New equipment makes loading diesel exhaust fluid safer, more efficient

An automated piece of equipment known as an "arm" was designed and installed at the Great Plains Synfuels Plant to make loading 32.5% grade diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) into railcars or trucks safer, less manually intensive, and more efficient.

Installation began May 17 and installation and testing took three days before the first truck was successfully loaded using the new mechanism.

The old loading arm was heavy and difficult to move. Process operations field technicians would manually deploy and position the arm while standing on the truck or railcar. Now, technicians only need to open the railcar or truck hatch and can maneuver the loading arm with controls safely from the platform.

On average, technicians load DEF into about 30 trucks and 20 railcars a week. The efficient, smooth operation of the new arm allows technicians to load about 450 gallons a minute. Typically, it takes about 15 minutes to load a truck and about an hour to load a railcar. Dakota Gas Section Engineer Dan Madche said keeping the trucks and railcars moving through the loading bay is important to limit wait-time for others waiting to fill.

Madche said the new arm is working so well that minor modifications will be made later this summer to allow the new arm to load the other grades of DEF.

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