Tank cleaning equipment

Does new technology for large tanks pass the runtime and maintenance test? – A case story

Tank cleaning technology for large tanks, tanker/railcar washes, and other heavy-duty industrial applications has gone largely unchanged for decades. Can a new machine on the market have a positive impact on runtime and maintenance cost? We put it to the test.

Heavy duty tank cleaning machines are notoriously high maintenance

Across all industries, one of the most crucial elements of effective tank cleaning is ensuring that your tank cleaning equipment remains in good repair. For severe industrial tank cleaning applications (think tank, trailer, and railcar washes or other tough industrial applications), keeping your equipment up and running properly can be especially challenging due to the high temperatures and high concentrations of chemicals in the wash fluid required for cleaning.

It also doesn’t help that tank cleaning technology for these tough industrial applications has gone unchanged since the 1980's. Cleaning tougher applications using outdated technology means the tank cleaner’s parts wear at a much faster rate and require much more maintenance over the lifetime of the equipment. Maintenance just to keep the equipment running can cost thousands of dollars per year.


A more rugged and durable device enters the market

The GJ 18 rotary jet head was born from the clear need in the industry for a more rugged tank cleaning machine that requires fewer repairs and is cheaper and easier to maintain. Before it was released, we wanted to ensure that it could fulfil the claim that it would provide high impact cleaning for large sized tanks with longer uptime, longer product life and lower maintenance costs than other large industrial tank cleaners on the market, including our own GJ 4.

Can the GJ 18 live up to the hype?

The Trial:

To prove out the new design and confirm the savings in total cost of ownership, we put the GJ 18 to the test at a major tank cleaning company in New Jersey. Over one year and three separate trials, we compared its performance and repair requirements to existing equipment on the market.



Run dates

Run time

Trial 1

Jan. - Apr. 2018

1,500 hours

Trial 2

July - Sept. 2018

1,100 hours

Trial 3

Sept. 2018 - Jan. 2019

1,700 hours


Between trials, the GJ 18 was returned and inspected for wear and performance.

The Results:

As expected, the main GJ 18 parts in need of replacement between trials were the typical wear parts, such as bushings, bearings, seals, and o-rings. However, even after prolonged use, the individual gears in the GJ 18 showed minimal wear, and the full gear train in the GJ 18 ran without replacement for the duration of the 4,300 trial hours.

In comparison, a GJ 4 is recommended to undergo routine maintenance every 600-800 hours of operation and is often run to failure in that time.

What do these results mean in dollars and cents?

Major savings over the lifetime of the equipment! As a baseline for comparison, the repair records for all GJ 4 units at the test site were compiled and analyzed. From February 2017 to March 2019, the average cost of a GJ 4 repair at this location was $1,476.


All the GJ 4 repairs required replacement of normal wear parts, which includes bearings, bushings, seals, and o-rings. Just under half of the GJ 4 machines repaired experienced total gear failure, and more than half required at least part of the gear train to be replaced.



GJ 4, average repair

GJ 18, minor kit (Typical wear parts)

Typical Repair Costs



% Savings




Success - Increase tank cleaning machine run time and decrease maintenance costs

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The GJ 18 rotary jet head proves itself to be a powerful, cost-effective solution for heavy duty tank cleaning. In large industrial tank cleaning applications, the GJ 18 will operate for twice as long compared to traditional methods, while also proving to be 50-75% less expensive to maintain.

Given the increase in maintenance intervals, simplicity of repair, and decreased cost of replacement parts, the GJ 18 passes the maintenance and runtime test and is a clear winner when it comes to cleaning out tanker trailers.

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