Ever wonder what goes into making a fibreglass tank? There are various processes but here at TANKS WEST we use an open moulding process which utilises a chopper gun and hand lay-up manufacture of our robust and superior storage and cartage tanks.
The core of the open moulding process is saturating fibre reinforcement with resin, then using manual roll-out techniques to consolidate the laminate and remove entrapped air.
During the fibreglass fabrication process, thin glass fibres are combined using various types of resins to create a product that is lightweight yet durable. Because it features these fibre and resin combinations, fibreglass is known as a composite. Composite is popular because fibreglass does not shrink or expand with changes in temperature, furthermore it does not absorb water, is resistant to chemicals and has high strength-to-weight ratio.
To produce the size and shape of the tanks, single-cavity moulds of fibreglass composites and/or steel construction are used to begin manufacturing. A release agent, usually in either wax or liquid form, is applied to the chosen mould to allow the finished product to be cleanly removed from the mould.
Spray-up or chopping is an open mould method similar to hand lay-up. A chopped laminate has a good conformability and is sometimes faster than hand lay-up. In the spray-up process, the operator controls thickness and consistency. As with hand lay-up, gel coat is first applied to the mould prior to spray-up. Continuous strand glass and catalysed resin are fed through a chopper gun, which deposits the resin-saturated “chop onto the mould. The laminate is then rolled to thoroughly saturate the glass strands and compact the chop. Additional layers of chop laminate are added as required for thickness.
The tanks are manufactured in halves, once completed they are then joined creating the reinforced hoop strength band for extra toughness and resilience, and renowned proven tapered shape.