In today’s world of fast commercial activity, disaster relief needs, challenging droughts, and other environmental conditions, there is an increasing need for safe and economic storage of all types of liquids. In this article, we take an introductory look into flexitanks, also known as flexibags. Flexitank storage is a relatively new and efficient way of storing liquids for various applications.
WHAT ARE FLEXITANKS?
Flexitanks are liquid bulk material flexible storage containers. Their capacity can range between 50L to 26 tons, depending on the liquids’ specific gravity. Flexitanks offer their own advantages over other types of liquid storage, such as rigid plastic or steel tanks. For one, they offer the best capacity to weight ratio of any tank type. Moreover, when emptied, they shrink down to occupy minimal space, making them ideal for space-saving applications. Lastly, they are cost-effective and safe for both the environment and the stored liquid.
MAIN FLEXITANK CHARACTERISTICS
The variety of technical fabrics available for manufacturing flexitanks has resulted in a wide range of different flexitanks categories and specifications. Some flexitanks are made for temporary use, while others can contain a liquid for years at a time, or be reused over and over again. The most important factor in determining materials is what kind of liquid will be contained. This informs all flexitank characteristics: external color, inner texture, thickness, strength, and durability.
1. FUEL STORAGE
Flexitanks can be used to house liquid fuel such as gasoline, diesel, and oil. For this application, they are mostly used for storage along with protective lining and berm, offering additional containment safety to the surrounding environment. Flexitanks are most commonly used as fuel storage by military and civilians in emergency situations. Quick access to fuel may be required in emergencies, and therefore flexitanks are likely to be used in field hospitals, emergency airports, and natural disasters.
2. POTABLE WATER STORAGE
As mentioned above, flexitanks are used in all types of disaster relief and emergency operations around the world. In the state of preparedness, flexitanks occupy minimal space and can be easily transported and used on the spot. In addition to fuel, potable water is another liquid that must be readily available especially in a circumstance where it may be scarce. For instance, potable water storage is necessary for field hospitals, emergency airports, and natural disasters. Flexitanks used for potable water need to be made from materials approved by NSF/ANSI 61, AS/NZS 4020, WRAS, etc. Because approved flexitanks can be completely safe for drinking water, they are the default solution for such scenarios.
3. FOOD-GRADE LIQUIDS STORAGE
Flexitanks enable the safe and efficient storage of food-grade liquid ingredients, such as various different kinds of oils, milk, juices, wines, fructose syrup, and others. In such applications, the inner lining of the flexitank may have specialized coating requirements, to avoid microbial contamination and maintain tank cleanliness. Moreover, they need to be made from FDA/EU approved food-grade materials.
4. INDUSTRIAL CHEMICALS STORAGE
Flexitanks are ideal for transporting and storing industrial liquid chemicals. These include liquid detergents, lubricants, fertilizers, liquid latex, and paints, to name a few.
5. SINGLE-USE & TEMPORARY STORAGE
In certain applications, liquid storage is only temporarily required, making purchasing a steel or composite rigid tank not worth the investment. Such situations usually occur in industrial uses or sudden droughts, where liquid storage needs can fluctuate. In such cases, using flexitanks can decrease the overall storage costs. In addition, flexitanks can be used to transport liquids, as they can be filled inside of a shipping container for more efficient shipping of liquids and gels.