Yesterday the Loadtec Service team were in Ireland, conducting routine maintenance on some unloading arms we supplied to a pharmaceutical client. Taking advantage of the bright sunny weather, they decided to demonstrate the ease of use and handling of our bottom unloading arm. This is a 3” stainless steel arm with six high integrity swivel joints. At the outboard end is a full bore 3” ball valve and Emergency Release System. The combined weight of those items is approximately 30kg. So imagine trying to have those essential items on the end of a hose. The eagle-eyed viewers will have spotted the hose being carried on the arm. This is an extension spool for ISO tanker that have long rear decks.
The use of articulated pipe systems to replace hoses is becoming increasing popular, especially on bottom loading or unloading operations, where operators are protected by increasing legislation on manual handling and environmental pressures on spill prevention are ever present.
A 3” hose is far cheaper to purchase. However, it requires bi-annual pressure test; it is difficult to stow neatly when not in use; can be dropped; can be driven over; is very heavy to use if fitted with a valve at the tanker connection point and cannot be easily heated or have vent purge valves fitted to it.
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 permissives/warnings of arm condition/position.
Faced with a neat and easy solution or a messy and, potentially dangerous solution, which would you choose?