Pivotal Edge’s Auto Hatch

“Despite all progress in the OH&S field, drivers and other personnel are still required to climb up to loading platforms, access hatches below the level of their feet, and operate cam handles and hatches by hand,” says BIT’s Lionel Oxford.

“The Pivotal Edge range of automated dry bulk tanker covers work remotely, so drivers can open the tank covers from the safety of the ground or even the cab, saving time and ensuring safety.”

The Pivotal Edge Auto Hatch is a 20” manhole and was introduced to the global market in 2005. It is available in pneumatic, manual or electrical actuation. The pneumatic model uses a fully mechanical smart valve with single toggle actuation for operating, until recently only a separate control box was required to operate each hatch. However, recent developments have seen the introduction of a new pneumatic controller which allows more than one – up to four – hatches to be operated by a single pneumatic controller,” says Lionel.

The electrical solution uses rugged electronic controls to operate the seal pressurisation and electric actuators on up to four hatches on a single tanker, while the manual version uses a base version of the smart valve to control the seal pressurisation and a range of high quality flexible shafts and a stepped helical drive to open and close the hatches.

“We all know there have been many a hat, scarf, gloves and glasses dropped into the tank at the time of opening or closing manual hatches, causing lock ups within the delivery line pipework and valves that generally require stripping of the entire valve or delivery line,” he explains.

According to Lionel, manually opening covers wastes valuable time and puts drivers at unnecessary risks. “With Pivotal Edge, there’s no climbing, so you can cut load time. It reduces most of the physical demands on your drivers, keeping your drivers driving,” he says – emphasizing that the Auto Hatch has already proven itself in the field. “The people who designed Pivotal Edge are also the people who use it. No matter the weather conditions or situation, Pivotal Edge has passed every real world test it's been subjected to, and by keeping moving parts to a minimum, maintenance and service is kept to a minimum too.”

Lionel says that Pivotal Edge is easy to install as the tough yet lightweight aluminium construction does not require any structural modifications to be fitted to a trailer. Certified to 250Kpa, it is designed to be retrofitted onto existing 18” and 20” man ways without modification or the need to cut or weld anything due to a simple bolt-on system.

“It’s the only product of its type on the market which draws a vacuum on the seal to ensure that it is fully retracted and does not scuff and wear,” says Lionel. “This was originally developed to overcome the issue of the seals loosing there memory in extremely cold conditions and has since become a standard feature on all the Pivotal Edge products.” According to BIT, this key feature allows the seals to achieve a life of up to 100000 cycles.

During the open/close operation the cover is supported by nylon plates to prevent wear on the pivot point by taking the weight of the cover on the nylon plates and not on the pivot point bearing, which, in turn, will ensure a long life.

According to the manufacturer, the Pivotal Edge hatches have not changed in design since their inception in 2005, and as a result of this, Pivotal Edge can still supply components for first generation hatches and guarantee the availability of spare parts for at least 10 years from the date of purchase.

“When you put Pivotal Edge to work for you, you will soon wonder how you ever got by without it,” says Lionel. “Your load speed will increase, your injury rate will decrease, and your competition will wonder why they are eating your dust. Ultimately the installation of the Pivotal Edge Auto Hatches will provide on-going peace of mind, monetary and safety benefits.”

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