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Water tank full of smarts

Editorial by

Aren’t all water tanks the same? To the untrained mind, a Brahman bull could appear to be a descendent of a camel. As a journalist I know my limits when it comes to knowledge about a certain subject. I always speak to an expert if I need more information. Last week I reached out to the industry expert for water tanks, Steve Trail from Nu-Tank. As always, the conversation starts off with “how are you going during the pandemic?”. To my surprise, Steve said things are going really well. “It’s a shame people have finally worked out now how important manufacturing is to Australia but more important having a domestic supply chain. We’re a Queensland based company with a completely Queensland based supply chain. Nu-Tank is one of the only water tank manufacturers in Australia that does not import materials. For example, Nu-Tank only use resin sourced from long established Australian suppliers.”

After a quick tour of the Nu-Tank factory in Rockhampton, I soon learnt that manufacturing a tank is like baking a cake. The ingredients are added, placed in an oven then rotated to ensure every bit of the mould is covered. Again, I was surprised when Steve mentioned not every tank manufacturer use a computerised oven to bake their tanks, noting that he is in a very small bunch that have the technology to do this. Some still rotate their mould over an open fire! Like campfire cooking compared to cooking in a commercial kitchen. I queried would this not risk an inconsistent cooking process, with heat not being evenly distributed, Steve just nodded in agreement.

The tank comes out of the oven as one piece and it stays that way. I have seen tanks with lids pop rivetted and a pole installed internally to stop the roof from collapsing. Steve challenged me to jump on a water tank with a pole supported roof but politely suggested I might get hurt. To my surprise Steve then went and jumped on a Nu-Tank water tank. It’s really impressive to see someone believe in their product so much that they’re willing to put their body on the line. I also learnt that tanks with a roof pole are far more likely to collapse and invert due to the roof being so thin and structurally weak.

The only hole you want in a water tank is where the outlets are installed. This is another area most tanks will fail. It’s called “fitting split” and is caused by pressure building up around the fitting. Steve explained that most manufacturers use brass fittings which over time cause the tank to split. To combat this, Steve ensured his fitting were installed using a process called poly fusing and welding. It’s when you fuse and weld a fitting from the same material the tank is made from – polyethylene. Instead of having to bolt the fittings on, poly welding keeps the tank as one piece.

Once a tank is fitted out to the customers’ requirements, the Nu-Tank dispatch team organise for it to be delivered with their fleet of delivery trucks. It’s an impressive ‘environmentally friendly’ setup with the latest in vehicle tracking and communication. Nu-Tank’s innovation goes beyond its products and services. Just one roof of the Nu-Tank factory is fitted out with 200 solar panels and connected to a massive 60kw system. There’s also an on-premise recycling plant where all the plastic waste is converted to recyclable plastic fragments at a rate of 1,200kg per hour.

After spending the morning with Steve, it is easy to see why every Nu-Tank product is clean, strong and reliable. Steve claims his products are built for Australia’s harshest conditions because the tanks job is to store liquid gold. He also gave me a sneak peak of the new marketing campaign about to launch which I must say is very impressive. Keep an eye out for it! It’s not your ordinary water tank advertisement.

Steve Trail showcasing Nu-Tank’s manufacturing capability to Prime Minister Scott Morrison.