Particularly when it involves the transport of hazardous chemicals, in order to safely and correctly transport bulk liquid, the appropriate equipment must be used. And whether hazardous chemicals are involved or not, when compared to other types of transportation, bulk liquid transport carries higher risks. No one wants to see a tank full of raw materials washing over the interstate whether it’s milk, gasoline, or some other liquid. The cleanup is messy and involved and multi-million-dollar productions can be shut down when these kinds of accidents happen.
Let’s take a look at liquid bulk shipping and the equipment used in the industry.
Compressors and Pumps
For the unloading and loading of bulk liquids, pumps or air compressors are used. Making less of a mess and considered to be more convenient is the air compressor. The reason for this is that a pump can have drawbacks. As liquid passes through a pump, it leaves remnants behind. That means that every time you use the pump, it has to be cleaned. Cleaning after every use is important for couple of reasons:
- The metal can be eaten through, and the pump ruined, by corrosive liquids.
- Any remnants of another liquid can contaminate the current liquid being pumped.
On the other hand, not all liquids can be loaded and unloaded through the use of an air compressor. Flammable liquids are one example. A spark could be created by the static electricity that is present in this situation. And that spells disaster.
Both methods could be necessary if the liquid is sticky or thick.
Volume and Weight
Rather than weight, volume is the key measurement in bulk liquid transport. In order to figure out how many trucks you’ll need to transport liquid, the number of gallons being shipped will come into play.
On the other hand, because you will need to comply with federal regulations, weight will matter as well. Different maximum weights apply to tandem and to single axle vehicles/trailers.
To protect cold-sensitive liquids, insulated trailers equipped with steam coils are used. Through the use of this kind of equipment, the temperature of a product can be maintained. Rather than steam, warmed anti-freeze is used in some trailers, piped directly from the radiator of the running tractor/truck. Which method is used will depend on the liquid being transported.
A typical tank that is used in bulk liquid transport is usually between 7000 and 6000 gallons. In some circumstances, a 5000-gallon tank might be used. This is usually the case if foaming or agitation of the liquid being transported needs to be discouraged or resisted.
Tanks can be non-insulated or insulated and are commonly made from aluminum or stainless steel. They can be divided into four compartments or consist of a single compartment. Some tanks are specially made to be food-grade transport capable.
Determining the Equipment Needed
Any number of factors go into determining what kind of equipment is going to be needed to transport bulk liquids. Some of these are as follows:
- Is special safety equipment required?
- Is center or rear tank unloading needed?
- For unloading, what types of adapters and fittings will be required?
- How many 20-foot lengths of hose will you need for unloading and loading, and what width will they need to be?
- What adapters and fittings are needed?
- When loading, what types of containers will the liquid come from?
- How many gallons will be involved in the move?
- What kind of product are you moving and what type of special properties does it have? (i.e., is insulation required; is it temperature sensitive; hazardous?)
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