Impressive savings – both weight and financial – have found their way into Australia’s dangerous liquids tanker operations courtesy of local specialist manufacturer Omni Tanker and its pioneering work in composite carbon fibre materials.
Weight is critical in the road freight world. Cutting a few kilos from a vehicle’s tare weight means dollars in a savvy operators’ pocket and ripping out several hundred kilos has a huge effect on the corporate bottom line.
Using composites instead of conventional steel, Omni Tanker reduces weight in the order of several hundred kilograms and that impressive weight difference is just one of several benefits engineered-in: the bottom line looks incredibly healthy when lifetime costs such as maintenance and downtime are factored into the equation.
Omni Tanker, based at Smeaton Grange in Sydney’s southwest, chose carbon fibre composite over steel specifically for transporting highly corrosive liquids such as acids and bleach and the result of its development work produced safer, lighter tanks that are more versatile than conventional units.
Corrosion resistant, the composite tanks have hugely reduced maintenance requirements and improved asset utilisation underscored by a lower whole-of-life ownership cost.
Last week Omni Tanker, through its North American partner MAC Liquid Tank Trailer (MAC LTT), launched its innovative carbon composite tank trailer into the North American transport equipment sector.
A road transport ‘first’ for the US market, the initial ‘Omni Tanker by MAC LTT’ units hit the North American highways with two fleets, the Pennsylvania-based Brenntag North America chemical distribution company and All Chemical Transport, operating out of New Jersey.
In a move that both quickens delivery and ensures absolute compliance with American highway codes, the Australian-made tanks are shipped to North America and mounted on fully-fitted, high-quality trailer chassis’ designed and built by MAC LTT in Ohio, a move that overcomes any need for specialist engineering before leaving Australia.
MAC LTT also acts as Omni Tanker’s North American sales agent, the collaboration between the two partners underscoring Omni Tanker’s 10 years of research and development into dangerous goods transport.
Speaking about the breakthrough, Omni Tanker chief executive Daniel Rodgers said getting into the lucrative North American market had been on the company’s radar for a long time.
“A major goal has been to take the technology to the North American chemical haulage market and, with assistance from the Australian Government’s Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) and North American Transport Consultants (NATC), we have been able to develop and certify the Omni cargo tank (there) and forge a collaborative partnership with MAC LTT to launch the Omni Tanker (in the US),” Rodgers said.
What sets Omni Tanker’s design aside from conventional tanks is patented composite technology which addresses the limitations of traditional dangerous, corrosive and toxic liquid tankers used for transporting aggressive Class 8 corrosive chemicals or ultra-high purity Class 5 oxidising chemicals.
Conventional metal and fibreglass tanks must use an internal tank lining, often a rubber bladder, as a leakproof container. They not only suffer from strength limitations but also need regular replacement, meaning ongoing maintenance costs and replacement downtime.
Omni Tanker’s tanks are made using a patented three-layer, join-free process which is resistant to harsh chemicals, has no absorption or degradation issues and offers operators predictable performance.
Production is carried-out using a three-step process. The tank itself is formed from ‘Omni Shield’, a polyolefin compound. It is surrounded by ‘Omni Fort’, a fatigue-resistant carbon fibre-reinforced polymer with built-in fire protection and the final ‘Omni Bind’ layer gives strength and durability. Total tank wall thickness is between 15 and 18 millimetres.
The Omni Tanker solution combines a completely seamless polyethylene thermoplastic interior with a high-strength carbon fibre composite exterior.
The result is a product which is not only stronger, lighter and easier to clean than traditional tankers but also one which has a much higher resistance to chemical attack.
Omni Tanker’s revolutionary use of composite materials in its tanker construction has brought significant gains in the efficiency of chemical haulage in Australia and internationally, particularly for the challenging tasks of carrying chlorine, bleaches and various acids.
“Our team is focussed on the development and manufacture of cargo tank equipment to optimise the safety and productivity of chemical transport,” Rodgers said.