Lynden Tank
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Lynden Tank team keeps trailers rolling

Dec. 15, 2022
Company’s certified welders, fitters, and mechanics keep LTI, Inc. and Milky Way drivers on the road by designing, manufacturing, repairing, and testing their specialized equipment

If you want to see a beehive of activity, visit Lynden Tank in Lynden, Washington.

For the past 35 years, Lynden Tank’s hard-working certified welders, fitters, and mechanics have been designing, manufacturing, repairing, and providing specialized testing of stainless, aluminum, and steel tank trailers and truck tanks.

The gleaming tanks carry milk, potable water, juice, fruit slurries, wine, and a variety of other commodities hauled by LTI, Inc. and Milky Way drivers in the lower 48 states.

“We are consistently busy supporting the Lynden companies,” Len Kilmer, general manager, said. “In 2021, we built six sets of new trailers and this year we have received orders for six full tanker sets for farm pickup and four sets to move milk between plants.”

The team also fabricates components for new trailers and replacement parts for all 200-plus sets of Milky Way trailers. In addition, it manufactures running gear, ladders, fenders, light boxes, and manhole assemblies, and finds time to ship parts to other Lynden shops.

Last year, Lynden Tank employees added Milky Way trailer washing and truck repair to their services. Mechanics work on all types of tanks, wiring, ABS systems, and suspension work. Most Lynden Tank employees are certified welders of aluminum, stainless, and mild steel; and can roll, bend, and shear all types of metal.

Supporting LTI, Inc. and Milky Way’s drivers across a multi-state service area requires attention to detail to keep equipment running safely and efficiently. One of the most common repairs, according to maintenance foreman Brian Zweegman, is weld seams. “Our barrels are very lightweight and made out of 14-gauge stainless, so we see periodic cracking in high-stress areas such as weld seams,” he said. “We punch out the affected area and insert a new piece of stainless, then weld and polish it to a food-grade finish.

“Last year, we made over 300 of these repairs.”

One of the team’s most visible projects is the re-jacketing program. “In June of 2021, we began to re-jacket 147 trailer sets that have the original white aluminum jacketing," Len explains. "We are replacing that material with buffed stainless steel that should last the life of the trailers. To date, we have completed 21 sets at a rate of one set every three weeks. This is a seven-year project."

The team is also working on a new project called the Overfill Protection System. "With help from the Milky Way drivers, we were able to establish a placement height for the fill sensors,” Kilmer said. “A light in the FTS cabinet is activated when the milk reaches the food-grade sensor. The ultimate goal is fewer or no trips up and down the ladder to check on the milk level.”

The Lynden Tank team includes Zweegman; welder fitters Griffith Assink, Bruce Bouwman, Corey Clausen, Isaac Gourley, Banner Hafner, and Scott Williamson; welder helpers Levi Bos, Austin Riensmith, and Wyatt Jansen; and mechanics Cody Lagerwey, Bailey Padden, and Shane Van Beek.

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BT staff