Understanding Fiberglass Tank Inspections
The Importance of Regular Fiberglass Tank Maintenance
Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP) tanks, known for their durability and versatility, have become a staple in industries ranging from oil and gas to municipal water treatment.
However, despite their robustness, regular inspections are vital. These inspections are not only crucial for maintaining structural integrity and operational safety but also for extending the tank's service life.
Over time, factors like chemical corrosion, environmental stress, and physical wear and tear can compromise the tank's condition. Therefore, a routine inspection every five years is recommended to detect and address any potential issues early.
Composition and Structure of Fiberglass Tanks
Understanding the construction of FRP tanks is essential for effective maintenance. These tanks are made from fiber reinforcement embedded in a cured thermosetting resin, often with added dyes and pigments.
This multi-layered structure includes an inner surface layer for chemical resistance, an interior structural layer, and an external layer for environmental protection. This composition allows for a high degree of customization and provides strength comparable to concrete.
Fiberglass Tank Inspection Techniques and Standards
Quality Control in Manufacturing
Quality control is integral to the manufacturing of FRP tanks. A stringent 3-stage inspection process, adhering to ASTM and ASME standards, is employed to ensure each tank meets the required specifications. These inspections occur post-corrosion barrier completion, after mandrel removal, and before shipment, ensuring every tank is up to par before it reaches the customer.
Advanced Inspection Methods
Many approaches can be utilized when inspecting a Fiberglass Tank. Acoustic emission testing helps detect internal issues like resin cracking and fiber debonding. Thermographic inspection, using infrared cameras, identifies thermal gradients that signal potential delaminations or repair patches. Additionally, hardness testing of the interior liner and strain measurements are crucial for assessing the tank's condition and structural integrity.
Challenges and Solutions in Fiberglass Tank Inspection
Identifying Common Issues in FRP Tanks
Regular inspections are key to identifying and mitigating common problems in fiberglass tanks. Issues such as erosion, corrosion, and environmental damage can significantly reduce a tank's lifespan if not addressed promptly. Professional inspections provide an opportunity to detect these problems early and implement effective solutions.
Professional Repairs vs. DIY Kits
While DIY fiberglass tank repair kits are available, they often fall short of providing the comprehensive solutions offered by professional services. Professionals bring expertise in assessing underlying issues and use high-quality materials and methods tailored to each specific situation.
Fiberglass Tank Inspection Process
Tank Anchoring Points
Tank Exterior (cracks, insulation failure, paint failure, etc.)
Tank Interior (air bubbles, blisters, chips, cracks, crazing, deformations, delamination, dry spots, etc.)
We will also provide pictures, recommendations, and a results summary. We've performed hundreds of Tank Inspections of Pixelle, Chlorox, Municipalities, and many more industrial facilities.
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Fiberglass Tank Maintenance Considerations
Regular inspection and maintenance are key when it comes to extending the life span of a fiberglass tank. It’s important to keep track of all repairs and replacements made to ensure that everything is up-to-date and functioning properly. Additionally, it's recommended that you perform regular cleaning in order to maintain optimal performance. And finally, always make sure that your staff follows proper safety procedures when working around a fiberglass tank in order to prevent any accidents or injuries from occurring.
What if I need to repair my Fiberglass tank?
If repair work is discovered, we can provide a no-obligation free quote for repairs and work with your maintenance team to make necessary repairs that work within your budget and scheduling needs.
We hope our inspection will help you keep your facility running, provide predictive maintenance needs, and maintain what matters to your company or organization.
What will I need to do for my FRP tank inspection?
For your FRP Tank inspection, we recommend draining, flushing, and cleaning your FRP tank for the interior inspection. We also ask that you provide us with any important data you may have on your tank prior to your scheduled date.
1. FRP Tank size
2. Name of Contents stored inside the tank
3. Manufacturing Information
4. Date of the last inspection
5. Any previous inspection reports you have on file
Why does a checklist matter?
DATA TRACKING - Recording the correct information is critical when performing a Fiberglass Tank Repair or an FRP Tank Reline.
TIME & MATERIAL COSTS - The tank size will determine the time and material costs (i.e., T&M), additional project requirements (e.g. scaffolding), resin choice, and ensure the entirety of the tank is adequately inspected and maintained.
For example, the incorrect size of a stationary fiberglass tank was recorded, e.g., the estimated size was 10 ft in diameter when the actual size is 14 ft in diameter. The Tank size determines the scaffolding necessary to complete the project. If the scaffolding size is too small, the scaffolding will have to be broken down and moved to each side of the tank, costing thousands of dollars for additional manpower and downtime. When it comes to Fiberglass Tank Repair correct information is critical!