Loading Arms

April 20, 2023

What is a Loading Arm?

A loading arm would be included in any engineered ready-to-deploy hardware system used to transfer liquids and liquefied gases from one tank to another. It looks like an arm holding the pipe, which is why it is named this way. Loading arms are typically used to load and unload tanker trucks and railcars, but they can also be used to load and unload storage tanks.

Loading arms are typically composed of a series of swivel joints that allow the arm to be positioned in a variety of ways. The number and type of swivel joints required depends on the specific application. They must be designed by an engineer to meet the specific requirements of the application. The engineer must ensure that the loading arm is strong enough to support the weight of the liquid or gas being transferred, and that the joints are properly sealed to prevent leaks.

Different type of loading arms

What are the Different Types of Loading Arms?

There are two main types of loading arms: bottom loading and top loading. Bottom loading arms are typically used for fluids that are not flammable or corrosive, while top loading arms are used for more volatile fluids. Both types of loading arms have their own set of benefits and drawbacks.

Bottom loading arms are generally easier to use and require less training than top loading arms. They are also less likely to spill since the fluid is loaded from the bottom up. However, bottom loading arms can be more expensive, and they are not always compatible with all types of tanks.

Top loading arms offer several advantages over bottom loading arms. They are easier to clean and maintain, and they are less likely to leak. Additionally, top loading arms can be used with a wider variety of tank types. They require more training to use properly, and they can be more dangerous since the fluid is loaded from the top down. However, a raised loading arm also gives the best opportunity to optimise the dispensed flow rate of the fuel, with over 1000lpm able to be achieved.

Safety, Installation, & Maintenance


The handling, using, and maintaining of the loading arm may pose additional risks. There is also guidance on how to prevent any unnecessary risks though, which should be followed by employees engaged in the use of a loading arm. Extra caution should be exercised. A loading arm will support the weight of the refuelling hose and coupling, and protect them from any strain and minimise slip and trip hazards. There are still risks though, so all individuals who work with or around the loading arm should be made aware of these risks.


All body parts should never be near the spinning or moving components of the loading arm. Pinch point dangers are brought on by the revolving and moving components of a loading arm and have the potential to result in significant injury or even death. Always keep body parts away from pinch points between both the loading arm and the container, which could result in fatalities or major injuries.

Danger of explosion

The loading arm and the receiving loading container should always be securely grounded. Static electricity is produced by the passage of goods. Failure to ground the receiving loading container and the loading arm could result in an explosion that damages nearby property, causes severe injuries to people nearby, and even results in fatalities.


Always use proper personal protection, such as hard helmets, gloves, and steel-toed work boots, when installing and utilising the loading arm. Wearing insufficient personal protection could result in fatalities or major injuries to people. Always adhere to the instructions provided in Banlaw’s manual. Failure to adhere to the instructions provided in this manual may result in significant bodily harm or death, as well as damage to the loading arm.


The Loading Arm should only ever be used for the specified function. It is risky to use the loading arm for anything other than what it is intended for, as doing so could result in physical harm and equipment damage.

Getting Ready for Installation

Loading Arms can be partially disassembled and placed in crates for quick and safe shipping. One or more boxes containing fastening supplies for the installation of the loading arms may be included in each crate. These containers could also include other equipment. Save these crates after assembling the loading arm so you can use them later to store or disassemble the loading arm.

Always make sure the pipe supporting the loading arm is straight, level, and strong enough to withstand the weight and stresses of the arm. Failing to balance the supporting piping could harm the loading arm, harm people seriously, and even result in fatalities. The Loading Arm does not have a mechanism to release pressure brought on by changes in temperature and the thermal expansion of transfer medium. To release this pressure, a valve for pressure relief may be needed in front of the loading arm’s inlet. Never allow this pressure to get above 10 percent of the pressure level. Neglecting to connect a pressure release valve could result in both physical injury and damage to the loading arm.

Assembling a Loading Arm

Examine the assembly drawing and make sure that every component is there and in great condition. If you discover any components that are broken or missing, contact your manufacturer right away.

Thoroughly clean all debris from the threads and the Loading Arm’s other components. Start assembling from the Loading Arm’s intake end. When creating a threaded connection, generously treat the first three or four male threads with a suitable and compatible thread sealant. Always use strap wrenches on aluminium parts and strap wrenches whenever possible. Using a pipe wrench on aluminium components could result in damage.

maintaining loading arms

Maintaining Loading Arm

Always secure the loading arm and release all tension from the counterweight, which is a torsion spring, before doing any repair. There is a significant amount of energy stored in the counterbalance spring on the loading arm. Before starting any disassembly, you must release this energy. Before maintenance, the counterbalance spring of the loading arm must be completely untangled.

To keep your loading arm in good working order, you must carry out the following servicing tasks:

  • Maintenance should only be carried out by qualified individuals
  • The entire installation should be turned off and shut down before beginning any maintenance
  • Before doing any maintenance, disconnect all media from the loading arm
  • Unauthorised personnel must not be allowed to stand underneath or close to the loading arm while maintenance is being performed
  • The Loading Arm inlet supply pipe, suspension, and spring tension must be inspected and verified before the system is restarted during and after any maintenance
  • Check the Loading Arm’s bolts and suspension points at least once every three months
  • Check for leaks in the loading arm at least once every three months; if you are transporting toxic or dangerous media, check more frequently
  • The Loading Arm should be tested in accordance with facility or local regulations before its next use following any maintenance.

For more information on loading arms, contact Banlaw. We are experienced and trained to provide you with the best refuelling solutions. Our rugged, dependable loading arms enable faster, safer, more efficient refuelling. Contact a Banlaw representative by calling 1300 226 529 or +61 8 9209 1514, sending an email to sales@banlaw.com or filling in our online contact form, and a friendly member of our team will be in touch with you shortly.