Trailers with fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) tanks require different tank cleaning procedures from other types of tanks, said George Felix of Poly-Coat Systems.
He discussed the FRP vehicles at the National Tank Truck Carriers Tank Cleaning and Environmental Council Seminar March 31-April 1 in San Antonio, Texas.
Felix said the tanks built by his company possess two fiberglass skins with a balsa core, which means certain problems can occur if too much heat is used in the cleaning process. The water should not be hotter than 180 F and particular attention should be paid to the use of steam. In extremely cold environments, temperatures inside the tank should be raised slowly to avoid damage. Despite the wash process cautions, the tanks are easy to clean because of their glass-like interior surface.
He said that any observed cracks, exposed fiber, obvious structural issues, and impact damage should be reported to the customer. Valves should be checked.
Care also should be taken while using tank cleaning equipment. Loose spinners can cause extensive damage. Felix recommended rubber-lined cones rather than metal ones. "My concern is the manner in which the cone is installed in the tank, so I would go with a conservative approach," he added. "These are pretty tough trailers, but they do have their limits. We see the most damage around manhole." He added that domelids should not be banged on with hammers, kicked closed, or beat on in any way.
Full coverage of the tank cleaning meeting is in the June issue of Bulk Transporter.