Top Loading Chemical Arms
The majority of chemicals loaded globally are via the top of the tanker. The reasons are fairly simple. The tankers are effectively barrels on wheels. They have a hole in the top to fill it and a valve outlet at the bottom to drain it. In almost all cases the tanker has no built-in high level detection or vapour return facilities. The advantage of top loading is that all the sophistication required can be fitted to the loading arm.
They can be used on a variety of chemicals and only need cleaning to be fit for another service. The diversity, complexity and hazards encountered when transferring many liquids into general purpose tankers means that it is easier and quicker to retain top loading. Along with Loadtec fall prevention systems, we can make top loading very safe.
If transport operators specialise their vehicles they reduce the potential clients who require that tanker and increase the cost of the vehicle. Until the chemical companies relieve the pressure on transport operators to provide cheapest costs, this will remain the situation for the majority of applications.
Top loading technology has improved over the last ten years. Reliability should never now be a concern as new production materials and seal compounds are employed. However, one issue dominates the upgrading of top loading facilities and that is the height of the tankers. Since the 1970’s tanker barrel heights have grown from an average of 3.4 metres to the current situation where they can be up to 4.2 metres. This poses many problems as existing loading racks, cannot provide safe access onto the tanker tops, using the existing access systems (stairs or ramp).
Furthermore, the need for the loading area on the tanker to be surrounded by a ‘fence’ – using the HSE/OSHA terminology – means that the arms cannot reach over the ‘fence’ and be inserted in the manhole. Loadtec can provide solutions to all these issues.
This type of loading arm is especially designed to load non-emissive liquids. It is suitable for the top loading of road or rail tankers using the manhole. The loading arm has a long reach and is suitable for applications where the manhole cannot be accurately positioned.
Because of the robust and high quality design of the swivel joints and the precise loading arm balancing, handling of the loading arm is very easy.
The “base” style of arm used primarily in the chemical industry is generally called the Boom Arm. The design utilises four swivel joints for articulation and has a supported boom, which means the part of the arm that moves vertically has a fixed length. This allows the spring cylinder to counter-balance a fixed load. Because of this, items can be added to the arm during the design phase and have smooth and easy counterbalance. It also means that the arm has a wider range of articulation.
The options available for this type of arm are extensive and include; vapour collection and return via a cone and hose, high level detection, pneumatic balance or hydraulic three-axis remote control, telescopic drop pipe to avoid splash loading and parallel arms.
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