simple to highly complex. Two years ago, the company was approached with a project that fell very much into the complex category!

The call came from an engineer working at a massive facility on a Russian island in the North Pacific whose purpose was to bring oil ashore. Diesel, required across the site to power vehicles and other equipment, was delivered in bulk, stored and then distributed as needed. The engineer was looking for a way to empty the diesel supply tankers and fill distribution vehicles. What was being loaded and unloaded needed to be measured accurately, and in absolute safety.

“Initially it sounded like a relatively straightforward application. But that was when he said there were extenuating circumstances,” Alec explained. “He said that in winter, at night, the temperature can drop to -45C.

“It was a huge challenge but was something I had been thinking about for a while, so an application coming along where we could test the theory was a fantastic opportunity.”

Loadtec’s first decision was to put everything into a huge box, and a shipping container presented the ideal solution. The container was super-insulated so it would be able to stand up to the extremes of temperature. Using a shipping container had other benefits. “It’s a standard format, so it was easy to pick up and put on a truck or to place on the deck of a ship to deliver it anywhere in the world,” Alec said.

While it helped with the temperature conundrum, the innovative approach created other challenges. The client had specified significant flow rates so the tankers could be emptied and filled quickly. That meant that space in the container would be tight.

Maintenance of the system was another consideration, so someone needed to be able to get into the container to ensure everything was functioning properly. But it also needed to be secure so unauthorised personnel could not get into it.

The answer was to split the container to create one area for the process plant with a separate area acting as a control room. It meant the tanker drivers could access the container safely and control the transfer. It seemed like a simple but effective solution until it was discovered that Russian regulations demanded an approved firewall between the two sections. It was also established that the planned insulation needed to be fire-tested and the firewall needed to be substantial. Loadtec could not just apply a paint layer or similar.

This was a significant development with knock-on implications and one that could have derailed the whole project.

As well as the fire performance of the insulation the team needed to consider how to pass cabling through the firewall. They had to invent an entirely new ducting solution. It took several weeks to develop a solution that met the requirements of the insulation supplier, to accommodate the cabling and to seal at both ends.

Once they were happy with their approach, another container had to be mocked up and sections of it sent to Texas, where tests were conducted to see how long it would take for a fire to penetrate the insulation and start to damage the box’s infrastructure.

It was a tense period in the project, but the design passed the tests and gained all the necessary approvals.

Of all the projects undertaken by Loadtec, this one had the most significant element of emerging criteria and new challenges.

As well as the fire resistance, the extreme temperature threw up a list of other challenges. The elastomer seals that are usually used would shatter at such low temperatures, so alternatives had to be found. Aluminium pipes had to be swapped for stainless steel. Then everything on the outside the container had to be heated by electrical tracing. There were even some areas where the Loadtec team went back to traditional methods. An example was the decision to use counterweights on the loading arm, rather than risking the failure of a more complicated modern solution in the extreme conditions.

It made the project interesting but had huge implications for the client, with the project cost finishing five times higher than initial estimates. With the design finalised, approvals were achieved and the fluid transfer system was built, then the project moved on to the installation stage. The low temperatures influenced this stage of the project, too. Timing was vital. The equipment left in January and arrived on site in May. Everything had to be assembled through June and July so testing could take place in August. If the installation had slipped into September, the installation teams would have encountered difficulties working outside.

The schedule was adhered to despite more challenges that could not have been foreseen. A local tanker driver, who always opened a ‘little valve’ to help his tanker empty more quickly, was a great example. The team had never seen this before.

So when they were trying to work out why air was getting into the system, it wasn’t immediately obvious. But once they realised what was causing it, some local training was introduced!

While Alec enjoyed the project, he also felt the company as a whole benefited from the experience.

“Technically we learnt a lot. Our management of projects of that scale improved during the job and subsequently we are better equipped to handle projects where we have a higher than normal level of innovation,” he concluded.

So it’s clear that extreme doesn’t cause a problem for Alec and the team at Loadtec: problems are considered opportunities to find creative solutions. As for their next big challenge, it hasn’t arrived yet. But I suspect Alec has the beginnings of the answer floating around in his head.

Breakthrough Magazine Winter 2016 Loadtec Article (PDF)

Loadtec Six Swivel Bottom Unloading Arm with Emergency Release Coupler - Limerick, Ireland

Fully Loaded

This article has been reproduced from Hazardous Cargo Magazine November 2016 issue.

Hcb November 16 with Loadtec on Cover
Tanker Loading • Alec Keeler, Managing Director of Loadtec Engineered Systems, asks whether anything has really changed in 20 years

Everything changes … or does it? Assumptions are made every day in business and one of those is that, as technology advances, our world becomes safer. Look at air travel: despite some well publicised recent incidents, air travel remains one of the safest form of transport, with the number of fatalities having been in constant decline since the mid-1990s. Aircraft today are bitter, better, more efficient and safer than ever.

Can the same be said about road tanker loading? There are risks associated with handling products and risks connected with using and repairing equipment. These risks existed 20 or 30 years ago and continue to exist today. Let’s take a quick look at what has not changed in the last 20 years:

  • tankers are still between 3.2 and 4.2 metres high
  • the condition of tankers fluctuates greatly
  • tanker walkways are widely variable and, occasionally, just not there
  • solvents are dangerous/flammable/toxic/environmental hazards
  • tanker driver competence is variable
  • concrete is very hard and humans are very soft
Loadtec Bottom Loading Arm with Pneumatic Folding Stairs and Safety Cage - Limerick, IrelandSO WHAT’S NEW?

In 1999 the UK Chemical Industries Association (CIA) issued a publication called Working on top of chemical tankers, which was last updated in 2012. This went on to form an important part of the Work at Height Regulations introduced in 2005. Section three of the publication states addressed key themes including accident prevention, hierarchy of control measures and ‘safety as an efficiency’.

Where working on top of tankers or tank containers is deemed necessary, the risks to consider will include falls from a height, access and egress, contact with product and exposure to fumes. To prevent falls from tankers, the following hierarchy of control measures needs to be considered:

  • eliminate the need to access tops of tankers
  • provision of a loading/unloading gantry
  • tanker design features such as ladders, walkways and collapsible handrails
  • use of portable ladders with platforms
  • installation of fall arrest systems.

This hierarchy tells the operator how to prioritise controls. What it says is that, if tank top access is unavoidable and no other fall prevention method is possible, then a fall arrest system must be put in place.

Fall prevention does just that: it prevents the fall from taking place. Fall arrest hopes to minimise the consequence of the fall that has already taken place. The harness and wire systems of fall arrest are totally reliant on the competence or willingness of the operator to fit the harness correctly. The consequences of not doing so can be very serious.

Loadtec Back-to-Back TCEN4 Tanker Access System with Top Loading Arms - Norfolk, UKSAFETY AS EFFICIENCY

Any director of a terminal or plant has the primary corporate aim of providing a safe and clean working environment for site employees and the public. That means using the best technology and working practices – and this is non-negotiable.

Safety is not about constraint. Done correctly, it provides a working environment where choice is restricted, but movement is not. The operator, faced with a repetitive task that involves manual input, will always try to find short cuts - ways of saving their precious time, reducing their inconvenience and generally making their lives easier.

Whether using top or bottom loading, and whether the product is hazardous or not, eventually an operator will be required to get onto a tanker for inspection or cleaning. So the question remains: how do you get an operator onto and off the tanker in complete safety?

Loadtec Engineered Systems was set up almost 20 years ago primarily to sell loading arms but, increasingly, the company is supplying total solutions that make a difference to the whole working environment.

The simple folding stairs with safety cage has been the go-to solution for as long as I have been in the industry (a very long time!). But with the tightening of legislation and the variation in tanker profiles and walkway configurations, a better and safer solution is required.

Cue the multi-modal: a vertically elevating platform that can be between 4 and 15 metres in length. It travels through a standard 1.5-m range (more if you want), with a built-in floor that is removable wherever access to the tanker top is needed, with the added benefit of being able to tilt to match the slope on a tanker top.

These systems have been sold successfully by Loadtec since 1996 all over the world. Multi-modals are utterly reliable and provide foolproof safety with ease of operation. They are manufactured to globally accepted standards and are used by virtually all blue chip pharmaceutical companies somewhere in the world. What is more interesting is they are relatively cheap considering the lifespan and advantages they bring.

A CASE IN POINT

Loadtec was approached by a multinational refiner to update an old loading shed at its facility on the south coast of England. The issue was that the infrastructure, built in the 1950s, was designed for truck stock that was a lot smaller. Now they were receiving 4.2-m ISO tankers and the existing access arrangements were no longer appropriate.

The client was interested in the multi-modal but were concerned that the amount of space available would not be sufficient. In actual fact, these units are generally speaking quite compact. Each one is custom designed to suit the particular application so for most applications, with thoughtful design, a multi-modal can be fitted in even the most awkward of spaces.

In this instance, because the platform was only 3.4 m high, Loadtec also designed and built a mini step-up platform to be installed on the existing platform. This allowed the access to the modal to be brought up to the 4 m recommended height, meaning that the folding stair was never at too acute an angle during use.

The client’s original plan was to re-use the existing fixed reach top loading arms. This is something that needs to be considered carefully when integrating old and new equipment. The working envelope of the loading arm needs to be empathetic with any new access equipment. Eventually in this case two new arms were provided, which were able to serve both sides of the access platform. This meant that even while the multi-modal was being installed, loading could continue as planned on the other side of the platform, using the legacy folding stair.

The new arms had a far greater range than those they replaced and were also manual telescopic arms. The previous arms had a 2.5-m long drop pipe to prevent splash loading; this made them unwieldy to move and difficult to park. The new telescopic arms did away with the need for such a long drop pipe and as such improved the ergonomics of the situation.

This example also illustrates the benefits of engaging a single provider for safety and liquid transfer solutions, where there is a crucial need to integrate loading and access equipment. The scope of a project can vary quite a lot from the start to its implementation and the equipment design needs to reflect that; any provider should be able to adjust the equipment accordingly without compromising on the safety aspect.

With well established manufacturing facilities for loading arms and access equipment in Europe and the US, Loadtec has safely delivered safe and efficient solutions to bulk liquid transfer and access systems globally.

HCB November 2016 Issue Pages 60-61 (PDF)

Loadtec Agent Distributor Conference in Bologna, Italy, July 2016

Investing in Safe Access and Loading Arms Best Practice

This article has been reproduced from Tank Storage Magazine August/September 2016 issue.

Loadtec Engineered Systems’ first distributor training event in Italy provided a comprehensive overview of the nuances of the safe access and loading arms industry.

Tank Storage Magazine was invited along to gain a greater understanding of the company’s operations.

Continued and long-term investment in education and industry best practice in safe access and fall prevention systems sits at the heart of Loadtec Engineered Systems’ business model.

The growth of the company in the provision of fall prevention systems and fluid transfer solutions has prompted a growth in its distributor network to span the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Training in Bologna 2016 -Loadtec Training DayTo ensure consistent product knowledge delivery as well as to keep up to date with the latest market trends affecting the bulk liquid storage industry company executives organised a distributor training event at their collaborative partner Zipfluid’s factory in Bologna to give an overview of their product line as well as key industry themes.

Loadtec managing director Alec Keeler explains: ‘It is critical when working in exacting environments that our staff and representatives understand the client’s problems and have the confidence to question the validity of the brief they are given. Giving them that confidence comes from close support, training and development of their skills.

‘We are committed to a long-term plan of education and close support of our field agents. Familiarisation within the factory and our in-house team is important, but this has to be complimented with regional training events to understand the nuances of culture and level of technical development in their home countries.’

ASK 4996The two day training and networking event in Bologna underlined these principles with presentations on the specifics of marine loading arms by head of marine Martin Dicke-Künitz including various technical parameters that need to be considered, tanker sizes, tide levels as well as manual or hydraulically powered operations.

Keeler then went on to explain the fundamentals of loading arms, including the company’s range of Zip-Load loading arms for the chemical and industrial markets as well as the company’s core principles behind these products.

This was followed by a talk about safety and fall prevention systems. Keeler highlighted real-life, operational examples of an inherent lack of understanding surrounding safety and fall prevention systems as well as how the company is working to address these deficits with their range of solutions including the multi modal elevating safety access system.

In addition, Loadtec’s latest venture, Loadtec Service, a new division of the company providing servicing and support for road, rail and marine loading and access equipment was also discussed in greater detail.

Led by Dicke-Künitz and Rob Williams, Loadtec Service will ‘plug a gap in the service industry’ according to Keeler.

ASK 5042He adds: ‘We have seen a huge shift in the capital purchasing of goods where there is still a lot going on but customers are more wary of investing in something that is a short-lived item.

‘There have been a lot of companies coming to the market that are driving prices down for equipment but not offering the total care package.

‘Customers have been disappointed, initially they get low capital cost but paying a high lifetime cost. We don’t think that is morally right and we would like to be in it for the long haul.

‘We want to be involved at concept and consulting stage, to provide the best quality technical solution and to go on and support our products through their lifetime.’

In addition to the company’s new division it has also very recently acquired a majority share in Incontrol Projects, a loading and access equipment service, maintenance and repair company in the UK.

Keeler adds: ‘We have already worked together as far afield as Russia, Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia, with great success. Incontrol have also built some amazing systems for us in the last few years so the natural development of that is to join forces.’

Distributors were given a tour of the Zipfluid factory. There were working demonstrations of various loading arms for different applications as well as a wide range of safe access equipment.

In the evening distributors were treated to a gala dinner at the Circolo della Caccia club as well as a tour of historical Bologna.
Loadtec visits the Righini Museum in Bologna which houses this vintage Ferrari carOn the second day, as part of the networking event, distributors were given a tour of the private Righini Collection, which comprises a rare and unique collection of classical, vintage cars.

Tank Storage Magazine August September 2016 Issue Page 53-54 (PDF)

Loadtec Large Cage Safety Solution

Working at height

This article has been reproduced from Tank Cleaning Spring 2016 issue.

The tank container industry with some 450,000 tank containers in operation puts special emphasis on health, safety, quality and protection of the environment. However, the industry is full of risks

Working at height remains one of the prevalent causes of fatalities and major injuries. Common cases include falls from ladders and through fragile surfaces. In an industry to a large extent dealing with hazardous goods, it is important to protect workers’ safety.

Tanker cleaning involves the following:

  • Tanker cleaning is always carried out via accessing the top of the road/rail tanker, which, on average, stands about four metres tall on hard concrete ground – all of which constitutes a significant fall from height risk;
  • Tanker cleaning is carried out with high pressure steam or chemicals that makes all walk surfaces very slippery, increasing the fall from height risk;
  • Tanker cleaning is generally a piece work operation and therefore time is critical.

Loadtec Engineered Systems was set up almost 20 years ago primarily to sell loading arms, but increasingly, it is supplying total solutions that make a difference to the whole working environment and the safety aspect is increasingly important.

The law

Each country has a specific health and safety law on working at height. However, the purpose of the UK’s Work at Height Regulations 2005 is to prevent death and injury caused by a fall from height. The regulations apply to employers who employ staff who work at height. It applies to tank container companies and the tank cleaning companies they use.

In a statement, the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) states: “Employers and those in control of any work at height activity must make sure work is properly planned, supervised and carried out by competent people. This includes using the right type of equipment for working at height.”

A quick browse through the HSE website reveals fines in the hundreds of thousands of pounds (even millions if an employee has died as a result) for companies that have violated these regulations, but what struck most is the heart-wrenching story of the scaffolder who died just weeks from his wedding.

What equipment?

There are two types of safety systems: passive or active. Active involves the operator undertaking tasks, before he can do the job he is there to do. These can be key interlocks; closing barriers; moving and positioning mobile access carts; or putting on harnesses and physically climbing up the tank. Changing weather conditions and the monotony of the repetitive tasks will soon have workers looking for easier ways to get the job done quicker. Passive is where the operator walks up an easy staircase, presses a button and walks out onto the top of the tanker. No harnesses to put on, no slippery floor to walk on, no constraints, only a secure cage to surround the working area to prevent him falling. Time saved is about five or maybe ten minutes. Stress level is zero. He gets the job done quickly, safely and without someone having to watch him with the consequential associated costs.

Of course there are degrees of safety. The more money spent the safer it gets.

Below are various solutions Loadtec can offer for those working on the top of tanks and they range from the safest to the least safe solution and with costs to match:

  • Multi-Modal Access System – The safest and most expensive of the fall prevention systems Loadtec offers, this system
    is designed to provide operators with flexible and safe access on to tankers of varying heights and lengths. The unique feature is that each end of the elevating platform can be tilted to match the slope of a tanker top
  • Tanker Enclosure System – This allows the operator to have free access to the entire tanker top. This can mean walking along the top of a round barrel or ISO container with varying designs of walkway and manhole positions without reliance on the tanker walkways
  • Large Cage Tanker Solution – Wide safety cages provide complete fall prevention where multiple hatches need to be accessed for cleaning, this simple design can be easily configured to fit onto your existing structures or supplied with any platform and stair configuration
  • Mobile Access Carts – This cart can be moved around a loading bay easily by one person or longer distances with a tractor and suitable for areas with limited space
    Depending on the type of cleaning and the type of tanks employees are working on, there will be a safe solution to suit each situation. All in all, all companies should ensure that they employ the right solution to make tank cleaning as safe as possible.

For more information:

This article was written by Alec Keeler, managing director of Loadtec Engineered Systems. Visit: www.loadtec.co.uk

Tank Cleaning Spring Issue 2016 Page 20 (PDF)

Loadtec Skid Load System - Single loading arm, pumping, metering and overfill protection, in container - UK

Loadtec introduces new Skid Load Systems

This article has been reproduced from Downstream Spring 2016 issue. Downstream is the official publication of the Federation of Petroleum Suppliers (FPS).

Loadtec Engineered Systems Ltd has introduced their new Skid Load Systems to the UK market.

They have just supplied a skid load system consisting of a loading skid and hose loading arm, mounted in a shipping container, into the UK market.

 Jonathan Wiltshire, regional sales manager for Loadtec, explained the concept: “Our client, Northern Energy, wanted to not just buy the equipment but also wanted the opportunity to protect and move their asset if it wasn’t working for them geographically. The solution was perfect for their requirements. We took a single loading arm, with the facility to add a second product line; added in the pumping, metering and overfill protection equipment as required, and constructed it within the container.”

Northern Energy will now be able to move their asset within two hours through the simple process of disconnecting the power supply, disabling the product supply and simply moving it onto a flatbed truck and transporting it to the next location where it is needed – hence the Skid Load tag. Archetypal downstream authorised distributors like Northern Energy are best placed to take advantage of this low-cost flexible method of protecting and moving their company assets in the UK.

Stu Illingworth, supply manager from Northern Energy, spoke about his experience of working with Loadtec: “When we found out that our local terminal was closing down, we needed a simple loading solution to keep our operation going. We told Loadtec our challenge and they came back to us with a solution that ticked all the boxes.”

Loadtec’s Skid Load systems are not limited to the UK market. Loadtec has already supplied a similar, more complex system, which included a top and bottom loading arm and a tanker access platform that works off the top of the container for a site in Russia.

Downstream Spring 2016 Loadtec Skid Load Systems Page 30 (PDF)

Loadtec's Managing Director Alec Keeler (L) welcomes Martin Dicke-Künitz to the company

A shot in the loading arm

This article has been reproduced from Storage Terminals magazine (www.storageterminalsmag.com) Spring 2016 issue.

Loadtec appointment seen as boosting its marine loading arms business

UK bulk fluids handling and fall prevention systems company Loadtec has appointed Martin Dicke-Künitz in a strategic role in the marine loading arms, ports and technology sector.

In this role Dicke-Künitz will oversee Loadtec’s marketing, strategic business partnerships and sales strategy for the Zip-Load range of marine loading arms. Prior to joining Loadtec, he was the director of technology and innovation at Emco Wheaton and as such responsible for a number of industry firsts in the marine loading arm industry.

Describing marine arms as “the essence of loading technology”, Dicke-Künitz said he decided to work with Loadtec because “as a privately owned company, over the years I have found that only such an organisation is fast and flexible enough to meet the customer’s requirements in a challenging and rapidly changing industry environment.”

Commenting on the appointment, Loadtec managing director Alec Keeler said he has been “lucky to have known Martin for a great many years as a colleague at Emco Wheaton and am delighted that he will join us as we progress with an ambitious programme to develop Loadtec and our marine portfolio.”

Loadtec hosted its first networking luncheon in Singapore together with UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), in Eden Hall, the official residence of the British High CommissionerKeeler added that these are exciting times for Loadtec. Last year, the company announced it was launching its own brand of marine loading arms – under the Zip-Load name – manufactured in Italy by Bologna-based Zipfluid srl.

“Our marine arms (are) made in Northern Italy,” added Keeler. “It’s an absolute powerhouse of engineering excellence in Europe. The local resource for everything from major fabrication to electronics can be sourced from companies eager to demonstrate their capability in exacting environments.

“People of a certain generation - like mine – can have a biased and outdated view that Italian electronics/electrics and engineering longevity are not as good as say, German quality. Well, I can confirm that this is a very outdated view,” he continued. “We have been in close association with Italian companies for quite a few years and I am always impressed at their quality and attention to detail. So quality is as good as the best in the market and the design is also markedly different.”

A qualified engineer with a diploma in chemical process engineering, Dicke-Künitz said the market for marine arms seems to have been influenced greatly in recent years by mega projects where more than 50 arms might be ordered. “These are irregular projects and profit can be won or lost within one line of a complex contractual document,” he added. “Then there are the sensible sized packages of, say, 10-12 arms. These are also complex in their contractual obligations, but manufacturing is manageable and timeframes are more reasonable. I see (Loadtec and Zip-Load) in the latter category for now.”

www.loadtec.co.uk

Storage Terminals Magazine Spring 2016 Page 99 (PDF)

Loadtec Multi Modal Systems - Fall Prevention Systems - Tanker Access - Installed in Mozzanica, Italy

Tanker loading challenges in the pharmaceutical industry

This article has been reproduced from Fluid Handling magazine (www.fluidhandlingmag.com) March/April 2016 issue.

 In the last 20 years, the design and technology used in tanker loading and unloading systems in the pharmaceutical industry has changed surprisingly little. Tankers are still between 3.2 and 4.2m high, and their conditions fluctuate greatly. Tanker walkways are widely variable and, occasionally, just not there. Solvents are still dangerous, flammable, toxic, or pose environmental hazards. Tanker driver competence is as variable as ever, and concrete remains very hard and humans are very soft.

What has been interesting is that while design and technology has changed very little, documentation, accreditation, surveillance has grown to be a major factor in cost and time. The warning signs are still all there and remain the focus for the need to change or improve access for the operator and handling of the liquid.

Loadtec Skid Load Systems: Zip-Load Loading Arm with Tanker Enclosure and Metering Skid Package - RussiaWhat has changed?

But even if some things are never expected to change, the inevitable flow of time is bound to bring on other changes. The aforementioned increase in documentation and regulation has caused the followings changes to come into effect:

  • In 2005 the Work at Heights Regulations was implemented throughout Europe. More of which later.
  • ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and a number of other ISOs have been brought into play.
  • Pharmaceutical companies with long serving and experienced engineers have now moved to contracting out their engineering resource to third parties. This is not necessarily good or bad, but it’s a factor. A project based in London, for example, may see companies working with detail engineering teams on the other side of the world.
  • A number of companies have preferred sub-component manufacturers. This becomes interesting when a tried and tested package of equipment has to be reconfigured to meet the site specific needs for valves, switches and solenoids.
  • Documentation has increased exponentially. Despite nearly 20 years of supplying virtually identical systems, the growing trend for expediting and micro-management by clients has created a huge increase in cost and time.

Now we have climate controlled rooms and terabytes of data. Twenty years ago project data files consisted of a couple of ring binder folders on shelf behind the engineer who bought the equipment. Is there a clear benefit to the client in this detailed acquisition of “knowledge” or is it a consequence of the litigation culture that invades every aspect of our lives?

Of course, equipment suppliers need to be mindful of this. A client either accepts an offer based on the standard componentry and quality assurance, or makes it very clear from the outset of a project that suppliers will need to source specifically pre-approved components. The difference in cost between a standard and proven scope of supply, versus one with high surveillance and client specified components can be more than double.

How does this affect the client’ decision making when it comes to developing a scheme? A number of agents in the pharmaceuticals industry are taking the seemingly bold stance of filling all tankers from ground level. This is partly due to their interpretation of the Work at Heights Regulations (which suggests it is a good thing, but does qualify that with a “wherever practical” caveat) and the perception that this will be a cheaper solution. The majority of chemicals moved globally are in sea containers. To maximise volume, the design of the ISO tank in the vast majority of cases, is not equipped with vapour return facilities at ground level.

Loadtec Top Loading Arm used in conjunction with a Multi-Modal PlatformBottom or top loading?

The pharmaceutical business transfers a great deal of clean solvent and, consequently, waste solvent. These chemicals require precise handling that safeguards operators and the environment. Bottom unloading arms have been utilised extensively over the years and they allow operators to manoeuvre the pipe into position, prepare the tanker and make a secure and repeatable connection, without having to carry a heavy hose and leave pharma grade couplings laying on the floor.

But what happens when an operator wants to bottom fill? Is there a vapour return line at ground level? Statistics suggest there is not, unless the operator has rented a more expensive tanker with a reduced payload. Thus, vapour return will be at the tanker top, presumably via the manhole, because the other feature you will need is a high level device. There is a need to fit a vapour return line at high level with a built-in high level device. Due to weight and handling, this is clearly best served in the form of a loading (vapour) arm. But then the primary issue remains.

How does one get an operator onto and off of the tanker in complete safety? The simple folding stairs with safety cage has been the go-to solution for a long time. But with the tightening of legislation and the variation in tanker profiles and walkway configurations, folding stairs, forever the “vanilla” choice, are no longer the obvious solution. Customers want “tutti frutti” systems that provide greater security, flexibility and range.

The solution is the multi-modal platform, a vertically elevating platform that can be between 4m and 15m in length. It travels through a standard 1.5m range or more with a built-in floor that is removable wherever access to the tanker top is needed. Multi-modal platforms also come with the added benefit of being able to tilt to match the slope on a tanker top.

These systems have been sold successfully by Loadtec Engineering Systems since 1996 all over the world, with December 2016 seeing the company's 20th anniversary. Multi-modals are utterly reliable and provide fool-proof safety with ease of operation. They are manufactured to globally accepted standards and are used by virtually all blue chip pharmaceutical companies somewhere in the world. Furthermore, they are relatively cheap considering the lifespan and advantages they bring.

So, when an enquiry arrives, it is essential to establish whether the client wants a reliable system that works using tried and tested components, or whether they want to reinvent the wheel and cost themselves a small fortune. Clients seem to be diverging into two distinct camps. Those who want a system that is necessarily simple because the total project cost is consumed by bureaucracy, and those who want a future proof, feature-packed system that is globally proven for the same cost.

For more information:

This article was written by Alec Keeler, managing director at Loadtec Engineering Systems. Visit www.loadtec.co.uk

Fluid Handling Magazine March/April 2016 (Pages 43-44) (PDF)

Loadtec Marine Loading Arms

Reason to Believe

This article has been reproduced from HCB (www.hcblive.com) March 2016 issue.

Loading Arms • After 19 years in the business, Loadtec is branding out into marine loading arms with its Zip-Load brand. HCB finds out why

"By December 2016 Loadtec will have been in business for 20 years," says Alec Keeler, managing director of UK-based Loadtec Engineered Systems. We have represented other companies for most of that time and have been involved with marine arms and their sales but in that sector our role was purely as an agent, passing on leads and enquiries to our principals.

"Our development of the Zip-Load brand of land-based loading arms has been instrumental in increasing our global spread and profile," Keeler continues. "Since 2012 we have been able to work with marine clients directly on a small scale as we developed our skills and knowledge of the market. In thelast year, with the development of our manufacturing partner facility in Italy, we have seen a huge growth in enquiries coming to us for packages ranging from single manual river barge arms to multiple LNG transfer systems. We have worked hard to ensure that we can meet technical, commercial and quality needs."

To help that process along, Loadtec has hired experienced marine loading arm expert Martin Dicke-Künitz to take a strategic role in developing the brand. He explains how he sees the market: "I have recognised over the years that big corporations are not in a position to give the necessary support and service to the demands of customers in the oil and gas industry, especially when it comes to reacting to the challenges of a rapidly changing environment.

"Loadtec stands out as a company that is changing the rules of engagement with customers," he continues. "Loadtec's breadth of product range, which is totally focused on bulk fluid transfer, makes them a go-to company for best advice and for giving the customer what they want in the way they want it and when they want it. I wanted to be a part of a company that recognises the importance of that."

Finding the Business

"Martin joins us as a partner who will take his division of the business and develop it," Keeler says. "He knows more about marine loading systems than virtually anyone else in the business. His understanding of the market, its customers and their needs is second to none and his philosophy of customer service matches ours. But what is really key is that, as with our land-based systems, Martin doesn't just sell to customers. He is a subject matter expert who is there to guide and support a customer through a complicated process to find the best economic and practical solution to their problems."

That is reflected in Dicke-Künitz's job title. "One of the reasons I chose 'Marine Loading Arms, Ports and Technology' as a job description in lieu of a proper title, is that Ifeel it is crucial to give the customer the feeling that they are speaking to a key person in this business sector," he says. "My worldwide experience in technically and commercially challenging projects plus Loadtec's reputation in the industry as a fast, committed, flexible and reactive company, is what I believe makes us stand out from the rest of the marine arm suppliers."

What makes Loadtec think it can make headway in the marine loading arms business, a sector that is well supplied by experienced vendors? Dicke-Künitz says: "Our marine arms are the essence of loading technology, reflecting numerous discussions with contractors' engineers, operators and terminal owners, whereas most other systems on the market are a generic evolution of previous arms that carry the burden of old and dated
design details. We also have unique features that enhance the ownership experience and lifetime of the equipment, providing considerable savings over the lifetime of the arm."

Alec Keeler adds: "Of course we need to technically meet customer needs, which we are confident we can do. However, whether you are n individual or part of a huge corporation, the wants and needs are basically similar. You want to trust; you want to be heard ; you don't want to be let down; you want to feel valued; you don't want to feel that someone is getting the better of you. It's simple stuff.

"Loadtec works hard to give customers the assurance that their basic and (hopefully) complex needs will be met and exceeded. Loadtec and its manufacturing partners are private companies and decisions are made quickly to enhance customer satisfaction. There are no faceless shareholders, influencing policy to benefit quarterly dividends; this allows us to make decisions that positively impact projects and clients. We strongly believe that this is an advantage to us, our portfolio and, essentially, our clients."

Stand Out from the Crowd

What makes the Loadtec offering different to other arms on the market? "We have our marine arms made in northern Italy. It's an absolute powerhouse of engineering excellence in Europe," says Keeler. "The local resource for everything from major fabrication to electronics can be sourced from companies eager to demonstrate their capability in exacting environments. People of a certain generation (mine) can have a biased and outdated view that Italian electronics/electrics and engineering longevity are not as good as say, German quality. Well, I can confirm that this is a very outdated view. We have been in close association with Italian companies for quite a few years and I am always impressed at their quality and attention to detail. So quality is as good as the best in the market and the design is also markedly different."

"We are able to supply whatever clients want," adds Dicke-Künitz. "The market seems to have been influenced greatly in the past few years by hyper-sized projects where in excess of 50 marine arms can be ordered. These are irregular projects and profit can be won or lost within one line of a complex contractual document. Then there are the sensible sized packages of up to 10 or 12 arms. These are also complex in their contractual obligations, but manufacturing is manageable and timeframes are more reasonable. I see us in the latter category for now."

"The Zip-Load brand is gathering momentum quickly and we are pleased to say we have provided systems to all continents (except Antarctica!) in the short time the brand has been registered." says Keeler.

As to the future, much of it will be down to the oil price, Keeler believes. 'There are loading arm suppliers who have ramped up their manufacturing facilities and manpower to handle the major global projects. As these are cut back, and surely they will be, I think we will sadly see the demise of one or possibly two of the major marine arm suppliers. They are too big and committed to make strategic changes quickly enough or their corporate masters will attempt to sell them off, so that will create a void in the market."

"Customers will always want choice and so the smaller, specialist brands such as Zip-Load will grow in prominence," Dicke-Künitz predicts. "The 'one stop shop' will become in creasingly attractive to customers in developing countries without major engineering resource." HCB

www.loadtec.co.uk

Reason to Believe HCB March 2016 (PDF)

Loadtec Chemical Tanker Loading

Working on tankers: Safety in storage

This article has been reproduced from Biofuels International (www.biofuels-news.com) March/April 2016 issue.

Biofuels storage can expect to grow considerably in the next decade and so it is increasingly important to manage health and safety risks in the workplace

The biofuels industry is full of risks. There are risks associated with handling products and risks connected with using and repairing equipment. Loadtec Engineered Systems was set up almost 20 years ago primarily to sell loading arms, but increasingly, the company is supplying total solutions that make a difference to the whole working environment.

In 1999 the Chemical Industries Association (CIA) issued a publication called ‘Working on top of chemical tankers’ (last updated in 2012). This went on to form an important part of the Work at Heights Regulations introduced in 2005.

Section three of the publication states addressed key themes including accident prevention, hierarchy of control measures and ‘safety as an efficiency’.

Accident prevention

Where working on top of tankers or tank containers is deemed necessary, the risks to consider will include falls from a height, access and egress, contact with product and exposure to fumes.

Hierarchy of control measures

To prevent falls from tankers, the following hierarchy of control measures need to be considered:

  • Eliminate the need to access tops of tankers.
  • Provision of a loading/unloading gantry.
  • Consideration of tanker design features such as ladders, walkways and collapsible handrails.
  • Portable ladders with platforms.
  • Installation of fall arrest systems.

Hierarchy of control measures – Four simple words that tell you how you need to prioritise your thinking. The hierarchy works on the basis that if no method of preventing the fall exists in the first category, you proceed to the next category and then on to the next and finally, when there is nothing that can be done to prevent the fall; you can, with a clear conscience, install a fall arrest system.

Let’s be clear. Fall prevention does just that: it prevents the fall from taking place. Fall arrest hopes to minimise the consequence of the fall that has already taken place.

The harness and wire systems of fall arrest are totally reliant on the competence or willingness of the operator to fit the harness correctly. The consequence of not doing that is very serious.

As the director of a terminal or plant operator, your primary corporate aim is to provide a safe and clean working environment for your operators and the public. To do this your obligation is to employ the best technology and working practices. All companies need to understand that safety is not necessarily a cost.

Safety as an efficiency

A safe and clean working environment promotes loyalty, a sense of worth – the company is actually looking after me – and, consequently the operator looks at how he can return that investment in him. A safe system can also reduce the manpower needed to undertake some tasks.

Safety is not about constraint. Done correctly, it provides a working environment where choice is restricted, but movement is not.

The operator, faced with a repetitive task that involves manual input, will always try to find short cuts; ways of saving their precious time; reducing their inconvenience and generally making their lives easier.

The layout for a fall arrest system may seem cheapest in the short term. However, the constant monitoring required ensuring all workers practise as they ought to soon see costs start to escalate immediately. The longterm cost of a system that needs constant monitoring will, over time, far outweigh the capital savings made in its initial selection.

There are two types of safety system: passive or active.

Active involves the operator undertaking tasks, before he can do the job he is there to do. These can be key interlocks; closing barriers; moving and positioning mobile access carts; or putting on harnesses and physically climbing up the back end of the tanker. Changing weather conditions and the monotony of the repetitive tasks will soon have your worker looking for easier ways to get the job done quicker.

Passive is where the operator gets out of his truck, walks up an easy staircase, presses a button and walks out onto the tanker top. No harnesses to put on; no slippery tanker barrels to walk on; no constraints; only a secure cage to surround the working area to prevent him falling; time saved is about five or maybe ten minutes. Stress level is zero. He doesn’t have to move the tanker because everything has been designed to eliminate that extra risk. He gets the job done quickly, safely and without someone having to watch him with the consequential associated costs.

Of course there are degrees of safety. The more you spend the safer it gets.

But ask yourself this: Which safety system would you rather be on?

The bulk fluid handling industries are very diverse with equally diverse needs; and still have a long way to go. Until safety and efficiency are inextricably linked, then we will continue to have unnecessary accidents.

Working on tankers: Safety in storage (PDF)

For more information: This article was written by Alec Keeler, managing director at Loadtec Engineered Systems. Visit: www.loadtec.co.uk
New Britain Oils - Tanker access through hybrid system installed by Loadtec

New Britain Oils chooses Loadtec hybrid system

This article has been reproduced from Oils & Fats International (www.ofimagazine.com) September/October 2015 issue.

A specially designed, hybrid tanker access system designed for New Britain Oils (NBO) in Liverpool, UK, has become Loadtec's best selling tanker access system globally.

Loadtec says it was provided a very clear brief to design a tanker access system that met two important objectives.

Firstly, to ensure absolute safety while working on tanker tops and that the tanker would not need to be moved to locate the loading arm in any of the six manholes.

Secondly, to safeguard food safety integrity so the tanker bays would be inside a sealed building, and it was imperative that the doors could be closed to assist hygiene.

Loadtec says that as the system was required for a state-of-the-art industry-leading refining plant, great care was taken to ensure that any design would be utilised for long-term efficiency and reliability. The Loadtec solution had to combine that ethos with foolproof safety and assurance that any operator could step into the task and not jeopardise themselves or the integrity of the plant. It had to be designed so that one man could operate all three bays effectively, thus giving a payback.

Loadtec engineers designed a hybrid system that allowed safe access to any tanker without risk of falls from a permanent walkway. In addition, the system featured a very long-range loading arm with fingertip control.

Loadtec says the system has now been operating reliably for four years.

Oils & Fats International - September/October 2015 (PDF)

Loadtec Multi Modal Systems - Fall Prevention Systems - Tanker Access - Newport, South Wales

Maintaining Safety Systems in Tanker Terminals

This article has been reproduced from Tank Storage Magazine (www.tankstoragemag.com) September/October 2015 issue.

Access and loading technology is evolving in the industry

The use of antiquated safety systems in the tank terminal industry is still prevalent despite the introduction of stricter and tighter legislative frameworks.

Safety systems that were developed and installed in the 1960s are still being applied in the current day despite the technical evolution the tank storage industry has undergone.

Alec Keeler, director of Loadtec Engineered Systems explains that during the 1960s and 70s the design of tanks was markedly different and that such systems were lacking.

‘Tankers were lower to the ground, quite small and safety systems were not prevalent – especially in downstream fuels market,' he says.

‘Quite a few companies have introduced harnesses to protect their workers while they are on the tank top, which technically ticks a safety box.

‘But in many cases it is clear that in the case of an accident the worker is not protected because they have incorrectly fitted equipment and it could result in an injury.’

Loadtec Engineered Systems provides a range of safety systems dependent on a variety of factors assuming that tank storage facilities have loading facilities for import and export.

But despite a range of such systems being available on the market, the decision to invest in such systems is balanced against the fluid nature of the business.

‘The nature of the business is that the tanks are only rented for a fixed amount of time,’ says Keeler.

‘They have to compete in a very tight market to win the contract and so their costs have to be low and the consequent level of investment is constrained.'

There is a noticeable emergence of total solutions, where various projects within a tank terminal are delivered in one contract or system solution by a single company, rather than involving several different companies. This is a concept that the market is embracing.

However this consolidated approach is still not the answer to further improving safety at terminals, and Keeler admits that in this regard, there will always be some way to go.

‘It is a constant education process. What have done in a number of cases is to consolidate the tank loading facility, so instead of having bays scattered around the site there are a small number of high intensity loading bays with state-of-the-art, modern equipment and ultimate safety.

‘The market is vast and highly specialised. It is expanding at the moment and in some cases, in places that you would not expect.’