Terminal Tips: Preparing Your Operation for the Coming Winter

By OPW | Oct 09, 2019

“Winter is coming” is one of the most famous, and ominous, warnings to come from a television show. The phrase became an internet sensation with the rise of a certain fantasy series, but the meaning behind these words, one of warning and constant vigilance, is applicable to our world as well. Whether you are facing the fictional “long winter” or the less-magical, but still freezing, winter of the real world, preparation is key.

If you operate a terminal in a cooler climate, you can relate to this popular phrase. When winter does come, it will present challenges that will test your operation and equipment. 

There are some steps you can take in the lead up to winter to prepare your loading rack. The following are some items for your consideration.

Seal Kits

The winter months can bring very cold temperatures that can expose sealing issues. As temperatures drop, seals get harder, which could expose a seal that needs replacement. It’s a good idea to have appropriate seal kits available should these sealing issues be exposed. 

Low-temperature Seals

In extreme temperatures there are special low-temperature seals that are now available for many products (swivels, couplers, etc.). These special sealing compounds handle all fuel blends, while also being able to withstand temperatures well below zero. If you’re in an area that sees these types of temperatures for extended periods, it may be worth considering special low-temperature options. 

API Coupler “Load Head” Maintenance

Winter can be particularly difficult for your load heads. Road sand, salt and ice have a way of building up within your couplers. This build-up can make connecting to trucks more difficult, and it is important to monitor your couplers during the winter. Pay particular attention to the cam arms in the face of the coupler. These spring-loaded cams should move freely. If they don’t, its likely a result of build-up. A garden sprayer with a de-icing solution may be a good way to keep your cams clean during the winter. 

Flange Connections

Before the temperature shifts is a good time to check tightness of your flanged connections. For your Loading Arm connections, we generally recommend a torque value of 24-27Nm (18-20 ft-lbs).

All-Equipment Check

It’s also a good time to give all your components a once-over, being sure to ask these questions.

  • Are your couplers operating properly? 
  • Are your loading arms properly balanced?
  • Are there any leaks?

Once you complete the above list, you’re well on your way to a successful season of terminal operation. As always, you can reach out to your OPW distributor for assistance with any of these items. Wishing you the best of luck in facing the challenges of winter; it’s coming.


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