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Camplas celebrates its 5000th Supertank

Posted: Tuesday 9th December 2008

Camplas Technology Ltd is celebrating a milestone with the manufacture of its 5`000th Supertank. The units have been manufactured for more than 30 years and are now believed to represent the largest number of GRP bulk storage tanks in theUK. Most are installed on UK farms to store ammonium nitrate fertilizer but many have been sent across the world to places such as the Artic Circle where they are kept at low temperatures to produce ice for the fishing industry and to remote Tuvalu Islands where they form part of a water treatment plant on Funafuti Island.

They have even been seismically qualified for installation on nuclear power stations.

Chemical resistance and long-term reliability has made the tanks first choice for storing difficult chemicals and food stuffs, and in biodiesel production to store vegetable oil and methanol. They are also eligible for enhanced capital allowances under the Government’s Water Technology List for rainwater harvesting.

Supertanks are manufactured by the composite filament winding process using three helical winding angles designed to provide the optimum strength where it is needed. This gives a tensile strength which is higher than steel, five times higher than ordinary GRP and 20 times greater than thermoplastics such as polyethylene. To confirm those statistics, the tanks are periodically tested to the prototype testing procedure laid down in BS4994, considered to be the most rigorous GRP tank manufacturing standard of its type in the world which involves pressurizing the tanks to 1 bar pressure.

Many of the tanks in service are now more than three decades old, considerably exceeding the original design life of 20 years, which is the normally accepted standard for chemical storage tanks of this type.

Most of the older tanks are 28,000 liters capacity and are considered too small by today’s standards.

Camplas is now taking those smaller tanks in part exchange for 40`000 litre tanks and recycling the 20 year old units, after refurbishment, for rainwater harvesting and biodeisel storage. GRP is notoriously difficult to recycle and the alternative of disposal to landfill was very costly and environmentally unacceptable,” said the company.

A spokesman added “There were some concerns as to whether exposure to ultraviolet light, fatigue and weathering over the 20 to 30 year period had adversely effected the material properties of the tanks and their ability to perform their function albeit on a reduced load basis.

The company took the opportunity of testing a 20-year-old alongside a newly-made tank of exactly the same design and construction.

The test was conducted byKingstonUniversityto the mechanical test requirements of BS4994 1987 and confirmed by the same prototype test which would have been carried out on the first tank 20 years previously.

The results confirmed that there was no reduction in mechanical properties after 20 years of continuous use and exposure in the most severe of conditions. The 20 year old was in fact slightly stronger due to an increase in the modulus and therefore the stiffness.

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