This article has been reproduced from Fertilizer International (www.fertilizerinternational.com) July-August 2015 issue.
UK-based Loadtec Engineered Systems Limited recently added a range of marine loading arms to its portfolio which includes both road and rail tanker loading arms and a wide range of other liquid handling equipment and safe access systems.
"The transfer of bulk fluids and solids from storage to transport is critical," explains Alec Keeler, Loadtec's managing director. "The point at which the product is transferred from road, rail and marine tankers creates a number of very real risks for both the integrity of the product, the operators handling it and the environment."
Keeler points out that liquid fertilizers and raw materials can be particularly difficult to handle: "In the fertilizer industry, the volumes of fresh and waste liquids that can be classified as highly dangerous is abnormally high when compared to many other industries. In particular acids, ammonia and other noxious chemicals that need to be handled with great care, are transferred on an hourly basis to provide feedstock."
Safety is a key aspect of a Carbis rail loading system being designed for CF Industries' Port Neal nitrogen complex. Carbis is Loadtec's manufacturer and distributor in America and both companies work closely to ensure the systems designed are of the highest safety standard. The Port Neal site, located on the Missouri River, Iowa, is currently undergoing a $2 billion expansion. CF Industries plans to transport powdered urea from the complex to a Gulf Coast processing plant in rail cars using a continuous loading system. Compartments in the cars are filled from overhead hoppers using a bellows system and then sealed using "coffin lid" style closures.
To add to the technical and safety challenge, trains do not stop at the complex so the loading of urea has to take place as the cars constantly roll along the track. An innovative 43m long safety cage is designed to protect operators, as the risk of falls is high, and allows the compartments to be filled quickly, safely and cleanly (see featured image). Operators can travel the length of the cage in safety using a built-in, fully-enclosed walkway and, if necessary, gain access to the 0.8m compartment openings through a spring-shut gate. Operators wear harnesses as a further safeguard and can be lifted out of danger in an emergency using an overhead lifeline system.