What is a Pneumatic Tanker?

by Vintage Road Haulage, Perth WA

Pneumatic tankers are an important part of our road transport solution…

A Pneumatic Tanker is a large body tank trailer that empties via a pump and forced air. It is primarily used to transport building materials, food products and chemical products.

Why Are They Used?

Pneumatic Tankers are vacuum-sealed, enclosed tanks. Their main advantages over other trailer types are:

  1. the ease of unloading the tank via the pneumatic system and…
  2. the cargo is in a vacuum-sealed tanker during transport, which prevents outside air from entering. This protects the product from moisture and contaminants such as germs and mould.


Pneumatic tankers are generally manufactured with a single compartment for loading into. The tanks are made of aluminium or steel with capacities ranging from 560-3120 cubic feet. Previously multiple ‘hoppers’ or compartments were also available but aren’t in use much today.

Cargo and Haulage

Pneumatic tankers can haul a variety of loads. Some of the most common are:

  • Building products: cement, sand, ash, and lime.
  • Food Products: Flour, sugar, grains (wheat, oats etc), starch
  • Chemical Products: Plastic pellets, industrial alcohol, dry and liquid chemicals

Safety Considerations

Pneumatic Tankers and Trailers have some specific safety issues that require well-trained and experienced drivers. There are specifically two areas of danger:

  • The pneumatic system uses compressed air to move the load through pipes and compartments. Hence correct mechanical understanding and operating procedures are required to ensure the unloading process is smooth, and that the tanker is well-maintained. The main risks are to the cargo and to the tanker itself due to blockages and breakages, however there are also risks of injuries to staff due to air pressure leaks.
  • Operation of modern Pneumatic Tankers can now be done at ground level which greatly reduces the risk of a fall. In the unusual event where a driver has to climb onto a tanker, there are secure ladders and handrails to reduce this risk.

Vintage Road Haulage transports all kinds of freight around Perth and Western Australia and has done so since 1994. Please call (08) 9410 1726 or email using the contact form.

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what is a pneumatic tanker

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