Dust Control When Loading Railcars Containing Trough Hatches

Published: October 5, 2020

Companies continue to focus on the health and safety risks created by fugitive dust, writes Kevin R. Peterson, Business Development Director, Vortex Global.

As featured in Dry Cargo International
by Kevin R. Peterson

Railcar with trough hatches.

The impact of dust exposure extends beyond the workplace environment to potentially affect nearby neighbourhoods, waterways, and other local ecosystems. Because of the importance of this issue, EHS (Environment, Health and Safety) Managers are focusing on every aspect of company dust creation and exposure. One such issue is railcar loading.

The fact that railcars are manufactured with differing configurations can pose potential issues with controlling dust created during the loading process. When loading open-top hopper rail cars and covered hopper rail cars with round access loading hatches, dust can normally be mitigated with telescoping loading spouts that offer a dust filtration system (that traps and then re-entrains dust back into the load), or a vacuum system that routes created dust to a remote dust collector.

Problems exist when loading covered hopper railcars equipped with long, rectangular openings called trough hatches. These openings generally range from two to four metres in length. It is difficult for a telescoping loading spout to be lowered and retracted through this type of opening. Dust created from material falling into the car from an exaggerated height builds up within the car and exits unimpeded through the long rectangular opening.

Vortex Hatch Adapter — in this case 0.8m x 4.5m.

To address dust control when loading covered railcars equipped with trough hatches, Vortex Global offers two options: the Vortex Telescoping Loading Spout with optional Vortex Hatch Adapter and the Vortex Dust Retrieval Spout.

Vortex Hatch Adapter
The Vortex Hatch Adapter is a rectangular shield that attaches to the scavenger of the loading spout. It is surrounded by a neoprene rubber skirt that effectively covers the rectangular trough hatch opening to confine dust created during the loading process. Material is being loaded into the railcar through the loading spout while, at the same time, a vacuum is created within the spout that transfers dust to a filter or remote dust collector. The Hatch Adapter may be removed when loading cars that offer round inlet hatch openings.

Vortex Dust Retrieval Spout
The Dust Retrieval Spout is strictly utilized for dust removal and not for simultaneous material loading. There are no material stacking cones within the spout. The Dust Retrieval Spout is utilized to extricate dust that is being created within the rail car from the loading of material through a different trough hatch on the car. The shield at the bottom of the Dust Retrieval Spout helps to confine dust within the rail car while vacuuming it to a remote dust collector.

Vortex Dust Retrieval Spout — in this case 0.55m x 2.4m.

Both the Hatch Adapter and the Dust Retrieval Spout can be manufactured in a variety of sizes to address specific hatch openings. Vortex Global manufactures loading spouts, positioners, and filters for tote, lorry, rail, barge, and shiploading.

About the author
Now in his 25th year with the company, Kevin R. Peterson is the Business Development Director for Vortex Global. A board member of the Industrial Minerals Association of North America, Kevin travels extensively to meet with customers and customer prospects. He has created and shared hundreds of case studies and written numerous articles that share the successes Vortex products have experienced with industries that handle and process dry bulk material.

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