Industrial Tank Cleaning – Safety First!

Industrial tank cleaning and vessel cleaning has developed as a way to clean tanks and vessels in a safe and efficient manner. The old traditional way to do these tasks was with man power. This involved workers entering container spaces and physically performing the cleaning operations. This has considerable potential dangers for the work force as well as taking up a lot of man hours to complete.

Today, the preferred option for cleaning container spaces is for an automated system that does not involve people directly. A range of methods using various technologies have been developed that now manage to keep the direct cleaning by personnel to a minimum, thereby improving safety.

The industrial tank cleaning technologies that have evolved include vacuum transfer systems, tank cleaning heads and a number of pumping solutions. Vacuum transfer systems involve the remote suction of materials through a filtration system into a removal skip. It is somewhat like a giant vacuum cleaner, and indeed works on a broadly similar principle, but it can cope with difficult materials such as sludge, sand, stones, powder and liquids.

Tank cleaning heads are water driven under pressure. Compact, tightly focussed water jets can efficiently remove deposits and provide cleaning in enclosed spaces where it may be difficult or even dangerous for a man to enter. The heads may also be rotating so that they can reach every possible nook and cranny. They are also remotely controlled and can be produced as specialist heads able to cope with difficult tank entry points.

Pumping solutions are perhaps the simplest and most straightforward type of machinery involved in industrial tank cleaning. Pumps can be entered into a container space and the water or liquid in the container can then be pumped out. This is often employed prior to cleaning, or even after cleaning with tank cleaning heads.

It has not been possible to completely eliminate the need for direct human intervention in confined space cleaning. While automated systems are employed as far as is possible, there often comes a point where deposits need to be removed. In such cases it becomes necessary for a trained expert to enter the confined space in order to carry out the cleaning operation.

Procedures that are proven to be safe and efficient are used. The teams who operate in confined space cleaning are highly trained. The person or persons who clean and those who provide support from the outside both need to know exactly what they are doing. They need to fully understand the safety procedures and the safe working limits involved.

Of vital importance in industrial tank cleaning when it involves a confined space is the air supply to those working inside the container. Constant monitoring to ensure pure air is vital, and a standby or back up system should always be in place to meet any unforeseen emergency.

Industrial tank cleaning and vessel cleaning is a highly specialised task. It requires an extremely well trained team who work together well and who are fully up to date on all health and safety issues. Technologies are constantly evolving and it is likely that this specialised service will continue to improve in efficiency and safety as time goes on.