Maintenance Best Practices for Rubber Lining Tanks and Pipes
Rubber lined piping and tanks are an investment that must be handled with care.
Processing and storage vessels exposed to corrosive and hazardous materials will require regular maintenance to ensure product quality and prolonged life of their protective rubber linings.
Sometimes the service conditions of a rubber lining tank will need to change from one chemical to another or tanks will be emptied for inspection or replacement. In these situations, customers may ask our team about the best way to clean rubber lined equipment.
We’re here to help you preserve your investment with these cleaning and maintenance best practices.
To Clean or not to Clean? That is the Question
When the right rubber lining solution has been specified and applied correctly, our products require little ongoing maintenance. While we encourage planned inspection of rubber lined equipment, we suggest cleaning it as little as possible.
The concern with cleaning is it provides an opportunity for damaging human error. A rubber lining may be designed to withstand corrosive acids and high temperatures, but it is still vulnerable to external factors such as foot traffic and dropped tools. Failures can stem from a ladder accidentally puncturing a rubber lining – leading to costly equipment downtime and repairs.
When Rubber Lining Tank Maintenance is Necessary
To prolong the life of your rubber lined equipment, we recommend regular inspection and maintenance every three to five years.
This consistent timeframe of inspection will help to mitigate smaller issues like minor cracking, blistering or holes that can be easily repaired before becoming a big enough problem to require a replacement lining.
Before an inspection can be conducted, tanks must not only be free of the commodity but adequately aired and cleaned before technicians can enter. Depending on the commodity, the vessel can be rinsed with a high pressure wash with water or the right solvent to remove any residual chemical. After airing out for 24 hours or more, check oxygen levels before entering the tank.
Aside from inspection, rubber lined tanks or vessels may require cleaning before a commodity change. We recommend proceeding with caution in these situations, always consulting the lining manufacturer to assure the right type of rubber is used to contain the new commodity properly. If the new chemical is suitable for the tank lining, proceed as you would when preparing for maintenance. Rinsing the tank and waiting for the vapors to clear before proceeding.
In addition to necessary rubber tank lining maintenance, we have some other recommendations that can help keep your lining in good condition.
Never expose your rubber lined vessel to direct sunlight and other elements like ozone and seasonal weathering. Always store indoors in a cool, dark environment.
If not in service, keep equipment filled with the regular commodity to prevent drying and cracking issues. If this isn’t possible, contact the manufacturer for further storage recommendations. When it is time to return a lining to service, always inspect it before use.
Our experts are here to help. Contact us if you’re not sure whether to repair or replace your vessel’s rubber lining, or if you have questions about your current lining’s inspection.