What Types of Industrial Storage Tanks Can Benefit From Robotic Tank Cleaning
Many different industries use storage tanks to hold their products during their production process.
These tanks need to be appropriately cleaned to prevent products from being contaminated, building up sludge, and causing long-term damage to your equipment.
Until recently, humans were sent into industrial tanks to perform deep cleaning. This means they were often put into hazardous conditions and exposed to dangerous chemicals.
However, many industries have started utilizing robots in their tank cleaning procedures.
In this article, we will review which types of storage tanks can benefit from robotic tank cleaning.
Industrial Fuel Storage Tanks
Industrial fuel storage tanks are also known as petroleum tanks. These certified storage containers provide safe storage for chemicals, oil, petrol, diesel, solvents, and other hazardous or flammable liquids.
Industrial storage tanks come in many sizes. On the larger side, tanks in the oil and gas field can hold up to 600,000 barrels of liquid.
Industrial tanks help protect the liquids inside them from contamination while also limiting harmful emission leaks.
There are two main types of storage tanks — aboveground and underground.
The confined space puts employees at risk, not just to falls and other physical injuries. But, the enclosed spaces mean that they are at risk of inhaling toxic fumes. The process is also expensive in payroll and lost revenue.
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Aboveground Fuel Storage Tanks
Aboveground storage tanks (ASTs) are cost-effective and require less maintenance than underground tanks, but when needed, they allow for easier access for conducting safety checks, repairs, and maintenance tasks.
Underground Fuel Storage Tanks
Underground storage tanks (USTs) are used to store hazardous materials and fuels. They must be regulated and registered with the EPA.
Businesses choose to utilize underground fuel storage tanks because the majority (if not all) of the tank is underground and unseen on the premises; it is a better use of space.
It’s argued that underground tanks are safer because if an explosion occurs, the soil around the tank will absorb most of the blast.
The downside of underground tanks is that they are harder (and therefore less safe) to access for repairs and maintenance checks. This setup also allows issues such as leaks and faulty pieces to go unnoticed.
How Robotic Cleaning Helps Fuel Storage Tanks
Using robotic tank cleaning for aboveground or underground tanks will help extend the tank’s longevity and reduce the need for regular maintenance normally performed by a human.
Robotic tank cleaning also allows you to use cameras to direct pressure washing and material vacuuming to clean your tank from a safe, remote location — with no humans required to access the confined space.
Chemical Storage Tanks
Chemical storage tanks are used to mix, process, store, and transport chemical products and raw materials. They are commonly used to hold propane, natural gas, petroleum products, fertilizers, and other chemicals.
Stainless Steel Tanks
Stainless steel tanks are among the more expensive tanks on the market. They are durable and easy to transport; however, their lifespan is shorter, and maintenance is higher than other options. Steel tanks also do not hold up well against acidic materials.
Fiberglass Storage Tanks
Depending on the types of materials they store, fiberglass tanks last longer, require less maintenance, and provide thicker walls.
The most common issue found in fiberglass storage tanks is the build-up of sludge and moisture, which can alter your materials’ state and make your processes inefficient.
Risks for Chemical Tanks
A failing or damaged tank can lead to severe contamination. When tanks are not cleaned and maintained properly, corrosion, deterioration, spills, and leaks can occur. If a leak happens in a chemical storage tank, the effects can be dangerous. The chemicals can run into lakes and streams, contaminate the ground and drinking water surrounding it, or catch fire.
Robotic tank cleaning can manage solids and sludge buildup, reduce leaks and spills, reduce pollution, and increase employee safety.
Related Article: Industries That Can Benefit From Robotic Tank Cleaning
Pulp and Paper Storage Tanks
Pulp and paper storage tanks process and store debarked wood, wash water, and chips and fibers — storing them until they’re ready for further processing.
Improperly cleaning tanks involved in the pulp and paper industry runs the risk of contamination, machine buildup, and sheet breaks. When any of these occur, your processing will be affected. When tanks and machines can’t work as they are supposed to, plants get shut down for investigation, maintenance, and repairs.
Black Liquor Tanks
Black liquor tanks hold the product that is made during the kraft process when pulpwood is digested into paper pulp.
Black liquor is often seen through the lens of the negative effects it has on aquatic life. When the thick, dark liquid leaks from the tank or is not disposed of properly, it can run into lakes, ponds, and oceans. Like many other harmful chemicals, black liquor causes corrosion in the pulp and paper industry on equipment like flash tanks, digesters, tanks, and any other equipment it comes into contact with during the kraft process.
Green Liquor Tanks
Green liquor is made after black and white liquor get smelted together in the recovery boiler during the kraft process. You can learn more about all three types of liquor here.
These chemicals are hazardous and need to be removed cautiously to prevent pollution and harm to your employees.
Benefits of Robotic Tank Cleaning for Pulp and Paper Tanks
Using robotic tank cleaning for pulp and paper tanks can help save water, increase employee safety, and reduce downtime. When tanks are cleaned regularly, all equipment continues to run smoothly. When things run smoothly, plants will not need to shut down for long-term maintenance or repairs.
Robotic Tank Cleaning Can Benefit Your Storage Tanks
Robotic tank cleaning is a versatile cleaning solution that can be used to benefit numerous industries that involve industrial tanks. If you have storage tanks at your plant or facility, you can use robotic cleaning solutions to get a step ahead of the competition.
Aiming to increase efficiency and encourage employee safety while also saving time and money should be the goal of any facility manager.