Are your tanks FDA compliant?
The resin used for our tanks meet specifications in FDA Regulations and may be used as an article intended for use in contact with food. The resin is also NSF approved for potable water.
How thick are your tanks?
The tank thickness varies with the application. Ranging from very thin IBC totes to very thick 1.9 specific gravity vessels.
Have wineries used your tanks successfully?
Many wineries have won local and national medals for wine made in our tanks. I personally have used these tanks in my winemaking since 1992 and have won over 70 medals. I was asked recently if I could guarantee that our tanks would make good wine. For over 10,000 years mankind has tried to make great wine and there is no guarantee. I love to quote a local Italian winemaker I interviewed. “somea time ia makea good wine and somea time ia make bad wine, it’s whatever God gives you”.
Do you stock Flextanks?
Yes, we do. In 2015 we partnered with Flextank to be their Midwest distributor.
How are Flextanks made?
Produced in Vancouver, WA, the bodies of each vessel are made through the process of rotational molding whereby powdered resin is loaded into a steel or aluminum mold, which is then rotated on two axes as it is heated in an oven. The resin melts and coats the inside of the mold while it ‘cooks’ in the oven. Following removal from the oven, the mold continues to rotate while it cools and the resin solidifies. As the mold cools, some shrinkage occurs that allows the finished vessel to be removed from the mold. Metal inserts may be molded into the vessel as required to affix accessories, such as valve flanges. Flextank valve flanges require a force in excess of one ton to tear them out of the vessel. What does this mean? A much stronger, longer lasting product.
Why can’t all polyethylene vessels, like IBCs, be used for premium beverage making?
Providing the required permeability for beverage making is what makes Flextanks unique. There are many vessels/tanks on the market that are made of polyethylene. However, not all vessels made of this material are created equal in the world of winemaking. Flextanks have been carefully engineered with special attention given to the selection and blend of the resin that is used, the surface area to volume ratio, wall thickness and configuration of each vessel. It is these details that make Flextanks ideal for use in wine and beverage making.
How does the oxygen permeability of Flextank compare to that of traditional oak barrels?
Flextank’s maturation weight vessels are designed to have a similar oxygen permeation rate to that of a typical second year wine barrel, when used at a nominal cellar temperature of approximately 13 degrees Celsius (55 degrees Fahrenheit). Flextank’s ‘heavyweight’ vessels are designed to act like neutral wine barrels. Heavyweight vessels are simply heavier vessels with thicker walls. Oxygen permeation rates are about half that of the maturation vessels and are comparable to “neutral” barrels.
Will using a Flextank taint the flavor of my wine, cider or mead?
Modern catalyst technology has produced food-grade polyolefins that are extremely stable polymers. Polyethylenes from this group are widely used in the food and beverage industry in manufacturing processes, transport and storage. Flextanks are made from carefully selected quality materials and there have been no reports of taint following their use in thousands of wineries.
Do you offer Bins?
Yes, we offer the SUPATUFF bins in 160-gallon and 300-gallon/2,000# capacity with or without lids. Some have flat bottoms with skids attached.
How do I clean the tanks?
For the exterior we use a product called Cajun Red and use this in conjunction with a power washer. For the inside use standard sanitizer/cleaner designed for the wine industry.
What is the maximum temperature for the tanks?
130 Degrees Fahrenheit.
Aren’t all plastic tanks the same?
I had a guy tell me he would never use plastic tanks again. “Why,” I asked. “I purchased a used syrup tank and my wine tasted like syrup”, I’m not kidding. Be careful; make sure your tanks are virgin resin and FDA and NSF compliant. Our tanks are linear high density polyethylene, (HDPE). Do not buy low or medium density polyethylene tanks. Some tanks are made with recycled plastic. Many of the “farm” tanks are very thin at 1.0 specific gravity. Some tanks are cross-linked (XLPE) and are not FDA compliant.
Can I store chemicals in the tanks?
Yes and no. HDPE tanks do very well with a huge list of chemicals; however, there are some chemicals not recommended. Please consult the factory before putting any chemicals in tanks.
What types of fittings are available?
The most common and least costly fittings are called bulkhead. Bulkhead fittings are available in plastic or stainless steel. We can install them or teach you to do this yourself. Some of our tanks have sanitary tri-clamp fittings available.
Can I store my tanks outside?
Yes and no. You will shorten the life of your tank if stored outside. Our tanks have a UV 15 rating, but many variables factor into the life of a vessel.
How durable are your tanks?
I can give real-life examples. A 300 gallon tank bounced out of our trailer going down Interstate 44 in St. Louis. It hit a semi which sent it flying into a pickup truck, and then the vessel bounced into the woods. Thank goodness everyone was OK. I took the tank to my farm and still use it today for water. One winter, at my farm in Cook Station, MO, I forgot to drain a 700 gallon tank used for irrigation. It froze into a solid tube of ice. The bottom of the tank pushed out but never split. The tank is still in use. A customer in Kansas made wine and sealed it in a 25 gallon tank. He forgot about it and later said the wine fermented and due to internal pressure, the tank looked like a pregnant pig. Not thinking, he poked a hole in the plastic sheet he used to cover the lid and the red wine shot out like a volcano spraying red wine 8’ to his ceiling. All the while, the tank never ruptured.
Are your tanks recyclable?
Yes! I think I’m still a member of my seventh grade ecology club and this makes me happy.
How do you seal the lids?
Most lids come with a vacuum breaker installed. I usually remove this vacuum breaker and replace it with a cork and airlock. If I am using the tank for long term storage, I place a 4 mil thick food grade plastic sheet over the opening and then screw the lid into the plastic sheeting, (belt and suspender approach.) If the wine has not 100% fermented, remember to poke a hole in the sheeting to allow gas to escape through the airlock. Some of our tanks come with an airlock already installed. We also sell airlocks which can be installed in the top of your vessel.
How did you start using these tanks?
I am a second generation owner of an industrial supply company called Westfall Company, Inc., founded in 1973. We supply tanks, pumps, pipe, valves, etc., to heavy industry like chemical plants, power plants, steel mills, mining – you get the idea. My family and I purchased 160 acres in Cook Station, MO, in the Missouri Ozark Highlands AVA district. The farm had an abandoned vineyard on it which I re-established and added additional French hybrids. WineMaker Magazine did an article on my vineyard in 2008. I started using my tanks in my own winemaking. Other friends of ours who own wineries started using my heavy walled tanks and love them. Before I knew it I was supplying these tanks all over the country. We now offer custom tanks and tank accessories for this industry.
What other products have you supplied to the wine industry?
I pride myself on having an industrial background. We like our products to be robust and durable and I steer away from cheaply made products. We stock air operated double diaphragm pumps used in many wineries, stainless steel tri-clamp valves and fittings, tanks of other materials such as coated steel, stainless and fiberglass. We inventory heavy-duty plastic pallets which can hold a 22,000 lb. load. We have supplied heavy-duty pre-fabricated trenches used in wine production areas. Our extreme duty epoxy floor coating is a one-time product used to protect your concrete floors from corrosion/erosion due to cleaning chemicals (and it looks good too.) We have manufactured fiberglass platforms, walkways and tank platforms on rollers.
Where are you located?
We are in St. Louis, County, MO, in a town called Eureka. We are next door to Six Flags, St. Louis. If we are traveling near your facility, many times our staff can drop your tank off. Sometimes we ship tanks directly from a half dozen or so of our partner’s factories. You are always welcome to visit us here in Eureka. Our address is: Westfall Company, Inc. 124 Workman Court, Eureka, MO, 63025. Phone: 636-938-3113, Fax: 636-938-3120, www.westfalltanks.com www.westfallcompany.com email@example.com