Thawing and heating a rail tank car is necessary to restore heat lost during transit and prepare for unloading. When a full tank car arrives at its destination, sometimes the liquid contents are frozen or are in a highly viscose state and need to be heated and liquefied prior to unloading. Today, many railcar terminals are equipped with steam traps or oil heating generators that pump steam or hot oil through the tank car’s interior heating coil system. Some rail tank cars are also equipped with electrical heating systems. Depending on the starting temperatures of the liquids in the rail tank car and the optimal pumping temperature, heating the contents can take many hours and sometimes days. These long heating times are significantly increased in freezing temperatures. The Pulsair mixing process helps reduce the heating times by over 50%.
5 benefits for using a Pulsair Systems rail car tank mixing system:
1. Faster heating and mixing
The Pulsair mixing process works by sequentially pumping compressed air or industrial gas through the bottom discharge valve into the tank car. The tank mixing process increases the transfer of heat by moving already heated liquids away from the heat source, while bringing the colder material to the heat source, resulting in a faster heating process. This active mixing and heating of the liquid contents is much faster than relying only on the passive conduction method (heating but no mixing) which is the slow migration of energy from molecule to molecule. Heating times are typically cut in half.
2. Uniform tank mixing and temperature distribution
By circulating the liquid contents throughout the tank, uniform mixing and temperature distribution is achieved. Uniform tank mixing produces accurate temperature readings through the top hatch and reduces the risk of burning or scalding of the liquid contents. Pulsair tank mixers can be either integrated into a standard bottom-loading arm or attached directly through the bottom drain outlet.
3. Process Improvement & Reduces Labor Cost
Since Pulsair rail tank car mixers typically cut the heating time in half, rail cars are ready for discharge in half the time, which can significantly improve process efficiency. Additionally, this can result in a reduction in personnel staffing needed during the rail car heating process. Some rail tank car customers have eliminated swing and graveyard shifts after incorporating the Pulsair tank mixer.
4. Reduces energy costs
Heating rail tank cars with steam is an expensive process, especially with rising energy prices. By improving heat transfer and reducing heating time, Pulsair rail tank mixers are an effective method for cutting steam generation costs. But it’s not just the steam.. Pulsair rail tank car mixers can also reduce the cost of virtually any existing railcar heating system – steam, hot oil or electric.
5. Successful proven track record
Pulsair System rail car tank mixers successfully reduce heating and mixing times for liquid sugars, vegetable oils, petroleum based products and additives, chemicals and resins. This efficient mixing process also brings solids and slurries into suspension, and reduces ‘heels’ in rail cars.
Contact Pulsair Systems today for advice and see if this tank mixing system is right for your mixing needs.