When it comes to fully discharging a tank, cone-bottom tanks get the job done—except when they don’t. The fact is, cone-bottom tanks fall short on several fronts. Cleaning cone-bottom poly tanks creates unique challenges, they require additional vertical space and safety precautions, and they can cost a pretty penny — especially when you must include a stand and basket to support the cone-bottom tank. And prices can skyrocket in today's market with the costs of metal and special coatings.
Draining the tank is sometimes easier said than done. Space constraints, incorrect fitting placements, and dealing with hazardous chemicals can all complicate routine maintenance.
These challenges can make it tempting to put off regular tank draining, inspection, and maintenance, but that’s a dangerous option that could harm your chemicals, your equipment, and possible even your employees. It can also result in unexpected financial costs for your company.
A better option is full-tank discharge/drainage. Full-tank discharge (flush with the floor) makes it easier to clean and maintain your chemical storage system in the following ways:
- Minimizing residual chemicals. Full-discharge tanks help eliminate remnants of older chemicals that are left behind, preventing contamination of the new batch of chemicals.
- Easier and safer tank cleaning. A proper full-drain system means plant employees don’t need to enter a tank and risk contact with hazardous chemicals in the confined space.
- Eliminating free radicals. When certain chemicals are stored over time, salts and metals fall out of the chemical and collect at the bottom of the poly tank. If you don’t have full-tank discharge, new chemicals that are placed in your tank will mix with the salts and heavy metals and can create free radicals. These free radicals can attack the interior surface of the tank, which can cause damage and compromise the integrity of your chemical storage tank.
- Preserving structural integrity. With full-discharge systems, you don’t need to drill holes in the tank to add side-manways or fittings. Drilling holes creates an opportunity for structural damage, and potential for deterioration of gaskets and fittings. Everything can be handled from the outside of the tank.
Not All Full-Discharge Tanks Are Created Equal
To construct a full-discharge system, some companies manufacture tanks out of one substance and insert a fitting in the mold or install a fitting after production. It’s a common and much less expensive solution in the chemical tank industry, but this method creates new problems, including compromised structural integrity and tank maintenance issues.
Compromised Structural Integrity
An insert, whether it’s molded in or installed post-production, can impact the tank’s hoop integrity. This puts the entire plastic storage tank at risk of structural stress from volatile chemicals. Inserts are metallic and don’t have the same chemical resistance as the plastic tank itself. So chemical reactions where the tank meets the metal can create a stress point for the plastic itself. Before long, it can create leaks or cracks in the tank wall.
Tank Maintenance and Draining Issues
Inserts need to be installed one to two inches above the knuckle radius of the tank. A couple inches makes a big difference, because that means you’ve got two inches of chemical or sediment sitting in the bottom of the tank. Your full-drain system isn’t actually full-drain, and it still requires manual clean-out—a dangerous and time-consuming process.
A Better Full-Discharge Solution
Poly Processing offers a better full-discharge solution that eliminates many of the problems that other full-discharge systems don’t fix. Our innovative Sloped-Bottom Integrally Molded Flanged Outlet® (IMFO®) System features a flange that’s positioned at the very bottom of the tank’s sidewall, below the knuckle radius—not two inches above it. Sloped-bottom IMFO tanks and our vertical tanks with IMFO are the only full-discharge polyethylene tanks to provide a true full drain of your stored chemicals.
The Sloped-Bottom IMFO is a rotationally molded high-density cross-linked polyethylene tank. It is one single piece with no seams. The IMFO flange is molded as part of the tank during manufacturing, rather than being introduced post-production as an insert. The floor of the tank is sloped towards the IMFO flange, giving you the greatest possible full-discharge system in a vertical tank design.
Because the slope and the flanged outlet are molded as part of the tank, there are no fittings and no risk of leaks or stress cracking. The one-piece construction also enhances the tank's long-term performance, since it doesn’t compromise the tank hoop’s integrity or structural design.
Any required maintenance is simple and hassle-free, as the flange extends away from the tank wall. The entire flange system is external to the tank, with easy hardware access from outside the tank—unlike metallic inserts.
Sloped-bottom IMFO for Heavier Chemicals and Substances
The Sloped-bottom IMFO tank excels when it comes to discharging heavier materials such as FOG (fat, oils, and grease) or sludge like materials. The additional gravity feed makes it easy for heavier substances to discharge completely, leaving no residue or sludge to build up.
Cleaning is simple, because there is no need for a confined-space entry. Instead, the sloped-bottom tank can be cleaned from the top manway, or with a spray ball installed in the dome. It’s a solution that’s much safer for your personnel, and more cost-effective.
Get the Full-Discharge System You Need
If you need a full-discharge tank, make sure you’re truly getting 100 percent full-discharge. And make sure you purchase a tank that can give you the structural integrity and longer life you need.
Learn more about full-discharge systems — download the Sloped-Bottom IMFO Tank Guide.