Feb 1, 2007 12:00 PM
WITH EFFORTS to green the United States underway, the tank truck industry faces several repercussions not addressed by environmental advocates in their zeal to improve air and water quality.
Not the least are impacts on tank trailer equipment such as seals, filters, gaskets, and sight glasses caused from new fuel additives designed to reduce harmful emissions. Offering some solutions for the situation were Tom Taylor of DuPont, Adam Kline of Regal Plastics, and George Horst of JIKOH Manufacturing, all of whom discussed the issues at the National Tank Truck Carriers Maintenance Seminar.
Taylor said seals can suffer damage from new additives in the market place and emphasized the importance of keeping them in good condition. “Some of the mixtures can be worse than chemical exposure,” he added.
Damaged seals can result in spills, which translates into clean-up costs, as well as the threat of fines and litigation. “In this industry, what you are carrying, generally speaking, is going to be of concern to the public, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), the Department of Transportation, and society as a whole,” Taylor said. “So, you want to optimize that seal performance, avoid costly equipment failures, downtime, and minimize risk.”
He said that carriers may get various types of performance from various seals because of the way they are developed in the supply chain. “The idea is to control that supply chain,” Taylor said, adding the importance of carriers establishing specifications and performance requirements for the seals they purchase. “You need reliable suppliers,” he added. “And ask for product integrity documentation.”
Horst noted the damage to sight glasses from additives, such as ethanol, that can lead to crazing and yellowing. Other additives that can impact the equipment include methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), oxygenated benzene, biodiesel, and ultra low sulfur diesel.
Kline pointed out that the industry has developed products to withstand these various corrosives, and advised careful and periodic inspection of sight glasses to achieve better performance and longer life.
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