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How Bottom Loading Makes Your Fuel Tanker Loading System Safer

How Bottom Loading Makes Your Fuel Tanker Loading System Safer

Fuel tanker trucks are used across North America to transport large volumes of liquids and gases. With a rise in demand for biofuels especially, your fuel tanker system must have the right components to ensure smooth and safe operations.

As your source for safe access solutions, loading arms, and fall protection systems, Northern Platforms is here to help you make your tanker loading and unloading processes as safe as possible. Continue reading to learn more about how our bottom loading arms, in particular, can enhance the safety and efficiency of your operations.  

Understanding Fuel Tanker Loading Systems

The systems and equipment required for fuel tanker loading operations encompass a range of components. From gangways and loading racks to loading arms and spill containment, fuel tanker loading systems are complex, especially for larger facilities dealing with numerous tankers.

One of the essential components of a fuel tanker loading system is loading arms. Loading arm systems are crucial as they provide a safe means of accessing the content of the tanker trucks. These components connect to the tanker and the loading dock to provide a secure connection point for loading and unloading operations. Northern Platforms offers a range of top and bottom-loading arm configurations from trusted manufacturers like OPW Engineered Systems.

Next, we will explain why bottom-loading arms are often the safest option for fuel tanker loading systems. 

Advantages of Bottom Loading in Tanker Truck Operations

Northern Platforms’ inventory of OPW bottom-loading arms is available in a wide range of configurations. They offer operations many benefits that not only protect their workers but also enhance efficiency. These advantages include the following:

Fire Prevention

Top loading a fuel tanker often involves the splashing of flammable liquids, which can result in a build-up of electrical charge within the tanker itself. Electrical discharge can happen for several reasons, and the opportunity to generate a spark is increased by moving workers and equipment above the truck. Using a bottom-loading arm can reduce this risk, as they create less turbulence in the tank and often feature grounding systems. 

Spill/ Leak Prevention

Even minor petrochemical spills can be severe, from damage to the environment, creating the potential for a fire, pollution control, and loss of product perspectives. Bottom loading arms can reduce or eliminate the possibility of spills and leaks at loading terminals and service stations, especially when paired with a dry disconnect

Vapour Recovery

As many within the industry know, transferring fuels and chemical products can significantly contribute to local pollution and environmental damage. Bottom loading can make petrochemical vapour recovery easier than top loading. OPW’s bottom loading arms can be adapted to recover displaced vapours, making your operations safer and more environmentally friendly. 

Operator Safety

Top loading a fuel tanker requires your employees to be off the ground above the truck, creating a potential fall risk. At the same time, many fuel tanker loading systems are outside, making loading/unloading more dangerous during poor conditions at an elevated height. By using bottom-loading arms, your operators remain on the ground throughout the loading process, making it easier to react in an emergency and keeping them safe. 


Compared to top-loading islands or racks, bottom-loading islands are often less expensive to build and maintain. Without the need to maintain or replace walkways, gangways, or overhead loading structures associated with top-loading, your operations can enhance your bottom line and invest that money elsewhere. 

Your Source for Loading Arms and More!

At Northern Platforms, we proudly carry a comprehensive inventory of OPW top and bottom loading arms, quick & dry disconnects, and more. Our team is well-versed in fuel tanker loading systems, so if you’re looking for a custom solution for your operations, Northern Platforms is here to help!

Contact us today to learn more about our OPW bottom-loading arms or to speak with one of our safe access solution experts regarding your fuel tanker loading systems.

4 Top-Loading Arms for LPG and SULFUR Loading Applications

4 Top-Loading Arms for LPG and SULFUR Loading Applications

Top-loading arms are commonly used for loading railcars and trucks with LPG and sulfur. At Northern Platforms, we are proud to be industry leaders in distributing top-loading arms across Western Canada. Below, we will introduce you to four popular top-loading arm options from OPW Engineered Systems and a loading arm accessory that can make temperature-sensitive loading applications easier. Keep reading to find out more! 

Supported and Unsupported Boom-Style Loading Arms

Northern Platforms’ OPW Boom-Style top-loading arms are a great option for facilities with variable reach applications. The Supported and Unsupported styles offer unparalleled flexibility, long-reach capabilities, and ease of operation, making them a popular choice in sulfur and LPG loading applications. Aside from their ease of use, the Supported and Unsupported Boom-style loading arms can both be folded back against your loading platform for convenient and compact storage. 

Some other features and benefits of these top-loading arms include:

  • Available in 2”, 3”, 4” and 6” sizes
  • Available in stainless steel, carbon steel, or aluminum 
  • The support section can be added to maximize both reach and weight limit capabilities
  • Your choice of flanged, threaded, or all-welded construction 
  • Adaptable for tight-fill or closed-system loading when equipped with additional components available at Northern Platforms 

Scissor Style Top-Loading Arm

The OPW Scissor Style top loading arms at Northern Platforms are primarily used in tanker truck loading and unloading operations where the reach is less than 120”. This loading arm is designed explicitly for top-loading applications requiring a variable operating range. One of the significant advantages of this top-loading arm is that its secondary arm can rotate 360° in the horizontal plane, providing your operators with a spotting allowance almost twice its length, making this top-loading arm a versatile loading solution. 

Here are a few other benefits and features of the OPW Scissor Style top loading arm:

  • Available in 2”, 3”, and 4” sizes
  • Available in carbon steel, stainless steel or aluminum
  • Your choice of flanged, threaded or all-welded construction
  • With additional components, it can be adapted for tight-fill or closed-system loading applications

Fixed Reach Style Top Loading Arm

The final top loading arm style that is a popular choice for LPG and sulfur loading applications is the OPW Fixed Reach Style loader. This simple loading arm encompasses only three swivel planes of rotation. The two swivel planes permit both up and down and side-to-side movement, while the third swivel plane ensures the drop pipe stays vertical, making operations simple. If you’re looking to reduce leaks and drips of viscous products after loading, the team at Northern Platforms can ensure that this style of top-loading arm features a valve within the outboard.

Below are a few other stand-out features and benefits of this top-loading arm:

  • Available in 2”, 3” and 4” sizes
  • Available in carbon steel, stainless steel, or aluminum
  • Your choice of flanged, threaded or all-welded construction
  • Can be adapted for tight-fill or closed-system loading when equipped with additional components from Northern Platforms

Custom Insulation Packages for Temperature Sensitive Loading

When loading molten sulfur or other temperature-sensitive chemicals or materials, your operations need custom insulation packages. At Northern Platforms, we have the OPW Custom Insulation Packages, which offer superior heat retention, safety and outstanding range of motion. Compared to field-applied insulation, these custom insulation packages are fully removable and reusable. 

Northern Platforms offers these packages in top and bottom designs, carbon steel or stainless steel and 2”, 3”, 4” and 6” sizes. So if your facility is loading or unloading molten sulfur or other temperature-sensitive materials, Northern Platforms is here to help. 

Find the Loading Arms You Need at Northern Platforms

With our large inventory of OPW Engineered Systems products, including replacement parts, Northern Platforms is your source for all your loading and unloading equipment needs. Let our team work with you to find the right loading arms for your applications.

Contact us today to learn more about our OPW top-loading arms and Custom Insulation Packages.

Ensure Leak-Free Biofuel and Chemical Transfers with Northern Platforms

Ensure Leak-Free Biofuel and Chemical Transfers with Northern Platforms

Handling hazardous chemicals demands precision, expertise, and unwavering commitment to safety. At Northern Platforms, we understand the critical importance of safe chemical transfers, which is why we stock high-quality and reliable loading arm systems. These systems are not only designed to facilitate the secure and efficient transfer of chemicals but also to minimize the risk to workers and the environment. Continue reading to learn more about our top loading arms, dry disconnects, and how Northern Platforms can ensure you have the right equipment for the job. 

An Emerging Industry: Biofuels

Before getting into the details of top chemical loading arms, let’s take a moment to understand biofuels. Biofuels, like biodiesel and renewable diesel, have gained prominence as environmentally friendly alternatives to conventional fossil fuels. These fuels are derived from renewable sources like animal fats, vegetable oil, and waste restaurant grease. While they offer numerous benefits, including reduced carbon emissions, they come with their own set of challenges. Safe and efficient handling of biofuels is crucial to maximize their advantages; fortunately, Northern Platforms is here to help!

The Role of Loading Arms

When handling biofuels or other chemicals, loading arms plays a pivotal role. These arms act as a bridge between fixed loading facilities and chemical tankers, ensuring the smooth and safe transfer of liquids and gases. Essentially, they are the unsung heroes of many industrial processes as they are designed to withstand harsh chemicals while still upholding stringent safety standards.

Additionally, chemical loading arms from Northern Platforms are available in various configurations to cater to specific loading requirements. Among these, top loading arms are designed for filling road or rail tankers from above. They use a manhole or fixed connections, like couplers, to establish a secure link between the loading facility and the tanker. High-quality swivel joints and precise loading arm balancing are the cornerstones of these arms’ design, enabling them to transfer chemicals safely and efficiently. 

Dry Disconnects and Loading Arms: The Perfect Pair

While chemical top loading arms provide exceptional safety and efficiency during fluid transfers, it’s important also to highlight the dry disconnect products that enable the transfer process to happen. At Northern Platforms, we stock a range of OPW Engineered Systems dry disconnects specifically engineered to enhance the safety and reliability of hazardous liquid transfers. Within our inventory, you’ll find four exceptional dry disconnect couplings, each with unique features and benefits. Below is a brief overview of how these couplings provide a shield against potential hazards during chemical transfers.

  • Drylok® – Exceptional Hazardous Liquid Transfer: Designed for the safe transfer of a wide range of hazardous and corrosive liquids, the Drylok® dry disconnect coupler excels in challenging loading-rack environments. Typical applications include handling acids, solvents and petrochemicals.
  • Kamvalok® – Virtually Eliminating Spillage: The OPW Kamvalok® Dry Disconnect stands out due to its unique poppet action, which virtually eliminates the spillage of residual liquid. Common applications include handling paint, inks, adhesives, petroleum products, and various chemicals. Kamvalok® offers a level of protection that is unmatched.
  • Epsilon™ – Unparalleled Efficiency: Epsilon™ Dry Disconnect Couplings are designed for efficiency and safety. Featuring an innovative double ball-valve system, Epsilon™ minimizes product loss while providing a reliable double shutoff mechanism. 
  • Twist-Lok™ – Easy and Efficient: OPW’s Twist-Lok™ is the latest addition to their range of Dry Disconnect Couplers. It offers user-friendly operation and simple handling, providing a quick, easy connection with minimal product loss. 

Installation and Maintenance Services

At Northern Platforms, our team doesn’t just stop at providing top-quality fall protection and access solutions. We also offer installation and routine maintenance services to ensure that your loading arm systems and gangways are operating in optimal condition. Moreover, our team is happy to visit your site or facility, assess your needs, and help you determine the best chemical top loading arm system for your specific application and facility. When you need expert support, Northern Platforms has you covered!

Your Source for Loading Arms and More!

The safe transfer of chemicals and biofuels is essential for protecting your workers, equipment, and the environment. Loading arms, especially chemical top loading arms, are instrumental in ensuring these transfers occur without incident. Northern Platforms provides top-of-the-line loading arms, fall protection, and safe access solutions prioritizing safety and efficiency. With our decades of experience and dedication to safety, our team ensures that you have the equipment you need to safely transfer chemicals with precision and care.

Contact Northern Platforms today and let our team help you determine the best possible loading arm system for your application. 

Loading Arms for the Growing Biofuel Sector: Safety, Sustainability, and Seamless Operations

Loading Arms for the Growing Biofuel Sector: Safety, Sustainability, and Seamless Operations

In the pursuit of a greener and more sustainable future, the biofuel industry has quickly grown, offering an alternative to traditional fossil fuels. As this sector continues to gain momentum, efficient and environmentally friendly transportation is vital. At Northern Platforms, we have the loading solutions your distribution network needs to ensure efficiency, safety, and sustainability. Next, we will delve into our inventory of loading arms and explain their benefits to the evergrowing biofuel sector. Continue reading to find out more.

Safety First: Protecting Workers and the Environment

Loading and unloading biofuels means handling potentially hazardous materials, making safety a top priority. Traditional fluid transfer methods often carried risks of spills, leaks, and accidents, posing threats to both workers and the environment. However, Northern Platforms’ selection of OPW and EMCO loading arms address these concerns head-on.

These advanced systems are designed with safety features that minimize the risk of spills, leaks, and emissions. Features such as precise control mechanisms and automated operations assist in reducing human errors and mitigating potential hazards during the loading and unloading process. Furthermore, Northern Platforms’ OPW and EMCO loading arms are equipped with emergency shutdown systems, allowing operators to swiftly respond to unforeseen incidents and prevent significant mishaps.

Driving Sustainability: Reducing Environmental Impact

At the core of the biofuel industry’s mission is to reduce carbon emissions and promote sustainability. To align with this objective, the transfer of biofuels must also adhere to eco-friendly standards. Loading arms play a vital role in achieving this balance by significantly reducing the environmental impact of transportation.

One fundamental way loading arms from Northern Platforms can reduce your operation’s environmental impact is by minimizing product loss during transfer. Our top, bottom, and marine loading arms inventory is engineered to maximize accuracy and reduce spillage, ensuring that every drop of valuable biofuel reaches its destination. This efficiency not only boosts profits but also contributes to a more sustainable distribution network.

Seamless Operations: Enhancing Efficiency

Efficiency is the cornerstone of successful biofuel production and distribution. Northern Platforms’ loading arms are designed to optimize operations by streamlining the loading and unloading processes, reducing downtime and increasing throughput.

The flexibility of our loading arms allows them to adapt to various vessel sizes and configurations, ensuring a seamless fluid transfer regardless of the specific requirements. This adaptability reduces the need for complex adjustments or numerous loading systems, saving time and resources.

Furthermore, many of Northern Platforms’ loading arm models are equipped with advanced monitoring and control systems. This real-time data collection enables operators to track transfer progress, detect potential issues, and make necessary adjustments quickly. The result? A well-orchestrated operation that maximizes efficiency and minimizes operational hiccups.

Your Source for Loading Arms and More!

As the biofuel industry continues to expand, the significance of efficient, safe, and sustainable transportation cannot be overstated. At Northern Platforms, we pride ourselves on our comprehensive inventory of loading arms from trusted manufacturers such as OPW and EMCO. We also provide replacement parts such as seal kits, grease nipples, and ball bearings. Moreover, Northern Platforms provide in-house or onsite loading arm services such as rebuilds, recertification, inspections, hydro-testing and more.

So when your distribution operations require loading arms, Northern Platforms has you covered. Contact us today to learn more about our loading arms and parts inventory!

Why Use Loading Arms in the Oil & Gas Sector

Why Use Loading Arms in the Oil & Gas Sector

When you need safe loading solutions that can significantly benefit your oil and gas operations, you need loading arms from Northern Platforms. Loading arms are an incredible alternative to hoses. They can manage the demands of hydrocarbons, gasses, crude oil and more! At Northern Platforms, we are pleased to offer a range of loading arms that provide efficiency and superior performance. Below we’ll discuss some of the benefits of loading arms and how they can improve your operations loading and unloading activities. Keep reading to learn more!

What Are Loading Arms?

Loading arms are self-supporting, highly efficient means of safely transferring fluids or gasses from storage tanks to tank trucks or tankcars. Often used in the road, rail, or marine transportation industry, loading arms are an excellent option for safely transferring chemicals from one holding area to another. Loading arms can be used for top and bottom loading / unloading. Within top and bottom loading arms there are several different styles / models of loading arms that can be utilized to meet your specific needs & requirements. Each loading arm variation is best suited for specific applications and can dramatically benefit the oil & gas, agricultural, chemical, and other industries. Since loading arms have a wide range of use, your operations can see significant benefits. The team at Northern Platforms can assist you with determining the optimal loading arm for your oil & gas applications.

Adaptable for Any Application

At Northern Platforms, various loading arms are available for your operation’s unique applications. For instance, our bottom loading arms give you an improved level of safety as the operator behind this equipment is stationed on the ground beside the loading arm. Bottom loading arms have a spring counterbalance, allowing for faster loading times and a more remarkable ability to reach mobile tanker openings compared to other competing models. These bottom loading arms also improve your operations efficiency, ergonomics, and general safety and cleanliness at your loading rack.

Compared to bottom loading arms, top loading arms are used across several industries, including the oil and gas industry. Top loading arms are available in numerous models and configurations, such as fixed reach and flexible reach arms that can be designed for both closed loop tight connection loading or open hatch splash loading. Other top loading arm models include scissor or boom arms that can be adapted for railcar and tanker truck loading. With options compatible with dry disconnect fillings, hatch plates, and overfill protection, Northern Platforms has the loading arms you need for your railcar and truck loading needs over numerous industries including oil & gas, chemical, agricultural & food / pharma.

Easy to Use

One of the many advantages of loading arms in the oil and gas industry is that loading arms are an alternative to hoses. That means, instead of constantly tweaking and adjusting your equipment, loading arms are ready to do the job and adapt to your loading needs in no time. In addition, loading arms from Northern Platforms can also manage the demands of highly repetitive tasks with minor issues. Unlike hoses which wear down over time, loading arms are more durable. When you need a reliable means of loading and unloading tankers, loading arms from Northern Platforms are here to help!

Trust Northern Platforms for Oil & Gas Loading Arms

Since 2007, Northern Platforms has been dedicated to ensuring that your truck and railcar loading systems are safe, efficient and durable. Northern Platforms understands that your operations need dependable, safe access and loading solutions as a family-owned and operated business. Contact our team today to learn more about our inventory of loading arms and other loading accessories!