Cargo Tank Maintenance Seminar
Feb 1, 2001 12:00 PM, MODERN BULK TRANSPORTER STAFF
LANCE Hillman, president of Fort Edward Express, set the tone for the NTTC 2000 Cargo Tank Maintenance Seminar when he noted that keeping maintenance expenses under control is necessary for success.
"You can eat up the profit faster than you can make it, based on what goes on in the shop," he said.
Hillman, NTTC chairman, made the comment while presiding over the seminar in which speakers addressed maintenance subjects that ultimately affect the bottom line, including equipment retrofitting, regulation compliance, testing and inspections, and shop management.
The National Tank Truck Carriers (NTTC) conducted the meeting in Chicago, Illinois, October 30-November 1, 2000. Representatives from throughout the industry took part in the annual conference.
On the subject of overturn protection devices, John Cannon of Brenner Tank Inc presented data gathered by a Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association (TTMA) survey. The survey was conducted in response to a study by the Department of Transportation. DOT is studying the feasibility of retrofitting MC300 series cargo tanks with rollover damage protection devices that meet the DOT400 series requirements.
Among the survey queries were costs that would be involved in retrofitting MC306 cargo tank trailers. Estimated costs include cumulative expense for cleaning and degassing (up to $400), testing and inspection ($600), and design and documentation ($1,000). Repairs were projected at $1,000, plus or minus 20%, and in some cases much more.
Single-compartment repairs on MC307 tank trailers could be as high as $2,000 plus or minus 20%, and even more on older units equipped with carbon steel rings. Design and implementation could add up to $1,500. Some tank trailers dedicated to certain products could cost as much as $3,000 to clean, while typical cleaning costs for other types would be about $200. Carriers can expect to pay $450 for tests and inspections, the survey estimates.
Retrofitting MC307 cargo tanks with multi-compartments and MC312 tank trailers will incur similar expense at a minimum. Beyond the retrofit, additional costs come from equipment downtime, tow-away expenses, and rental charges. Another factor is increased weight, approximately 100 pounds for a typical single compartment and 300 pounds for a specialized unit.
While increased rollover protection is on the horizon, plenty of other new regulations are coming into effect. Ed Mansell of Polar Tank Trailer Inc discussed equipping tractors and tank trailers with the new warning lamp circuitry that signals a malfunction in the antilock braking system (ABS). The warning lamp was mandated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Each tractor manufactured on or after March 1, 2001, has to be equipped with an electrical circuit that is capable of transmitting a malfunction signal from the ABS system on the trailer to the trailer ABS malfunction lamp in the cab of the tractor.
Each trailer manufactured on or after March 1, 2001, has to be equipped with an electrical circuit that is capable of signaling a malfunction in the trailer's ABS and must have the means for connection of the ABS malfunction circuit to the tractor.
Trailers manufactured on or after March 1, 1998, and before March 1, 2009, must be equipped with an ABS malfunction indicator lamp.
In addition, trailers that tow another ABS-equipped trailer must be capable of transmitting a malfunction signal from the ABS of the trailer it tows to the vehicle in front of the trailer.
"Several companies have the equipment that will meet the requirements," Mansell noted. "The systems also can handle accessories such as dump valves, slider controls, back-up spot lamps, dome lamps, and rollover warnings."
Another subject in the planning stage is related to vapor-recovery-line configurations. Cannon noted that several manufacturers have been asked by DOT to compile a recommended practice that would apply to DOT407 and DOT412 cargo tanks. TTMA has recommended equipment configurations for top of the tank and bottom of the tank near the outlet.
Standardizing the equipment would control equipment cost by precluding the development of a multitude of unique devices and line designs, according to the TTMA recommended practice. Standardization enables carriers, wash racks, shipper, and consignees to become familiar with a common arrangement, according to information Cannon presented.
The TTMA recommended practice provides the option of using vapor recovery lines as air injection lines for pressure unloading applications. The added versatility would reduce the cost and weight penalties associated with duplicative piping.
The configurations may not work for all applications. Personnel employed by companies using the configurations must determine if a tank trailer's vapor recovery line meets essential criteria for the safe loading and unloading of particular products at specific sites. The recommended practice is not intended to cover the proper methodology for cleaning vapor recovery lines. Such methodology is the responsibility of the cleaning facility and operators of the cargo tank, according to the information.
Bernie Gehl of Bulk Manufacturing Company discussed vent capacity and noted its importance to prevent tank explosion and collapse. Charts are available to determine if venting equipment is sufficient.
"If you don't understand the requirements, call the manufacturer to be sure you have adequate venting," he said.
Chad Betts of Betts Industries noted that if significant modifications are involved in work on the venting system, a certified design engineer (CDE) will be required in the process.
Tom Bonner of Beall Corporation noted that a CDE must be a registered engineer certified by DOT. A CDE must be used when modifications include stretching the length, width diameter, and/or undercarriage. If more than 50% of the shell and heads are involved in modification, the CDE must be consulted.
For example, if an axle is added to increase payload, a CDE must inspect the chassis for structure, overturn problems, and other related complications.
"It's a good idea to use a CDE before work begins to ensure changes are correct," he added.
Equipment and materials used in cargo tank modifications have to meet requirements, as well, and all work must be documented.
"Do not take chances," he warned.
Bill Boyd of Heil Trailer International noted that requirements for decals and labels may be overlooked in the maintenance process. Decals are divided into three classes: danger, warning, and caution. Knowing their correct application and interpretation is essential, he pointed out.
Like the other maintenance considerations, proper utilization of decals and labels can reduce costs. One way is by reducing injuries. The labels and decals act as safety reminders for personnel or others who may be involved with the equipment, he said.
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