Water tanks can be a real hassle to load onto a truck—unless you have a heavy-duty winch on a flatbed tractor trailer, that is. This clearyl proves that a power winch can be used to pull down an industrial-sized water tank right onto a truck bed. Of course, it also helps that this tank is designed to be moved around, as you’ll see that it has a steel apparatus on one side that’s made to fit on a tractor trailer truck bed. Still, it definitely requires some skill to pull this feat off, as bad alignment or a wrong move could cause the tank to topple over.
A Water Tank in the Alaskan Wilderness?
What is this water tank doing in the Alaskan wilderness, you may be wondering? Well, the Alaska North Slope has vast petroleum resources, and there is a lot of crude produion going on in this area. While it may sound strange, water plays a critical role in oil and gas drilling, especially in the fracking process. In fact, drilling and fracking a vertical well requires 387,000 gallons of water on average according to a recent Colorado State University study. As such, drillers need to have access to a lot of water in a given place, so these large tanks need to be easier to transport than your average water tank.
Water tanks like the one featured here are made of steel and weigh thousands of pounds. Larger tanks have “H” supports to prevent bulging, and many come with a pump and motor system. In addition to providing the large amount of water required in the oil-drilling process, these tanks can also be used for other applications such as wastewater treatment.
The Importance of Having a Heavy-Duty Winch
The key to being able to load this tank onto the truck bed is of course the strength of the winch. You need a winch that is capable of handling several thousand pounds of weight to make it work. The winch on this truck can probably handle up to 20,000 pounds. The winch’s capabilities would be similar to the Warn Series 20XL LP, which has these key specs:
- 20,000-pound pulling capacity
- Can pull a full-rated load at only 2,200 psi
- Spring-applied disc brake
- Aircraft-grade two-stage geartrain
- Mounting bolt torque of 159 lb. ft.
- Weighs about 300 pounds
In addition to hydraulic winches like the Series 20XL, there are also electric winches and military winches. These options don’t offer as much pulling force as heavy-duty hydraulic winches, however.
Wire Rope and Tow Rope Strength
Of course, another part of the equation here is having a strong wire rope. For their Series 20XL winch, Warn recommends a minimum breaking strength of 33,600 pounds for their standard drum and manual air clutch long drum model, and a 41,200-pound minimum breaking strength for their manual clutch long drum model. The rope diameter they recommend is 9/16 inches. The rope used in this situation, though, appears to be a recovery strap. Similar to wire rope, the heavy-duty version of these straps offer a capacity of over 20,000 pounds and a maximum load capacity of around 30,000 pounds.
Loading the Water Tank
To pull this off, the truck operator attaches his heavy-duty winch about mid way up the tank. Instead of just backing up to the base of the tank, he puts the truck in neutral and lets the winch pull the truck back to the ideal spot where the tank will tip. This helps him prevent the back of the truck from hitting the tank and knocking it over. Once the winch pulls the back of the truck up against the water tank, the tank begins to tilt on that fulcrum point. This is where things have the biggest chance of going wrong, as the tank can shift to the left or right and fall down on its side.
The key is to line it up correctly, go slow, and keep the winch tight. If its lined up right, the trucks wheels and axle will bear most of the weight and also help cushion the impact when the container falls onto the truck. After the tank tips over on the truck bed and the winch pulls it up far enough, it’s good to go. Let’s take a look and see if this truck driver will have a smooth load or if something goes wrong.
Sources: (1 | 2 | 3)