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Compiled by Pat Foran, Editor
Tank-car builders such as The Greenbrier Cos., National Steel Car Ltd., TrinityRail® and Union Tank Car Co. (UTLX) offer an array of car designs, repair shops and management services to diverse customer bases. And suppliers such as Salco Products Inc. offer a variety of components to make tank cars safer and more efficient.
What’s new, product and service wise, in the tank-car realm? How are these new product and service offerings designed to make tank cars — and the movement of goods — more safe and efficient?
Last month, we reached out to a sampling of car builders and component suppliers. Their responses follow.
UTLX recently designed a 3-Bolt Manway Cover.
“As the Association of American Railroads has reported, across the tank-car industry, the main component on non-pressure tank cars that leads to a non-accidental release is the manway cover,” UTLX officials said. “These leaks may be due to improper torques applied, missing gaskets, loose fasteners or damaged covers.”
Enter the 3-Bolt Manway Cover.
“As the name states, our new cover uses three bolts, which means it has a simplified torque pattern as compared to 6- and 8-bolt manway covers,” UTLX officials said.
The cover’s most important element? The seal, which was designed in collaboration with Trelleborg, UTLX officials said.
“Traditionally, a flat gasket is used to create the sealing joint in a tank car manway cover. In our new cover, UTLX moved away from a flat gasket because the joint configuration has design limitations,” they said. “Our new proprietary design uses an elastomer seal that allows for the internal tank car pressure to help seal the manway, similar in concept to the seal used in a pressure cooker.”
The seal is the first of its kind in the industry, UTLX officials said. To aid in sealing at low pressures, the seal includes an internal spring, which helps maintain contact pressure around the circumference of the nozzle.
UTLX officials anticipate the 3-Bolt Manway Cover will begin an AAR service trial in the coming months.
Greenbrier offers more than 40 tank-car designs and has built more than 125,000 cars worldwide, company officials said in an email. In North America, Greenbrier operates three certified tank-car manufacturing locations and three certified repair shops, and manages more than 36,000 tank cars.
As a supplier of rail transportation equipment and services around the globe, Greenbrier’s “innovation and engineering expertise pairs with our capacity to build and repair transportation equipment” and enables the firm to provide “an unrivaled level of service” to customers, company officials said.
Greenbrier recently created an online tank-car resource to help shippers (“whether you’re shipping corn syrup or chlorine, Greenbrier can help,” officials said) learn more about tank cars, including upcoming regulation deadlines. The resource is available at go.gbrx.com/tankcars.
TrinityRail offers a complete portfolio of tank cars and a service platform that provides customers with “comprehensive rail transportation solutions,” according to the company’s website.
Through the combination of the company’s broad product line of both pressurized and non-pressurized tank cars — 19 are featured on the website — and extensive manufacturing capabilities, TrinityRail officials believe the firm can “meet any customer need, no matter how specialized.” TrinityRail also provides tank-car linings and coatings.
Given the company’s new vision and value proposition, operating model and purpose — “Delivering Goods for the Good of All” — TrinityRail is in better position to engage more closely with customers to develop product and service solutions, company officials believe.
National Steel Car Ltd.’s 25,500-gallon general purpose (non-pressure) coiled and insulated tank car is designed for 286,000-pound gross rail load service, according to the company’s website.
The DOT-117 compliant tank car is ECP compatible and has full-head shields and 75-psi high flow pressure-relief valves with a protective top fitting arrangement along with bottom outlet valve protection (and improved valve handle).
The company also offers 29,000- and 30,500-gallon models.
Registered with the AAR as a Class F facility, Salco Products Inc. offers a diverse line of tank-car components, including the patented Baier® Single-Bolt Manway System. Salco is the exclusive distributor for Baier Rail.
The system offers an innovative new approach for sealing a tank car manway, Salco officials said in an email.
The new approach to sealing is created by a single bolt and strongback arm design that facilitates using an O-ring seal, which replaces the compression seal used with multi-bolt manways and flat gaskets. Instead, the single bolt drives a cover with an O-ring into the sealing cylinder on the nozzle.
“The pressure applied to the single bolt is only to drive the precision fit cover and O-ring into place within the nozzle,” Salco officials said. “The natural resiliency of the Teflon encapsulated O-ring laterally engages with the precision surface of the nozzle and achieves an effective and consistent seal.”
There are no damaged eyebolts, torquing procedures or unequal loading, they said. The operator can create a more consistent seal in one quick operation with simple hand tools. The system requires no retorqueing, special sockets or tools.
“Baier Rail designed the single-bolt manway from the ground up to meet the specific demands of the tank-car industry and solve the common causes of non-accidental releases” Salco officials said. “Rather than using materials to solve the need for a more consistent seal, Baier Rail rethought the manway concept and came up with a modern solution that increased efficiency, decreased overall costs and, most importantly, reduced non-accidental releases.”
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