Energy Composites delivers first of several fiber-reinforced tanks

The 43-ft-high tanks are made with a vertical winding device developed by Energy Composites.

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Energy Composites Corp. (ECC, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.) announced on Dec. 4 that it has delivered and installed a large-bore, vertically-wound fiber-reinforced plastic tank to a large North American manufacturer of chlorine and caustic soda. This 30-ft/9.1m-diameter by 43-ft/13.1m-high tank is the first in a series of 16 tanks that ECC is manufacturing and will deliver over the next several months in order to enable the transformation of manufacturing at a significant chlor-alkali plant to the environmentally-friendly membrane cell process. ECC fabricated the oversized tank using a custom vertical winding apparatus that was designed and manufactured by the company for its own use at less than 20 percent of the cost of a commercially manufactured winder.

Sam Fairchild, ECC’s CEO, praised the creativity and innovative spirit of the company’s production staff, noting that, “Our production team, when confronted with the reality that delivery of a new, commercial vertical winder would not happen in time to meet the client’s production requirements, designed and built our own vertical winder at record pace. Not only did the winder perform flawlessly, it produced tank segments that we were able to assemble on the customer’s site without adjustment. I have never seen such ‘zero-tolerance’ results before -- it is really quite remarkable.”

Fairchild added that “This tank was our largest in-plant vessel to date, and our new in-house winder gives us the capability to retool quickly in order to deliver the rest of the oversized tanks required under this contract in advance of deadlines. We also have our horizontal winders working overtime in order to complete the smaller tanks on time and within budget as well.”

Jamie Mancl, ECC’s president, noted, “This and other chlor-alkali tanks are being made using [Ashland's] Derakane 411 and Derakane 470 vinyl esters. Our use of the premium grade Derakane 411 is particularly important since the material contains a BPO/DMA double veil corrosion barrier that will increase, significantly, the service life of these tanks. Our corrosives customers depend on us to innovate in this and similar ways across all segments --  tank design, material selection and manufacturing process -- in order to deliver lower costs, higher functionality and shorter production cycles.”

Fairchild underscored that “This contract, and our performance to date under it, is another example of how ECC is facilitating the clean-tech revolution. By enabling one of our chlor-alkali customers to move expeditiously to the membrane cell manufacturing paradigm, we are contributing to reducing the generation of hazardous wastes such as mercury or asbestos and reducing the amount of energy required to manufacture chlorine. And, because of the quality of our tanks, we also are helping to reduce, sharply, the risk that any of the remaining byproducts will contaminate the environment.”