Trailer Magazine


Toll enhances dangerous goods transport design

  • Posted on Monday 9th, October 2017.

Queensland-based company, Toll Mining Services, has provided dangerous goods freight services to its customers in northern Western Australia, transporting ammonium nitrate (AN) from its depot in Kewdale, Perth, to remote mine sites in the Pilbara region.

Toll has a fleet of BA triples with a combination of end-tipper and belly-dumper trailers to transport shipments of AN – a chemical compound used as an explosive in the mining industry – along a 2,500km round trip that can take three days and two nights to complete.

During a routine audit of its fleet, Toll had identified several areas for improvement in the design of its belly dumpers to reduce the risk of manual handling injuries to operators delivering AN.

“Spare tyres for the trailer were stored on a rack above the rear wheels, at shoulder height – not only did operators find it difficult to access the tyres to change them, there was also risk of manual handling injuries when removing and replacing the tyres on the transport rack,” Toll said.

“Releasing the trailer’s tarpaulin required the operator to twist a manual handle to wind the tarp back – a movement with the potential to cause back and arm injuries.

“Safety bars were positioned horizontally across the doors at the base of the trailer to prevent them from opening while in transit – these needed to be manually removed by an operator before the material inside could be discharged. Over time, the bars had become increasingly difficult to remove because the weight of the product put extra pressure on the doors, increasing the risk of arm and back injuries,” the company said.

Toll has said that travelling through Western Australia via high temperature and high humidity areas on route to site was causing some solidification of AN in the bottom of the trailer.  This caused a build-up of product that adhered to the inside of the belly dumper and blocked the discharge opening.

“Attempts by operators to dislodge the product by striking the external walls of the belly dumper had the potential to cause damage to the vehicle, and also raised the risk of potential shoulder and back injuries,” said Toll.

Toll engaged engineers, specialist transport equipment manufacturers and worked collaboratively with key customers to refine its belly dumper design.

“The new design still houses spare tyres above the rear wheels to maximise space, but now a simple crane system allows the operator to lift the tyres from the storage area to the ground with a winch and jib – significantly reducing the amount of manual handling required to change a tyre when required,” said Toll.

“The manual handle was replaced by an electronic system – which the operator simply pushes a button on a control panel to wind back the tarpaulin when ready to unload.

“All new vehicles are fitted with a safety handle which replaces the removable safety bars.  An automated system controls the opening and closing of the doors on the underside of the trailer, which is programmed not to open unless the safety handle is correctly engaged.

“The belly dumpers were redesigned to include a wider exit chute with a steeper angle to aid the discharge of AN. The interior walls of the trailer are now lined with a specialised non-stick coating to prevent the product from adhering to the sides.

“Finally, each belly dumper is fitted with a vibrating hammer action unit, which an operator can control as required. When discharging the product, the operator switches on the vibrations to loosen any product stuck to the inside walls, ensuring the entire shipment is discharged at the delivery site,” the company said.

Toll has said the new changes have been well received by its key customers in Western Australia and receival sites. “Thanks to the safety and productivity benefits of the new belly dumpers, Toll has successfully extended contracts with two of its key customers for the transport of bulk dangerous goods to various mine sites in the Pilbara.”

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