A new design for construction vehicles, which allows safe entry to silo tankers via low-level access points, has the potential to be a 'game changer' for the sector. That's according to Wincanton which developed the 'side manway' innovation alongside special transport systems manufacturer Feldbinder, offering optimum safety management, increased payload and reduced environmental impact.
Four vehicles featuring the new design entry points are now being trialled and, if successful, have the potential to become the industry standard.
The engineering solution provides side access to a silo tanker, combining the benefits of both tipping and silo tanks by reducing the potential dangers while also offering a circa 5% payload benefit compared to tipping tanks.
Dave Rowlands, Wincanton's technical director, explained that the traditional method of accessing silo tankers via the top hatch on the roof, which is necessary in order to check for residual product, is an activity fraught with danger and a highly regulated process.
"The height of a silo tanker is about four metres, meaning traditional access from ground level via a ladder and catwalk carries a significant risk of falling in wet, windy and icy conditions," he said. "There's a lot of risk all round, which is why the activity is so highly regulated and policed by Health & Safety regulations.
"This new design means an operator can enter the silo tanker via the side access point. Although this is still classed as entry into a confined space, it has significant reduced risk-potential due to it being near ground level access because it is easier for operatives to raise an alarm or call a colleague."
Shaun Hurst, sales manager at Feldbinder UK Ltd, said: "The development of the new low level side access manway enables Wincanton to utilise silo tankers in operations traditionally requiring tipping tankers.
"The new low level access manway provides a practical and safe method of cleaning out between products. Benefits include improved payload, operational efficiency and safety over the tipping tankers previously used."
Chris Kingshott, Wincanton's managing director for manufacturing, said: "As well as improving safety standards, this new design tank provides the flexibility to carry out a full cleaning regime between loads which will ultimately improve vehicle utilisation and have a substantial environmental benefit.
"At Wincanton we are always looking to add value to our operations and the new silo tankers, with their increased payload capability, further underline our commitment to sustainability which, in turn, helps our customers to reduce their own carbon fooprints."
It is hoped this solution, although still in trial phase, will:
- Give Wincanton the flexibility to move silo tankers between differing products by ensuring a full cleaning regime can be carried out
- Have a significant environmental benefit by offering circa 5% increase in payload capacityover tipping tankers
- Provide the facility for extensive visual inspection of the floor and walls of the tank without the need to enter the tank
- Enable internal sweep-down of the tank from outside of the vessel
- Allow easy removal of residual product from the tank
Dave Rowlands continued: "The early feedback we've had from drivers has been very positive, with reports that the side access is extremely easy to use.
"This innovation, which has already been extensively reviewed and tested for compliance, is unique in this sector and has the potential to be a game-changer, though we do recognise that only through operational evaluation will the full extent of this innovation be proven."