Changes in 3A design standard offer flexibility for sanitary cargo tanks
Sep 1, 2002 12:00 PM
THE LATEST revisions to the 3A sanitary tank trailer standard received a thorough review during the Brenner Tank Expo June 19 in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Edition 05-15 of the Stainless Steel Automotive Milk and Milk Product Transportation Tanks for Bulk Delivery and/or Farm Pick-up standard takes effect in November.
This is the first major update in the sanitary transport tank standard since 1989. The revisions give sanitary tank manufacturers greater latitude in the way they design and construct equipment used to transport liquid bulk edibles.
Bill Werner, Brenner Tank Inc customer service manager, provided a detailed review of the draft 05-15 revisions during the Brenner Tank Exposition June 19. The 3A tank trailer standard remains voluntary, although many states require that sanitary tanks be built in accordance with the standard.
Changes include an expanded scope that moves the 3A sanitary tank trailer standard from a primarily dairy focus to one that covers a wider range of liquid bulk foods, including juices, drinking water, and chocolate.
With the revisions, tank manufacturers will be allowed to use 2B shell materials in foodgrade tanks. The steel is still Type 304 stainless, but it doesn't have as shiny a finish as was required previously.
“We don't know yet whether dairy haulers and other edibles transporters will accept the 2B finish,” Werner said. “However, the 2B finish is actually smoother than the polished finish. Polishing looks nice, but it results in a rougher surface.
“Tanks built to the 2B level still must be pit-, fold-, and defect-free. Weld finish (currently 4F) remains the same. However, tanks with a 2B finish would be less expensive to build.”
Moving beyond the 3A revisions that will be published in the 05-15 edition, Werner cautioned that the 3A organization is taking a hard look at third-party certification for cargo tank builders and other sanitary equipment manufacturers.
“This is still under study and is not part of the 05-15 revisions, but there is a strong likelihood that third-party certification will be required in the future,” Werner said. “It's almost certain to add to the cost of new equipment. Certification costs will be passed along to customers.”
Werner reviewed the 3A program, a 55-year-old system that formulates standards and practices for the sanitary design, fabrication, installation, and cleanability of dairy and food equipment or systems used to handle, process, and package consumable products requiring a high degree of sanitation.
Under the current self-certification process, the 3A Symbol Council accepts applications from equipment manufacturers and fabricators for authorization to display the registered 3A symbol on products conforming to standards. There is concern at the organization that self-certification is no longer adequate.
Five working groups have been established to move the third-party certification project forward. Four of these groups will develop guidelines for auditor qualifications, the auditing process, used/modified equipment issues, and an administrative system for handling authorizations. The fifth group will manage ongoing education and communication projects that address the changeover to the third-party system.
The 3A third-party initiative comes as more third-party inspection and testing is being debated for other types of cargo tanks, especially those used to transport hazardous materials. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) is continuing on a controversial project aimed at taking over Department of Transportation responsibilities for overseeing the design, construction, inspections, and testing of code tanks used to transport hazardous materials. The ASME program would add new layers of bureaucracy and require more third-party inspection.
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