Mining and danger, unfortunately, walk hand-in-hand – it’s no wonder that this industry’s safety requirements are stringent. The requirements for the chemical industry are equally stringent, for obvious reasons, as it supplies compounds that are used to extract gold, platinum, copper, zinc, and coal through beneficiation.
Before these chemicals can be used, however, they have to get to the mine … tankers are used for the liquid variety. Once on site, the discharge process presents some major risks to drivers.
Mines have started to put pressure on chemical companies to come up with solutions that eliminate this safety risk to drivers. One such company, Senmin, along with its supply chain and logistics service provider, Cargo Carriers and tanker manufacturer GRW, rose to the challenge.
Andre Jansen van Vuuren, divisional director for marketing at Cargo Carriers, explains: “It is standard procedure in the industry for drivers to climb up onto the top of the tanker, using a ladder, and to physically open the manhole, then to visually monitor the discharge from the top – thereby ensuring that the tanker is empty before departing.”
(In order for the liquid to be discharged from the bottom of the tanker, a manhole, situated at the top of the tank, needs to be opened.) “Opening the manhole allows air inflow from the top – creating a suck and flow type action – allowing product to be discharged through the bottom of the tank,” says Jansen van Vuuren. “If this doesn’t happen, the tank will cave in and crumple like a Coke tin – there are tremendous pressures and dangers.”
Senmin, Cargo Carriers and GRW, in an 18-month workshop process, developed a pneumatic valve (to open the manhole from the bottom of the tank) along with a Perspex “spyglass” on the discharge pipe – ensuring that no product remains inside the tanker.
A test tanker, sporting these innovations, is currently in operation. More will be converted based on its success. “Cargo Carriers has earmarked SHEQ superiority as a game changer in the chemical, mining and fuel industries,” says Jansen van Vuuren. “We have to go beyond client expectations if we are to gain market share in these industries.”