My Pneumatic Tanker Job

Topic 22254 | Page 2

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Amish country's Comment
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Man it has been a busy couple of days! The change in sleep schedule caught up to me finally and this morning was tough leaving my bed at 2:30 am. Kinda lost track of the days here, believe I'm on training day number 7 so I'll recap the best I can for the past couple days and what we did today.

I'll lump days 4-6 together since I can't remember every detail. Everyday we have been going to a different customer so I can see where the silos are and how to get back to them. Getting used to backing these trucks is going to take some time. The long wheel base with the short trailer makes every move of the steering wheel cause a big shift unlike the box trailers in school. I have the concepts just need to put it into practice. I've already noticed improvements but backing doesn't come over night. I've started driving full time loaded and empty and we are running 300-400 miles a day between going to get loaded, driving to customer to unload and back to the yard, all for 1 stop usually. I'm getting more comfortable with everything as far as the tank and unloading goes. Getting into a routine for setting up and understanding how the different pressure systems effect one another and the product flow. For the most part everything has unloaded the same way just a small adjustment for each product. Still mostly doing some form of lime stone and we did a load of coal to a steel plant, pretty cool to watch them move around molten metal.

Amish country's Comment
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Day 7 was sleepy start, my sleep debt has caught up and all I can say is thank God for the weekend. The trainer and I both got to do something new today which was alright but a very long day.

Told we need to do a load of sand for a steel mill. My trainee has never done sand before because it's usually handled by a different division but they have fallen behind. Since it was a new place he drove down to handle the unknowns of the trip. The sand pit is way down near cape May NJ, something like a 3 hour drive one way and then the steel plant is about another 3 hours from there. Leave out around 4 am and arrive a little after 7 so we can see the layout and talk to some other drivers there since we were told they don't open until 8. Overall the setup was similar to the lime quarries except you can get stuck in a sand dune or deep puddle. When backing into the load station we had to lock the differential in order to get enough traction. The whole process was slow and took a little under 2 hours to get in and out where we normally are done in about 30-40 minutes. My trainer drives a little longer and switch out at a rest stop and I drive the rest of the way. The sand handles different from the lime, you can really feel it shifting in the tank. Slow and steady wins the race so slow I go giving plenty of room around me and taking turns smooth and a little under the recommended speed. Finally arrive at the mill and check in with security and hit the scale (we were around 78k this load) before pulling on the side and going into the office to get paperwork signed off on. Trainer good in the driver seat and drives us around to where the silos are. We had to run 30 ft of hose into a building in order to get everything attached. Since it was new to both of us my trainer handled the unload and tweaked things until we had a decent flow going but it still took almost 2 hours to unload. At least in was a nice day and I could see them pouring the molten steel while we were waiting. We both feel like we could've unloaded faster but didn't have the time to keep messing with stuff today since so much of our clock was already used up. Once we finished we checked out at the security building to get our paperwork and head back to the yard. When it was all said and done it was a 13 hour day, 450 miles and only 1 stop.

If anyone has any questions I will try to answer them the best I can with the little knowledge I have.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Amish country's Comment
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Day 9, Monday April 16th. I did train Saturday but it was nothing to write about.

Today we picked up a load of limestone pebble in annville, pa at 4:30 am that was destined for a power plant in Carney point, nj. I am doing all the driving and loading/unloading today so we pull up to the scale and hop out to get our BOL which is all done over a computer in a shack and printed out. Grab our paperwork and head up to the loading area. You have to drive past the building to swing the truck around and get lined up with the loading shute using the mack bulldog on the hood. Once inside the building I pull the parking break and get the harness on and hooked up to the safety system to begin the climb on top of the tank and open all 3 hatches. Unhook and get back in the truck and radio in to the office on the cb where the operator has me pull forward until the shute is lined up with the hole. Managed to line it up perfect the first shot! Once he fills that pocket o pull forward until the third pocket and then when that is finished backup until we line up with the 2nd (middle) pocket. Once done we leave the BOL paper with a sample of the product in a bucket and hook up and close the hatches on the top of the tank. Head on out to the scale and back in the shack to get copies of the BOL with all the weights and times on it, around 78k lbs this load. The ride was about an hour and half to 2 hours away so not a terrible drive to start the day. Once we arrive we walked over the security hut and found out that the quarry didn't give us a quality paper that the plant won't accept a load without so had to wait for dispatch and the quarry to get it straightened out and went over. While we were waiting I went in and watched the safety video and took there quiz in order to add another sticker to my hard hat. As I was coming back out an employee said they received the paper so we were able to finally head back to where the silo was. This one was setup a little different and had 2 hookups on it so I had to back the truck in while leaving enough room to one side for another truck to be able to back in and hookup at the same time. My backing is definitely getting better, 1 pull up to readjust a little and I was where I needed to be. Also, we used a metal hose that the plant provided instead of our own, not sure why. Hook the blower hose up, check my valves(blowoff closed, tip air open, aerators open, supply line closed) and hook up the rear hose the silo. Ready to unload so set the PTO unit on N2 and wait for the pressure on the tank to build. Once up between 12 and 15 psi in the tank I closed the top air, opened the supply line, closed the aerator off and open the product valve for rear pocket. Everything is going smooth. Tank pressure was dropping a little so opened the aerators to shake things up and build the pressure a bit. Still wasn't getting where I wanted so close off the supply line a little bit (this pushes more air to the aerators and puts more into the tank). Trainer comes over and informs me I'm doing a great job and the reason that I can't get the pressure up is because of a leak in the pipe going up into the silo which isn't our problem but the pressure is leaving at the top so there is only so much I can do. Once the back pocket runs empty I close it up, open the second and open the supply line air all the way back up. Every pocket unloads a little different so you are better starting back at the start and adjusting it back as needed. Repeat through the steps until the tank is empty shut everything down and relieve the pressure out and put all the hoses away. Unloaded all by myself with no help. Back to the yard, our day is done and it's only 1:30.

My trainer said that I'm good to go on my own now from what he's seen me doing so I'll finish this week with him seeing a couple more places and then should transfer to the york, pa yard to get a week down there and see the differences. I'm feeling comfortable with it and after the next 2 weeks I'll be in great shape. Once you figure out how it works everything is basically the same with the valves on the tank and even the quarries and customers. It's a ton to learn in a short period but as long as you pick up even little bits each day and put it all together it can be done. Just pay attention and take your time!

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Amish country's Comment
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Day 11, finalized my training today and will do a couple days in the yard I'll be running out of so I can see the differences in the 2 places before going solo. Looks like my first truck with be a freightliner and then there will be a volvo opening up either the end of this month or next month when a driver retires.

We did another load of lime pebble today that went to a place in new jersey. I have a really good handle on the unloading process getting the whole job done in about an hour and getting the paperwork written up while waiting during the unload. I've done everything the past 3 days and feeling good about getting out on my own next week. On the way back I missed an exit coming off a bridge and ended up having to take 476 north to 76 and that is one mistake I won't make again. That traffic was ridiculous for about 15 miles and added a good 40 minutes to our trip! It could be worse though and we didn't have anything else for the rest of the day, roll with the punches. The driving in general has been easy for the most part. A lot of the deliveries are just a little ways off the highway so we spend somewhere around half our day just driving highways.

Im loving everything about this job so far but I can also see where a lot of people wouldn't like it since you do have to climb on top of the tank and hook up hoses, a bit of physical work that goes into it. Once I found out I was finishing up training I went out and picked up some more gloves (the leather ones provided are not going to last much longer. They get beat up pretty quick), a couple claw hammers, rubber mallet and GPS unit.

Excited start doing it on my own. I'll continue to update this with my experiences starting solo, thanks for following along with me so far.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Retired Army's Comment
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Amish Country

Congrats on what you have accomplished so far. I have been following daily.

Retired Army

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

G-Town's Comment
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Congratulations...!

Good luck on running solo. We run in the same region...I'll look for you!

PackRat's Comment
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Congratulations on making it to solo status! Big leap you've made, but continue with your learning. Good luck and stay safe.good-luck.gif

Amish country's Comment
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You never really stop learning right? At least that's what they say haha.

First load assignment. Preloading some pebble lime in annville Saturday at 8:30. Monday I'll be running that down from our yard in York to an energy plant in Richmond, VA. Looks like it's about 4 hours of drive time one way just off of 95 so should be a decent load and a full day on the road. If I have time coming back in going to try and preload again foe Tuesday, not sure what I'm doing Tuesday yet.

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