ETHANOL RAILCAR TOP OFFLOADING SOLUTION: A SKYMOD SOLUTION

This client needed to top-offload rail cars of ethanol and pump them to their above-ground storage tank, which is some distance from the rail tracks; Sky Eye’s custom top access solution helped to bridge that gap. With the mandate to blend all of their fuel with ethanol by 2022 – this SKYMOD solution helps this client progress towards that goal.

In late 2020, the Sky Eye team was awarded a project to build an Ethanol Railcar Top Offloading solution with Top Access Platform in Eastern Canada. The Sky Eye team provided a comprehensive solution, including design, complete engineering work and pre-fabrication. The collaborative design wrapped up in May 2021 and the project was shipped and was on-site in mid-June 2021.

This project had a significantly compressed fabrication schedule, and ultimately we delivered this project in just four weeks, compared to the original 12-week timeline. We were able to achieve this just-in-time delivery by utilizing a creative pre-fabrication workaround.

This project had a significantly compressed fabrication schedule, and ultimately we delivered this project in just four weeks, compared to the original 12-week timeline. We were able to achieve this just-in-time delivery by utilizing a double shift and a creative pre-fabrication workaround. We serialized and labelled every single component before sending it off to the powder-coating facility; there, once powder coating was completed, the provider could package components into pre-determined fabrication groupings and shipped them right to our client’s site. Our QA/QC team was hyper-vigilant in their processes: double-checking to ensure each component was perfectly fabricated and ready for smooth assembly once on-site.

Our client needed to top-offload rail cars of ethanol and pump them to their above-ground storage tank, which is some distance from the rail tracks; our custom top access solution helped to bridge that gap. Our client is responsible to move ethanol for their end-user, who required a top-offload solution to meet their safety standards. This project was the first of its kind for our team as a SKY MOD Railcar Top Access Platform. Our client has the mandate to blend all of their fuel with ethanol by 2022 – this SKYMOD solution helps them progress towards that goal.

This particular SKYMOD Top Access system comprises a fully modular racking system with a custom gangway design. We went with an innovative approach to the top offloader system and designed the system to stay primed when connecting and disconnecting the load arm.

Additionally, we built an air detection system into the arm to detect when the rail car is empty, so air doesn’t get pulled into the system. Generally, rail solutions companies will purchase a racking system from a third-party vendor; however, having Sky Eye fabricate this custom turnkey solution meant more flexibility and a quicker delivery time for our client.

Ultimately, the most significant benefit for our client is that this solution enabled them to set up a new site to meet their operational goals and create a new revenue stream. From a day-to-day operational perspective, this site requires minimal oversight and a small on-site team.

Projects like this one solidify Sky Eye’s place as a premier provider of Railcar Top Access Platforms from right here in Alberta. We’re one of the only providers in Canada who can design, engineer and pre-fabricate a solution like this. As demonstrated in this project, we apply a creative approach and will do everything possible to meet timelines and budgets for our clients.