If your team is in need of solutions that make the loading and unloading of rail cars safe and efficient, loading arms are a fantastic option. Relied upon by those in the oil & gas, petrochemical, and bulk terminal related industries, loading arms are highly effective and dependable, making them ideal to stand up to the demands of railcar loading and unloading. As one of western Canada’s leading suppliers of loading rack solutions, Northern Platforms is proud to offer top products from trusted industry suppliers like SafeRack, OPW, Emco Wheaton and more.
If you’re looking for loading arm solutions but are unsure what best fits your needs, below we’ll highlight some of the top factors to keep in mind when choosing the right loading arm for your needs. Read on to learn more!
Know Your Equipment
When it comes to selecting the best available options for loading arms, you’ll want to be aware of the kind of tankers you’ll be using for transport. For example, the needs of a rail car vs a truck will be different, as will your needs if you’re consistently loading from the top vs the bottom. Knowing how your loading or unloading operation is configured and what type of equipment you’ll be using will make it far easier to select the right kind of loading arm for your applications, and should be taken into consideration as soon as possible.
Bottom vs. Top Loading Arms: What’s the Real Difference?
As you might assume, the key difference between top and bottom loading arms is evident in their title. Bottom arms function with the operator on the ground and utilize a spring counterbalance that allows the operator to easily position the loading arm. Bottom Loading Arm Systems are ideal for loading and unloading petroleum products, chemicals and liquefied gases, and offer numerous benefits over conventional top-loading systems:
- Improved safety since operator remains on the ground during loading/unloading
- Quicker connections reduce overall loading/unloading time
- Bottom loading systems create less turbulence in the tank, reducing the danger of generating static electricity.
- Bottom loading reduces vapors and the system can be adapted to also recover displaced vapors
- Tanks can be filled faster and several compartments can be loaded simultaneously
- Bottom-loading islands are simpler and cheaper to build than top-loading racks
Top Loading railcars and trucks continue to provide an efficient and cost effective method to load and unload in many situations.
A loading system should have sufficient horizontal range to reach the farthest compartment without re-spotting the vehicle. Sufficient vertical movement and drop-pipe lengths to service vehicles of varying heights is also necessary. A properly designed top loading system can provide protection and achieve this requirement. Top loading arms can also be used for tight-fill, vapor recovery, marine and other applications when used with specially designed and engineered components, such as vapor plates, tapered hatch plugs, and inflatable hatch seals.
Special top loading arm designs can also be supplied with a wide range of valves, fittings, and instrumentation equipment.
It comes as no surprise that compatibility is ultimately one of your biggest points of consideration when looking at loading arms. You’ll want to find an option that allows for seamless integration and flawless compatibility with your existing system. Size, type of product, pressure/temperature, material of construction, O-ring commutability and end connections all need to be taken into consideration when coming up with the right loading arm for your application. In order to ensure the best fit possible, your team will want to partner with experienced loading solution providers that will make it easy to integrate loading arms with the systems you have in place already including gangways, platforms and fall prevention cages. Northern Platforms Ltd has the experience and knowledge to help you determine the best fit for purpose loading arm solution!
Railcar Loading Arms At Northern Platforms
Need help finding the right match for your applications? Northern Platforms is here to make loading solutions easy! Our inventory features a wide selection of options, including products from top manufacturers like OPW & Emco Wheaton. As global leaders in the development of loading arms and coupling systems, both manufacturers designs are perfectly suited for a wide range of needs all the way from a simple chemical drum filling arm to a fully insulated molten Sulphur loading arm.