Choosing the right truck loading platforms can help a company increase productivity and safety, as well as complying with national legislation on workers’ security. Find out what exactly are truck loading platforms and the possibilities for increased loading platform safety, with a specific focus on cryogenics.
What is a truck loading platform?
Truck loading platforms are structures that help operators manipulate truck loads, as well as inspecting and operating truck components such as cryogenic tanks. In order to guarantee their safety and robustness, these structures are typically made of resistant materials, such as aluminum or heavy-gauge, galvanized steel.
In the context of cryogenic transport, truck loading platforms are needed for a number of purposes:
- Truck and tank cleaning: these structures must be washed and every potential residue eliminated, in order to prevent incompatible substances from coming into contact. This allows truck operators to guarantee their equipment is ready to carry other types of load.
In the case of hazardous materials, the European legislation regarding the transport of dangerous goods includes specific regulations around minimum standards for washing structures.
- Preventative maintenance: apart from compulsory maintenance programs, preventative maintenance is recommended in order to guarantee a system’s correct and safe running.
These processes include vacuum and helium tests, valve, pump and engine testing and potential repair and replacing operations. Other maintentance operations for cryogenic flat-bottom tanks include degassing and depressurization processes, which help eliminating residual gasses and pressure that might otherwise remain on tanks. A truck loading station allows for these operations to take place in an efficient manner.
This is how truck loading platforms adapt:
Depending on the truck
- Cryogenic tanks are transport solutions installed on a frame chassis that facilitates the moving of tanks thanks to an independent vehicle. While these tanks operate on a similar basis as non-portable solutions, they incorporate a cryogenic centrifugal bomb in order to transfer substances to stationary cryogenic tanks. A truck that transports this type of tank will require portable truck loading platforms or other suitable truck loading solutions.
- Mobile cryogenic tanks include specific structures to allow for easy lifting and transportation operations, as well as other temporary operations. These tanks are known as ISO-tanks, as they present international design codes, standards and measures in order to facilitate intermodal transport, among other operations. Tanker truck loading systems can also adapt to meet these tanks’ specific needs.
Depending on the type of load
Different truck loading platforms are recommended in order to match each type of load’s needs.
For instance, while ISO containers are increasingly popular across a number of industries, especially the food, chemical and cryogenics industries, specific truck loading solutions have appeared to guarantee operations remain safe and efficient.
Regarding operations with dangerous goods, an adequate loading platform safety protocol will enable workers to execute operations without standing on the truck, as well as using just a single piece of equipment.
In the case of cryogenics and, more specifically, LNG, appropriate loading skids (which can resist -196 deg C to +80 deg C process temperatures) represent a necessary requisite to guarantee a safe loading of LNG tank trucks.
This is particularly relevant as the liquefied natural gas industry grows in importance on a global scale.
Safety tips on working with truck loading platforms
Choose a truck loading station that facilitates installation and maintenance
Easy installation and maintenance processes allow for improved safety for operators. There are a number of options that can facilitate installation and maintenance, from using standard components to opting for truck loading platforms that employ modular construction.
In order to guarantee truck loading platforms are safe, it’s important to make sure they respond to each company’s unique operational requirements and challenges.
The following aspects should be taken into account when designing a truck loading custom system:
- The nature of the transported goods and the safety risks involved
- What the loading process will be like and its location characteristics: site features might have an impact on which safety equipment is needed; power and energy constraints must be considered; and climatic conditions for operations must also be contemplated.
- Industry standards and best practices, as well as national and international legislation and internal safety standards
As a result of acknowledging and incorporating these notions into a coherent safety plan, a number of items and actions can be added into truck loading platforms and structures:
- Hatch access systems can be single or multiple.
- Platforms can be double-sided or single-sided.
- Chair supports or pedestals can be incorporated.
- Skid systems, piping or loading arms can be integrated.
- Loading platforms that provide safe access for workers operating at heights can minimize risks involved in such activities. This includes installing handrails or fall-arrest systems, which can significantly reduce workers’ safety hazards related to certain truck loading and maintenance operations.
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Preventative safety measures
Apart from the physical structures in truck loading platforms described above, adopting certain preventative safety measures can help improve a system’s safety and avoid unnecessary risks, which in turn translates into improved productivity.
These protocols include providing appropriate training for onsite operators and guaranteeing certification and safety audits for truck loading equipment.
As part of our work with cryogenic systems, at Cryospain we’ve got proven experience that expands for almost two decades in safe and efficient tanker truck maintenance for cryogenic substances. Get in touch to learn how your company can guarantee safe truck loading operations.