Hatch Covers Protect Valuable Cargo


When ZEFTEK® Inc. set out to create a better rail car hatch cover, they turned to RTP Company. "We saw the need for more durability, thus a better seal," said John Anderson, Manager of Engineering for ZEFTEK®. "Other hatch covers were poorly designed and made from blow-molded polyethylene. Our covers use a center hatch ring that exerts tremendous force to create an even seal. The material we selected is able to withstand this pressure."

RTP Company developed a specialty compound for the hood, base, and pellet screen frame that provides sufficient stiffness to keep the cover from buckling. It also exhibits remarkable impact resistance, with notched impact strength of 16 ft. lbs./in. (854 J/m) and a Rockwell R hardness of 115.

"We tried to balance economics with performance," said Anderson. "RTP Company came through with a versatile compound that met our demands for stability, strength, color, and price performance. It’s difficult to find a single material that can do all of this well."

The hatch covers are expected to last many years, so the compound is UV stabilized to maintain long-term cosmetic appearance. With a heat deflection temperature of 240 degrees F/264 psi (116 degrees C/1820 kPa), the covers operate reliably in a wide range of temperatures, from a searing 200 degrees F down to a frigid -50 degrees F.

The hatch cover’s design maintains the integrity of the rail car compartment and protects its contents from damage. The umbrella style seals out water and other contaminants, and baffles in the base prohibit water from drifting to the center of the cover. And, because the compound is FDA-compliant, the cover can be used on rail cars that carry food products.

ZEFTEK® in Montgomery, IL, manufactures vented and non-vented hatch covers with the lowest profile on the market. Contact them at 630-801-1616. Their molder is Paramount Plastics in Lockport, IL, 815-834-4100.

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