Unloading railcars is a slow, dirty and dangerous job. When you need to unload material from the bottom of the hoppers of railcars, railcar hopper gate openers can make the job safer and easier.
Gate openers allow a single operator to open or close hopper car gates in a fraction of the time required with manual tools. With the right railcar gate opener, even jammed railcar gates – the kind that require several workers to put in overtime or cause railcars to be shunted to alternate tracks – are easily and quickly opened.
Gate openers come in many different models with different features. Based on factors such as number of cars loaded, unloading site conditions including available utilities (compressed air pressure and volume, three-phase power, etc.), site security, and budget, there are many options. Wheeled-cart, beam-mount and portable gate openers are just a few.
So how do you decide which gate opener is best for your unloading site? Should you choose a fast, powerful model or a manual model? Consider the following to make your decision:
- The condition and consistency of the railcars you process (Old and poorly maintained railcars mean more gate opener power is needed, and varying height capstans mean more height adjustability.)
- The quantity of railcars you process on a daily, weekly or monthly basis (More gates mean more gate opener speed is needed.)
- The condition and location of the unloading site (Remote sites or sites with uneven terrain can mean more gate opener automation, while tight quarters may require more gate opener manual operation.)
- Your budget (Gate openers range in price from $1,000-$18,000, but financing and leasing programs are usually available.)
Trust KC Supply Co. Inc. to help answer your questions about gate openers and help you select the model that best fits your needs and budget. KC Supply Co. offers the industry’s best line of gate openers – the Door Demon. Key safety features of the Door Demon hopper gate openers include:
- Safe, single-person operation
- Helps prevent employee injuries
- Lock out/tag out capabilities (OSHA Standard)
- Powder-coated “safety yellow” for increased visibility
- Removes workers from under railcars during unit operation
- Drive controls return to neutral/stop upon release
Multiple power options are available: pneumatic, AC electric, DC electric, hydraulic and manual. With safety in mind, all Door Demon AC electric units are designed with explosion-proof motors and an enclosed kill switch for quick and easy shut-off. This safe solution is especially important in dusty, dirty environments, in industries where explosion risks are high such as fertilizers, grain, and ethanol.