Hoses and loading arms are the two most popular products for loading/offloading tank trucks and rail cars. Each option has its purpose as far as moving product, ease of use and increased throughput.
Most of the time, loading arms will be preferable to hoses because they provide superior performance, versatility and durability for most applications. Also, loading arms can be customized for specific applications with a choice of designs, materials and sizes. They can handle liquefied gases, refrigerated or heated products, toxic or corrosive substances.
Many companies prefer loading arms because of they’re low maintenance, have a long life and are very reliable. Loading arms don’t require hydrostatic testing like hoses do either. They have few spare parts, minimal spillage, don’t create trip hazards and they won’t burst like hoses will.
Different types of loading arm designs all have one thing in common, they can be tailored to specific needs.
• Top loading arms: single arm fixed reach, scissor type, supported boom and unsupported boom.
• Bottom loading arms: unsupported boom, A-frame, A-frame spring balanced and counterweighted.
• Marine loading arms for barges and carriers.
Loading arms protect workers and the environment against the devastating effects of hose rupture, pull-apart and failure. They also make quicker connections and load/unload faster meaning better throughput for the company.
There will be times when hoses are the best choice for the job. Hoses are more flexible than loading arms but they’re also more likely to wear out due to weather exposure and being dragged across concrete. Hoses are heavy, bulky and can create a fall hazard. Because they need replacing often, they are also a constant cost.
Three basic types of hoses are:
• Vapor recovery hoses – when lightweight and flexibility are necessary. These hoses are appropriate for diesel, gasoline and lubricating oils.
• Steel braided hoses work well in hydraulic situations that use a high heat and high temperature combination. They have good corrosion resistance as well as resistance to fire and abrasions. These types of hoses have to be durable and reliable, with a high degree of safety.
• Composite hoses work with the widest range of chemicals. They can transfer polar fluids (like methanol and isopropanol) and non-polar liquids (like hexane, benzene and gasoline). Composite hoses have thermoplastic films and tubes that are wound tightly enough to create a barrier to permeation. Composite hoses prevent sparking and arc-over hazards that can happen with metal.
Another instance when hoses are the best devices for the job would be with certain chemicals such as hydrochloric acid or bleach. Hoses used for this purpose are specially lined so they won’t corrode.
When the flexibility of a hose is needed, one way to get around some of the negatives is to use a hose arm. Hose arms keep workers from having to drag heavy hoses around, pulling them up and over railings and other obstacles. A hose arm prevents falls by raising the hose to the top of a tank truck or rail car, so an operator doesn’t have to.
The hose arm can also aid employees by holding the hose while the worker makes the connection. Hose arms make loading/unloading hoses more ergonomic for a streamlined operation and faster throughput. They help free up space on the platform, increase efficiency and revenue by requiring just one worker instead of two.
If your company is looking to improve worker safety and increase throughput, contact Carbis and we’ll show you how loading arms can help improve your business.