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bluestar

Caution using some Ace Roto-mold inductor tanks

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We have used various Ace (Den Hartog) Roto-mold inductor tanks for many purposes, including fermentation, water storage, low-wines storage, etc. We have use both 60 gallon and 200 gallon inductors. Unfortunately, we have discovered a potential problem when using a particular style of the 60 gallon inductor tanks, due to their design and style of construction. These are the cone tanks that come in a set with matching plastic legs (IBFD60-SET), with similar sets of tank and legs sold in others sizes (15, 30, 85 gallon), but we have only worked with the 60 gallon. While the tanks performed very well for a couple years for fermentation (we keep temperature always below 90 deg F, not pressurized), eventually we noticed mild infection problems recurring after some time. Cleaning and sanitizing did not solve the problem. Close inspection after cleaning revealed that there is a seam that would open up inside near the point where the tank attaches to the legs. There was no observable external leak because the seam opens into a void in the part of the tank that provides an anchor for attaching to the legs. As a result, mash could leak into the void, and because of the narrow split of the seam, would become trapped in there. This would result in a source of infection in subsequent fermentations. We have found that this problem would eventually occur in the seams for every other leg over time. We have also found that this problem would eventually occur with all similar tanks (6 so far). Den Hartog will not treat this as a warranty issue after 2 years.  Unfortunately, you can not replace just the tank, you have to replace all 4 legs and cover as well. You can of course still use the tanks for things like non-potable water or waste storage, if it does not have to be sanitary. We tried to seal the leaks, but without success, since it is hard to get a sealant to attach well to the polyethylene.

We are curious if others have observed the same problem with this product. If so, we suggest you also inform Den Hartog, who claimed it was the first they have heard of this problem, but clearly it is a flaw in design or manufacture, since it occurs so regularly. And if you have found a good means to repair the seam leaks, please post here.

Note we also use their 200 gallon cone inductor tank that sits on a metal support stand. These have no seams, and we have had no problems with them for years of service. If we need to use smaller tanks, we are now considering using the type similar to the 200 gallon that use a metal support stand and have no seams and would sit on a support stand.

As a result, until someone can provide a good repair solution for this problem, we would suggest either 1) not using these for fermentation or other sanitary operation or 2) institute a regular inspection regime to remove these from service upon failure and anticipate a limited service life. It is a shame, because until they fail this way, they provide much utility at the best price we have found for this type of polyethylene tank.

We hope our sharing our experience will be of use to others. If you have other or differing experience with these or similar tanks, consider posting it here.

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As the tanks are pe, they can be welded with hot air and a pe stick. Look around for plastic welding kits. Might work to fix your tanks. 

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12 hours ago, bluefish_dist said:

As the tanks are pe, they can be welded with hot air and a pe stick. Look around for plastic welding kits. Might work to fix your tanks. 

Don't laugh (ok, you can laugh!) but Harbor Freight has a plastic welder that may do the trick. I've never used it but $70 isn't much to invest to see if it would. How do you intend to clean out the void where the legs attach?

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On 1/25/2017 at 7:15 AM, indyspirits said:

Don't laugh (ok, you can laugh!) but Harbor Freight has a plastic welder that may do the trick. I've never used it but $70 isn't much to invest to see if it would. How do you intend to clean out the void where the legs attach?

Thanks, we thought about using a hot air welder, but it is difficult to do so. The seam is well inside toward the bottom of the tank, and the only access is a 12" port at the top of the tank. We would have to figure out a good way to manipulate at some distance through the port, and exhaust the hot air at the same time. In principle, it could be done, but no way to do a quick test without rigging everything up.

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Just now, bluestar said:

Thanks, we thought about using a hot air welder, but it is difficult to do so. The seam is well inside toward the bottom of the tank, and the only access is a 12" port at the top of the tank. We would have to figure out a good way to manipulate at some distance through the port, and exhaust the hot air the same way. In principle, it could be done, but no way to do a quick test without rigging everything up.

Do you have small kids?   ;-)

 

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1 minute ago, indyspirits said:

Do you have small kids?   ;-)

 

LOL. No.

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It is also possible to weld pe with a iron. While not pretty it does work. We welded a filler neck back on a motorcycle gas tank one time with a screwdriver and a lighter.   Heated the screwdriver with the lighter and then used it as an iron.  It made a passable repair so the tank was no longer pouring gas on the rider. 

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22 hours ago, bluefish_dist said:

It is also possible to weld pe with a iron. While not pretty it does work. We welded a filler neck back on a motorcycle gas tank one time with a screwdriver and a lighter.   Heated the screwdriver with the lighter and then used it as an iron.  It made a passable repair so the tank was no longer pouring gas on the rider. 

We are looking at that now, but think we need to get a decent iron, because the final weld needs to be smooth enough in the end not to end up trapping fermentables itself.

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I'd stick with the hot air. It's not fun, but if you use the ones that look like a soldering iron (instead of hair dryer) you can mount it on a stick. If you tie a rod across the manway, it's easier to brace on. 

 

But I think the seams will re-open. It sounds as if they were solvent-welded together, so the voids will extend out about 30 mm. 

Crappy. 

How about a 60 gallon sanitary can liner? Disposable. Cuts down on CIP time, too!

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I have two of these tanks, I have two because one leaked from bottom of the leg seam you mentioned and they sent me another.

What I've been doing is spray balling caustic up to 180F.  Wouldn't that kill just about anything even if something was lurking in a seam?

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I just read this. I am just letting you know I use these tanks also. These tanks are rated at a maximum of X pounds per gallon. I think it is something like 8.5 lb per gallon. So if you are fermenting grain in one of these you are going way over the working limit. Rum is not normally a problem.

They are great for holding finished liquids but not for holding liquids with grains.

They do make a Blue colored tank that has a much higher density rating, but they are hard to find in the smaller volumes.

Just letting you know.

Just use a IBC tote, they are cheap and will work just fine.

Take care.

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Dehner,

My only issue with using a IBC Tote as a fermenter would be that I can never fully empty one of those things.  I use them for low wine storage and there is always 1-1.5 gallons in the damn thing after trying to empty it.  Maybe flip it over?  What do you do?

 

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