Everything You Need To Know About Unloading Dry Bulk Tankers

How Does A Tank Empty

Knowing how to operate a pneumatic tank with a truck-mounted blower can save you a lot of hassle and significantly reduce your offload times. Continue reading to learn about:

  • Dry truck loads
  • Truck-mounted blowers
  • Unloading dry bulk tankers

What Is a Dry Bulk Truck Load?

Understanding the process of unloading dry bulk tankers begins with understanding the cargo. Dry bulk truck loads are unpackaged commodities stored in a tank trailer for transport, unlike dry van cargo. Common bulk commodities include:

  • Sand
  • Clay
  • Plastic pellets
  • Powders 
  • Food-grade bulk freight

The biggest difference between unloading dry bulk tanker trucks and unloading dry vans is the concern of contamination. If even trace amounts of sand, clay, or powder make their way into a load of plastic pellets, the entire load can be rendered useless. This means you need to clean much more intensively after each dry bulk truck load compared to packed dry van freight. In fact, a thorough tank wash performed by a certified facility is often required before a driver pulls up to the next loading area.

What Is a Truck-Mounted Blower?

Truck-mounted blowers enable the discharge of various dry bulk loads. Gardner Denver manufactures many specialized pieces of equipment, all of which are designed to unload materials at optimal rates. 

Depending on the application, including anything from animal feed to construction cement, the truck blower can be configured to operate at peak efficiency. This lowers dry bulk trailer discharge times, getting you back on the road and to the next pick-up faster. 

Installing a truck-mounted blower is no simple task. It requires precision and know-how that only experience and extensive training provides. Finding the right shop to handle this process is essential. Professionals can custom-build your truck-mounted blower system to match your cargo system. 

Before choosing your blower package for unloading dry bulk tankers, be sure to consider:

  • What dry bulk truck loads you plan to carry
  • Whether the product you plan to carry requires special handling
  • The color of the bulk freight
  • How much weight you’re moving
  • How much hose is required

Unloading Dry Bulk Tankers

When arriving at an offloading site, you should always check in to provide any required paperwork and confirm you’re unloading the correct dry bulk truckload. Once the technicalities are taken care of, the site’s personnel can direct you to the proper offloading silo. You should have someone from the area make sure the silo has enough room for the outgoing load. Though rare, an overfilled silo can lead to product and revenue loss. 

Typically, unloading a dry bulk tanker is the driver’s responsibility. Every piece of equipment is different, and you should be able to efficiently operate a pneumatic tank on your truck. After being cleared for disbursement, the driver should pull the tank truck up as close to the silo as possible so the hose sections easily connect the trailer and tank.

To begin unloading a dry bulk tanker, hook up the blower discharge pipe to the hot air piping section on the trailer. First, the tank must be pressurized. Depending on the product being unloaded, you’ll do this through aerator cones or top air piping. 

Once the tank reaches the required pressure at the offloading plant, open up a line control valve. These outlet valves send airflow down through the bottom discharge line. You’ll need to confirm proper airflow and pressure and make sure there are no blockages. The truck-mounted blower‘s release valve could fly off or cause a high-pressure reading if too much pressure is applied. The ideal line pressure is 3 to 5 PSI. If it’s over the desired reading, use the pressure relief equipment.

Starting from the front and moving back on your pneumatic trailer, slowly open the product valve. Once the pressure is leveled, you can completely open the product valve and close the proportioning valve. Matching your product flow to your airflow is critical. The goal is to get the piping as dense as possible without the product stopping. The piping will immediately plug up if the product becomes stuck or blocked.

You want to continuously run this process until the hopper in your tanker is empty. You can tell when a hopper is empty when you hear a loud rush of air and the tank pressure gauge drops rapidly. Once a hopper is evacuated, move to the next one. 

After emptying each hopper, you should take the time to do a cleanout. This involves going back and repeating each step of operating the pneumatic tank offload. Operators should hear the same rush of air sound accompanied by each hopper’s visible drop in pressure. Not performing this cleaning procedure properly can lead to a heel. 

Do you need help installing, repairing, or replacing your dry bulk tanker? Reach out to White Tank & Truck Repair today.

White Tank Is Your Source for All Truck-Mounted Blower Installs, Repairs, and Maintenance

White Tank & Truck Repair has been the go-to source for all truck-mounted blower needs in Missouri, Kansas, and southern Illinois for nearly four decades. We’re authorized distributors of Gardner Denver equipment, and our certified technicians are more than capable of helping you choose the right equipment for your needs. We keep a large inventory of blower parts and accessories so you don’t have to deal with extended downtimes. 

We also have a full-service wash facility that ensures your liquid or dry bulk truck load is completely removed and sanitized. Reach out today to schedule an appointment for truck-mounted blower services or a tank wash.