An Overview of Fuel Tanks and Their Development Over Time

The method of containment of a fluid within a tank has not changed tremendously since the dawn of the chemical, pharmaceutical and oil and gas processing industries. A particular process requires say one or several types of fluid to act as perhaps an additive or a coolant and these fluids need to be securely contained but also easily dispensed and replenished.

At a basic level this receptacle could be the equivalent of vat of beer or a skid steer loader fuel tank or even a milk bottle – depending upon the process depends upon the simplicity or the sophistication of the liquid supply vessel.

Secure containment of these fluids is essential because their leakage can impact severely upon the environment and cleaning up after a spill is very expensive. The design of, for example, a fuel tank is governed by a number of technical and aesthetic considerations which also can have an impact upon the equipment’s design and cost.

The material originally used for a fuel tank was steel which is easily formed and can be securely welded without difficulty. Its form was generally square or rectangular so it could be easily fixed and also contain a simple float type level sending device. The usual downside of steel tanks was their capacity to rust if not correctly protected and this was a known problem.

As the development of moulding plastics advanced it became apparent that plastic fuel tanks offered several advantages over their steel alternates. The rotomoulding process of making a tank involves injecting a known amount of plastic granules into a heated rotating mould tool in the shape of the tank.

When the tool is broken apart after cooling you have a tank of intricate design which can be drilled for pipework entry or fittings for a drain plug or level sender etc. This means the shape of the tank can accommodate the modern styling profiles found today on construction equipment which is what the customer is demanding.

Sensor technology has not evolved very significantly over the years but the method of packaging the sensor element has done so largely due to ever more demanding operating and environmental considerations. For example, modern race and rally cars work at much higher temperatures and pressures than in the past which creates ever increasing design challenges for sensor manufacturers. This in turn filters down to connector and wiring manufacturers who must keep up with the standards set by the switch manufacturer.

Post time: 02-06-2017