Unloading concrete pipe from a semi truck bed can be a long and tedious process, but this impatient truck driver has found a quick and easy shortcut. Instead of unloading the safe, traditional way, He simply uses the forward momentum of the semi truck to roll the pipe off the truck bed. This method is risky because the concrete could crack or break when it hits the ground, but it takes only a few seconds and it’s definitely a lot more fun.
The Right Way
Concrete pipe can get expensive, so you really don’t want to drop it off of a trailer, even though it is easy and looks cool. The traditional way to unload concrete pipe is by slowly rolling it down a ramp. Of course, you’re not going to be able to do this by hand unless you’re the Incredible Hulk or Superman, so unloading is usually done using an excavator. By putting the truck bed on a slight angle and using an excavator bucket to control the rolling, you can get concrete piping off of a truck bed without risking damage.
Of course, before you put the truck on an angle, the pipes should still be secured. Then you can put the bucket in front of the pipes to prevent them from rolling off, and then take the chains and ropes off that are securing the pipes. The excavator bucket can then be used to safely guide the concrete pipe down the ramp. Although letting the pipes just roll down the ramp is safer than dropping them off the truck bed, there is a risk of damaging the pipes doing it that way as well.
The Better Way
Realizing that unloading pipes with a machine such as an excavator isn’t a very efficient or convenient method, H.H. Schmidgall came up with an idea for a mechanical pipe unloader in 1956. This mechanical loader could be easily welded to the back of a truck bed, and consisted of an apparatus with hydraulic forks that safely secured and lowered concrete pipe to the ground. The loader has had a few modifications as time has gone on, but it is still widely used for pipe unloading today. Known as the Pipemaster, the loader is easy to operate and speeds up delivery time. It unloads concrete pipes in a simple four-step process:
- The pipe is rolled to the Pipemaster, which restrains and secures the pipe between two forks. A built-in hydraulic cushion absorbs the initial impact.
- The pipe’s weight causes the forks to lower automatically. The speed of descent can be adjusted, and the loader can also be easily adjusted for different sizes of pipe.
- The forks descend until they touch the ground, cushioned by abrasion-resistant pads.
- After the pipe is unloaded, the forks then go back to their original position and are ready for the next pipe.
Once the Pipemaster’s mounting rack is affixed the the trailer bed, the Pipemaster can be easily attached or removed as desired. It’s a completely self-contained unit that requires minimal maintenance, and it can unload concrete pipes anywhere from 100 pounds all the way up to 20,600 pounds.
The Fast Way
If you’re lucky enough not to damage any of the concrete pipes, the fast way shown here, saves you the hassle of unloading pipes the traditional way or having to buy a Pipemaster. You’ll hear the narrator say there’s a right way, a wrong way, and a fast way, and that this is the fast way. This shows that he’s fairly confident the fast way won’t damage the pipes. It’s clear though that this method increases the risk of damaging the pipes.
I would say the the first pipe that falls has the biggest risk of being damaged, as the other pipes can basically use the previous pipe as a cushion. The key here is to move forward slowly and not use most of the 400 or 500 horsepower that this semi-truck likely has. The unload looks fairly smooth, but we really don’t know if any of the concrete pipes got cracked when they hit the ground. If you ever need to unload concrete pipes and are feeling bold you can try this method, but it’s definitely not recommended.