Cleaning Equipment Improves Ability To Get At Hard-To-Reach Tank Areas

June 1, 1998
Ongoing research and development for tank cleaning systems has produced spinners with improved flow so that hard-to-reach areas like baffles, hoppers,

Ongoing research and development for tank cleaning systems has produced spinners with improved flow so that hard-to-reach areas like baffles, hoppers, and attics located at the front of the tank can be cleaned, said Warren Geiger, vice-president of sales for Gamajet Cleaning Systems Inc.

"We have been trying to respond to your needs," said Geiger. "We are trying to find compromises that give you the ability to clean the vessel in the most efficient and safe ways."

Geiger discussed spinner equipment at the National Tank Truck Carriers (NTTC) annual tank cleaning seminar held April 6-7 in Nashville, Tennessee.

The spray directed by two small spinners strikes at a 90-degree angle, attacking the wall head-on and reaching the more difficult residues, he said. Equipment is smaller and lighter so that it is easier to maneuver than a heavier and larger spinner and reaches closer to the residue target.

"As much as possible you want to cut the angle down to give that kind of advantage," he said. "Pressure and flow can stay the same, maybe even be reduced, if the angle of attack can be changed. We think that's important. If you can cut the pressure down and use less water and chemical, that has to be an advantage."

The cost for two small spinners totals about $5,000 while one large unit costs about $3,500. However, the capital investment is offset in operation cost savings, said Geiger. The larger unit initiates a flow of 100 gallons per minute. The two smaller units together produce 50 gallons per minute, but the energy is specifically directed.

A 21-horsepower pump and spinners for a large unit can cost about $11,500 while a 10-hp pump and two spinners for the smaller unit cost about $8,000, he said. With a 50-hp pump, the system can be bypassed into a receptacle and used to feed the pump.

"Before, you were putting all of the effort into cleaning the easiest part of the tank," he said. "This puts the spray where it needs to be, at the ends of the tank."

Because the industry is extending its cleaning services to portable tanks, the use of the smaller and practical equipment should be considered for the totes, he said. "The large systems are just overkill, and in some cases they don't even fit in the totes. With the smaller equipment, you would have common cleaning, both for large and small tanks. This means using the equipment interchangeably so that your downtime is less. It all comes down to flexibility."

Capital expense of the equipment can be offset in personnel cost that takes into consideration the equipment's small size, light weight, and maneuverability. "It can be used in a one-man operation, is safer to use because of easy handling, and requires less chemicals," he said.

Expenses can be reduced because the equipment generates less effluent, which eases environmental disposal requirements.

Ralph L Nappi, Tank Wash Management Group, said a complacent attitude about boiler maintenance can prove costly. "You have to pay attention to the boiler system."

A well-cared-for boiler requires daily inspection and recordkeeping to extend its life and reach maximum performance. Nappi recommended a condensate return tank that preheats the water before it enters the boiler. Water heated to 170 degrees F eases the boiler's work. Water that becomes distilled in the process helps control rust. Condensate can be returned at a 35% to 40% rate. "This pays dividends because it is already vaporized," he said. "It has heat, chemicals, water softener, and is already deoxygenated."

Nappi noted that 85% of the water in the United States is hard enough to require softening for maximum boiler utility. "One-sixteenth inch of scale deposit costs 15% in fuel efficiency," he said.

He recommended that the water be tested every day at the same hour for chemical readings and that a blowdown procedure be conducted every eight hours. "You should also test the water softener content," he said.

To avoid soot buildup, adjustment of the stack draught may be required. A clear swirling burner flame with a light blue outer border is an indication that the draught is set correctly. "You don't want excess heat going up the stack," he said.

A 100-hp boiler operating at 65% efficiency rather than one operating at 80% efficiency can increase heating oil costs by more than $10,000 annually, he said.

Nappi recommended the boiler be cleaned once a year. A 150-hp boiler should not have more than a one-half pail of sludge when serviced.