How to Properly Remove a Rubber Tank Lining

How to Properly Remove a Rubber Tank Lining 

At Blair Rubber Company, our corrosive rubber linings are built to meet and exceed expectations for longevity and life expectancy.  

A tank lining can commonly last over a decade or more in many applications, keeping vessels and storage containers protected from even the harshest chemicals and corrosive materials.  

Eventually, our linings and any other material combating corrosion, will break down and fail. Regular maintenance and repair can extend a lining’s life, but at some point, a complete removal will be necessary. If the tank is still in good working order, a new lining can be applied, and it can be returned to service.   

To install a new protective barrier, you must first correctly remove the previous rubber lining and assure the tank is suitable for continued use.  

Methods for Tank Lining Removal

There are several different methods for tank lining removal. Different techniques will have increased costs and levels of labor, including both manual and assisted removal methods.  

Removal of a lining is an imperative first step even if a tank will be scrapped. Without proper lining removal, the container will retain some of its previously stored hazardous chemicals, making it ineligible for scraping.   

Ultra-High Pressure Water Blasting

The easiest and most common method for rubber lining removal is ultrahigh pressure water blasting.   

Measured at 40,000psi, ultrahigh pressure water blasting can take a weeklong manual process and shorten it to eight hours for complete removal depending on the size of the tank or container.  Chemical clean up companies throughout the U.S. specialize in this type of removal process.  

Water blasting is the quickest method, but it does come with its own set of limitations. Technicians must use a 36” wand during blasting, making it impossible for use in smaller containment equipment.  

In situations where a technician can’t get inside a tank or vessel with the long wand, companies may offer an automated water blasting option. Popular amongst rail car lining removal, the automated machine is put inside a vessel and blasts the rubber apart.   

Heating Removal

Another method of removal involves heating the tank from the outside.  

As the tank is heated, the cured rubber will become disbanded from the metal. Technicians can then enter the tank and begin cutting large sections of the lining away for disposal.  

This method is faster than typical manual removal but has inherent dangers when applying heat to a tank that has previously held dangerous material.  

Manual Removal

In applications where other methods aren’t an option, total manual removal is possible.  

When using pneumatic hammers and chisels, rubber linings can be removed slowly in two-inch strips. Very tedious and time-consuming, manual removal is a method that is difficult for technicians. Depending on the tank size and number of workers, the manual removal process can take a week or more and requires debris removal. 

Our experts are here to help. Contact us if you have questions about your tank’s lining and the removal process.