There are two types of loading arms. Those that load product from the top of a tanker truck or rail car and those that load from the bottom. Whether you need top or bottom loading arms will depend on many factors including the type of product being loaded, the current terminal set up, vehicle types and more. These factors need to be discussed with the company who will manufacture your loading arms. Today we focus on the different types of top loading arms and circumstances in which they come in handy.
Top loading arms can handle a variety of liquids in a safe and effective way. Loading arms are preferable to hoses when it comes to durability, less leaks and a lot less space when stored. Loading arms are often available in stainless steel, carbon steel and carbon steel with aluminum. Depending on the product or products that need to be loaded, an arm can be lined with PTFE or vulcanized rubber. These types of linings help protect against corrosion or early wear.
Accessories may include safety breakaway valves, swivel joints for flexibility and leak free operations, dry disconnect couplings, level sensors and more. Loading arms can be designed to handle liquids, vapors, chemicals, compressed gas, hot products and food products. These will all need different materials and accessories.
In addition to available accessories, Top Loading Arms come in different configurations, too.
Single Fixed Reach Loading Arms are designed for top loading tanker cars with chemicals and oil products through the top hatch. This type of arm has a consistent operating reach and small working space which means the railcars need to be accurately spotted when loading/offloading. The single arm configuration can be used for tank trucks too as there is some allowance for mis-spotting but not a lot. The single arm has three planes of rotation and is designed for use in top loading installations where the vehicle is located at a fixed distance.
A Fixed Reach Loader is designed specifically for single compartment tank trucks and railcars. The unit has a long rigid tube instead of a sliding tube. While there is a bit of leeway, spotting of tanks and rail cars needs to be pretty accurate.
A Variable Reach Loader is ideal for medium reach applications. It can work well for tank car loading because of its flexibility to reach cars that are mis-spotted. This type of arm is sometimes called a Pantograph Unit and is recommended for reach applications less than eleven feet.
Supported Boom Arms are for top loading tank vehicles through the hatch. This style arm provides dependable, low maintenance service in high usage areas. The flexible range creates a larger working area. This type of arm is designed to withstand heavy use and high flow rates. The standard reach is up to sixteen feet. Supported Boom Arms are the most versatile of all top loading arms, providing the best mis-spot capability and allowing the greatest reach. Because of its boom-mounted design, no heavy loads are placed on the swivel components, so wear is minimized. When not in use, the boom and arm can be folded back against the rack for compact storage. A variety of boom configurations are available to meet the needs of virtually any installation.
Unsupported Boom Arms work well for variable reach applications, especially in larger sizes where outboard components are heavy. It’s a popular alternative when it’s not practical to mount a supported boom arm. The Unsupported Boom Arm can be modified for closed system loading and unloading, and it’s available in different designs to meet the needs of most any installation.
The Unsupported Boom Arm has the same advantages as the supported boom arm, but with a little less reach. It provides good flexibility for mis-spotting, and can be folded back against the rack for compact storage. Just like Supported Boom Arms, Unsupported Boom Arms are designed for heavy use and high flow rates.
Scissor Type Arms are fairly versatile and are designed for top loading installations that need a variable operating range. The secondary arm rotates 360-degrees in the horizontal plane, creating a larger spotting allowance – up to twice its length. This type of arm is used to handle high flow rates and can withstand rough usage in tank truck loading applications. It can also be used for railcar loading installations.
At Carbis, our engineers have a wealth of experience when it comes to designing loading arms for specific tasks. Contact us today and find out how we can help your company be more efficient and get better throughput with loading arms built to suit your needs.