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Hopper bottom railcar unloading sites are notoriously dangerous and dirty. A hopper bottom railcar (hopper car) is a type of railcar used to transport loose bulk commodities such as coal, ore, grain, and similar freight. The process of unloading products from these types of railcars, whether covered hopper cars (equipped with a roof) or open hopper cars (open-top freight railcars), can be excessively labor-intensive. The unloading products available at AIRMATIC will make unloading these railcars more efficient and productive, as well as safer. Powered tools such as railcar gate openers and railcar vibrators will make the process of unloading powder and bulk solid materials from hopper cars faster and safer by reducing the manual labor that is always inefficient — and often dangerous.

The railcar unloading process often forms a bottleneck at the very beginning of the processing of powders or bulk solids. First, the gates of hopper bottom railcars are jammed shut. Opening them can be a challenging, time-consuming chore. Pry bars, come-a-longs, chain falls, and sometimes even torches are required. Next, comes the task of emptying the railcar.

Either the hopper car materials won’t flow at all or the flow is intermittent. Sledgehammers, rods, air lances, and vibrators are all employed. Too often, all are ineffective on the material you’re attempting to unload. Finally, as the material flows from the car, dust envelops the site. The wind carries it to nearby buildings or the surrounding neighborhood. Now OSHA and the EPA are potentially involved in your operation.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be like this. We at AIRMATIC can provide you with the products that will make your unloading site safer and more productive than it’s ever been. Talk with us about railcar gate openers and railcar vibrators, truck trap openers and truck vibrators, and railcar pocket-to-undertrack conveyor unloaders. We're ready to share our more than 75 years of bulk material handling expertise and eager to help you eliminate a few problems.


  • Wide range of speeds, power outputs, and motive powers to fit any application and every budget.


  • Prevent accidents and improve safety
  • Unload railcars and trailers more quickly with fewer workers
  • Reduce pollution and emissions

Common Industries

Feed & Grain, Mining, Cement, Chemical, Plastics, Food, Aggregate, Fracking, Coal, and the many other industries that use hopper cars to move bulk materials into or out of their plants. Truck unloading equipment is used in a wide range of industries that move dry bulk solids.

Types of Railcar, Truck & Trailer Openers and Unloading Equipment

Railcar Gate Openers

Railcar gate openers increase the speed and safety of unloading material from hopper cars, allowing a single operator to open and close even the most jammed hopper slide gates in seconds. Available in pneumatic, electric, battery, or manual power to meet your site's power requirements.

Railcar Vibrators

Powerful pneumatic, electric, and hydraulic railcar vibrators eliminate the safety and productivity problems associated with the dangerous, dirty, and slow job of unloading hopper-bottom railcars. Select the force and frequency required to handle the particular type of material you’re unloading.

Trailer Trap Openers

Still opening trailer traps by hand? Reduce worker fatigue and optimize efficiency when opening bulk trailers with a pneumatic, or battery powered opener, or electric portable, rolling cart, or stationary trailer trap opener. 

Truck & Trailer Vibrators

Clear difficult material hang-ups with the push of a button when unloading cargo from trucks, trailers, and other mobile equipment with truck vibrators. Available in 12V or 24V electric, pneumatic, and hydraulic models, to make unloading and spreading easier while eliminating the need for manual cleanout of truck beds or trailers.  

Railcar Unloading Connectors & Accessories

Railcar Unloading Connectors installed between rails improve the unloading of railroad hopper cars by reducing material loss, reducing air pollution, and preventing product contamination. Models available for any hopper car, including double-pocket, single-pocket, round opening, and GATX-type hopper cars.

Practicing Safety in Hopper Car & Bulk Trailer Unloading

It’s important to always follow all safety practices when operating hopper car and trailer unloading tools and equipment. Some of the more important practices to follow include these: Use correct techniques, maintain proper balance, and wear the right protective gear. Missteps regularly lead to worker injuries, and can cause damage to  equipment as well.

Another factor to focus on for proper safety is the weather and other natural elements. Slippery weather such as rain or snow can lead to injuries or equipment damage. Frozen components may lead to jammed slide gates and trailer traps, windblown and bulk solids can cause significant dust/visibility problems.

Finally, worker productivity will also affect safety at the unloading site. An employee who has worked too long and has become overtired can cause serious on-site accidents. Ensuring that employees are not over-worked, are taking hydration breaks in hot weather, and are using the right tools will help avoid lost time due to injuries or equipment damage resulting from misjudgments by fatigued workers at busy unloading sites.

Powered Opening & Unloading Tools vs. Manual Tools

There are many unique benefits to our powered hopper car and bulk trailer opening and unloading tools, and several ways they are superior to pry bars, come-a-longs, hand-cranks and other manual tool options. The most important advantages our solutions provide include:

  • Better Performance: The power of our tools is variable, and they provide a mechanical advantage that can't be matched with manual tools – gates and traps are opened more rapidly and safely, and so unloading times are reduced

  • Speed and Efficiency: Our powered tools enable operators to not only produce better, safer results, but also to complete tasks in significantly less time – all day, every day – even in the harshest or rushed environments

  • Superior Ergonomics: Lever-operated valves and push-button controls enable an operator to easily and remotely open and close slide gates and traps, or speed-up or slow-down the emptying process from a balanced, standing position.  We make it easy to perform difficult tasks without requiring much experience or effort

  • Safety: Repetitive motions, the continuous vigorous application of force, and working in tight, difficult to reach places can cause dangerous, injury-causing strain on the body (arms/shoulder/back). The use of our powered or mechanically advantaged opening and emptying tools will reduce or eliminate these serious, lost-time events and potential workman’s compensation claims


Why Airmatic?

If you open and/or unload railcars, trailers, or trucks you have come to the right place for expert support in getting the work done safely and efficiently. We offer hundreds of products from industry-leading manufacturers. And, our inhouse expertise is also first rate. Check out our informative fact sheets, brochures, blogs, videos, and case studies, but don’t hesitate to reach out for a good old-fashioned conversation. We love to talk with our customers, as it’s the best way to make sure we will thoroughly meet their needs.

And don’t forget about us after you’ve made your purchase. We’ll still be here for you, ready to help you install, operate, maintain or repair your equipment as needed. Count on it.

Learn more reasons to buy from AIRMATIC.

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