The Purpose And Advantages Of A Top Loading Arm in the Oil and Gas Industry

by | Dec 19, 2013 | Construction and Maintenance

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In the gas, oil and petroleum business, time is spent loading and unloading the liquid product. It goes from one tank into another. To accomplish this safely and with expertise and efficiency, various pieces of equipment come into play. The device that actually permits the transfer is an essential part of the exchange. It is called a loading arm. There are several different types used in specific situations and for diverse vehicles including the top loading arm.

What is a Top Loading Arm?

A loading arm uses a self-balancing articulated system of pipes comprised of swivel joints and rigid pipes. The former provides some flexibility for the transfer of the fluids. Overall it consists of three parts:

Inboard arm sections

Outboard arm sections

Drop section

In general, truck tanker loading and rail tank loading requires either a bottom or top loading arm. If transfer to and from a marine vessel is called for, the appropriate arm is a marine loading arm.

There are several types on the market. Three of the most popular are characterized as single-arm fixed reach, unsupported and supported.


The process of loading takes place, as implied, from the top of the rail or road tanker. The connection is made through the manhole positioned there. The connection may be “open,” “semi-closed” or “closed.” Variables as to the specific type of seal depend upon the toxicity of the liquid e.g. gasoline, diesel fuel biodiesel fuel and a host of other chemicals, being loaded. A closed seal is required for all dangerous products.

Using right top loading arm for the job offers several benefits.

Benefits of Top Loading Arms

When you choose a modern, technologically advanced top loading arm, you can reap several benefits. Among them are cost savings through increased efficiency. This applies to both the distribution of such products as ethanol and the actual loading of the tankers. In fact, top loading is a safe and efficient means of loading both rail and road tankers. It will decrease loading times which, in turn will cut down on wait times and increase efficiency. Overall using a top loading arm will result in decreased overhead expenses.

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