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DOCKSOLID loading hoppers are state-of-the-art bulk handling solutions for ports, logistics hubs and industrial applications. Designed to to meet the of a busy bulk terminal, DOCKSOLID loaders have proved more reliable, robust and better at controlling environmental dust than any other unloading hopper system on the market.

DOCKSOLID loaders are bespoke designed for each client and each application – ensuring they are made meet the specific environmental requirements, and flow characteristics of the product being handled. DOCKSOLID loaders can be on self-driving, thick-tyred wheels, rail-mounted or static mounted, depending on the process requirements.

Mobile Hopper

Rail-Mounted Hopper

Static Hopper

State-of-the-Art Dust Control Features

For the Market Leading Environmental Hopper

The unloading and handling of many dry bulk materials can generate airborne dust. This dust can pose a health threat to port workers, an environmental hazard, as well as a fire safety and explosion risk. Excessive dust emissions from bulk loading processes are heavily regulated in many jurisdictions for safety and environmental reasons. Dust emissions also represent a loss of product during the handling process. The DOCKSOLID Environmental hopper has a number of dust and environmental control techniques:

Dust Thimble

The dust thimble is an extension of the hopper walls above the grid area, in order to create a sheltered space in which the loading grab can be opened.

The dust thimble reduces exposure of the product to the wind or external influences while it is being dropped into the hopper.

It also reduces the lateral spread of dust when the product is dropped through the trash grid.

As a simple and effective measure to reduce dust spreading during grab unloading, including a dust thimble is recommended in most circumstances, unless there are restrictive height limits.

Non-Return Valve (‘Flex-Flap’ System)

The flex-flap mechanism is a one-way non-return valve system positioned beneath the trash grid.

Made from steel and flexible rubber the flex-flap allows the product that has passed through the trash grid to fall freely into the hopper, but reduces dust rising upon impact with the hopper wall or other product.

Simply, the flex-flap system allows product into the hopper but reduces dust escaping.

Where a dusty product is being handled, this is an effective method of reducing dust emitted and product lost.

Extraction Filters

Dust extraction filters can be positioned along and underneath the hopper’s thimble.

These extractor filters suck air out of the hopper and thimble at a rate required to create significant negative air pressure, keeping the product and dust subdued inside the hopper structure, while removing the dust from the air being extracted.

The reverse-jet filter system collects dust from the extracted air in reusable filter bags, then periodically pulses compressed air through the filters to release the collected dust and return it to the product. The rate of air extraction and the filter cleaning pulse can be adjusted to economise on power and compressed air.

The revers-jet filter can even be set with a ‘Delta(P)’ controller, to vary the rate of filter emptying in accordance with the level of dust present in the extracted air.

When the grab is correctly positioned and opened by the operator, the loading process can be carried out with almost no dust and product loss.

Robust Suspension and Structure

DOCKSOLID proprietary mechanical design for reliability and longevity

A core feature of the DOCKSOLID range is a commitment to reliability and longevity of the units, and the first step to achieving this is a strong and reliable hopper structure and frame.

The hopper’s structure is an external, torsionally stiff frame comprised of vertical columns and diagonal supports, fabricated quality steel to ensure strength. The structure is secured by full penetration welding, with appropriate levels of NDT (non-destructive testing) carried out.

The frame and structure incorporate a bespoke suspension, jacking and steering system to maintain a sound structure and shape, even with travelling and loading on uneven surfaces. The dynamic loads exerted by the flow of bulk product include both torsional and deadweight loads; DOCKSOLID equipment is designed to handle these loads along with occasional overloading and the unintended, but inevitable, bumps and abrasions of a busy bulk handling environment.

DOCKSOLID Suspension System

Our wheel-mounted hoppers are fitted with a jacking and suspension system, designed in-house, to give the mobile units exceptional load handling without putting undue stress on the hopper’s structure and the quay surface during driving and loading. The patented suspension system equalizes the pressure on all four wheels while the hopper is in driving mode, allowing the units easily handle uneven surfaces without putting strain on the upright columns or the hopper structure. In loading mode, the DOCKSOLID suspension system self-equalizes all static and dynamic loads from the hopper structure and the bulk product being handled evenly across four loading pads.

DOCKSOLID Steering System

Wheel-Mounted units have a purpose designed steering system to give DOCKSOLID mobile hoppers a very high level of manoeuvrability, for quick and agile repositioning between hatches, and getting to and from the quay. The DOCKSOLID patented dual tie-bar steering mechanism allows much greater wheel rotation, giving units an extremely agile turning radius as well as reducing power consumption. DOCKSOLID units achieve significantly better manoeuvrability with less wear and tear than mobile equipment using a simplistic or Ackermann steering mechanism.

Loading Pads

Once the hopper is in position, the DOCKSOLID jacking system allows operators a very simple and quick transition between driving and operating modes. While loading bulk materials, the hopper is in operating mode and the loading pads are lowered; the weight of the hopper and the product being handled is transferred from the wheels to the loading pads. This allows greater dispersal of weight over the quay’s surface area. The loading pads work with the suspension system to ensure the structural integrity of the hopper, they also preserve the wheels from excessive loads and therefore reduce the maintenance required on bearings and tyres.

Self-Driving Options

The wheel-mounted and rail-mounted units can be fitted with a self-drive capability. Self-driving hoppers come with an efficient engine to power the hopper’s drive and operation, including dust aspiration filters and other optional features.


Where clients opt not to install a self-drive mechanism, a crane, front-end loader or other heavy vehicle can tow the mobile hopper, via a tow-bar installed into the hopper’s frame. Towed hoppers operate with the same DOCKSOLID suspension, jacking and steering options as the self-drive units – ensuring easy and agile repositioning.

Flexible Operations, Reliable Performance

Clean Discharging to Trucks, Rail-Wagons & Conveyors

DOCKSOLID hoppers can have a single or double discharge; more may be possible on non-standard units with customised design.

Bulk materials are discharged from the hopper through either a slide door or a clamshell door. A slide door can be hydraulically or pneumatically controlled and can be fitted with an optional retractable out-loading chute of an appropriate grade for the product being handled. Products that are particularly abrasive, sticky or bulky can be discharged through a clamshell door. Hopper’s can be fitted with optional retractable discharge chutes (or ‘bellows’) can also be aspirated, to ensure minimum dust emissions as the product is discharged to trucks, rail-wagons or conveyors.

ATEX & Deluge Systems

Where there are bulk materials being handled, there is always a possibility of dust. Where there is a build-up of dust, there is an explosion risk. The DOCKSOLID hopper range can be customised with explosion panels, spark resistant mechanisms and gas deluge systems as required. The level of ATEX (Anti-Explosion) precautions necessary will depend on the products being handled, the surrounding environment and operations being carried out in the hopper’s vicinity.

DOCKSOLID hoppers come with a range of safety features as standard.

And can be adapted to meet the port or operator requirements where they differ from the existing design. Safety features include warning siren and flashing beacons when the hopper is driving, heat and smoke detectors. It is also possible to fit carbon monoxide and nitrous oxide sensors in enclosed spaces. All access platforms, ladders, stairs and the optional operator cabin are designed to include all appropriate hand-railing, easy access and safe use features.

Getting The Right Solution

We Will Work With You to Develop a Cost-Effective, ‘Fit For Purpose’ Ship-Unloader For Your Port