Circular horticulture

Water storage is not something to wait with

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Hello, I'm Pieter Versluis, Export Manager at Buwatec.

Wherever you are in the world, floods and extremely dry periods are becoming the norm. The result is rising water prices, and an increased risk of water rationing or flooding. Buwatec has recently taken steps to make a usual solution more flexible, affordable and safer to install – steel tanks. Right now, the growth in water storage tanks is huge. Tanks hold large rainwater volumes for a low price, making horticultural businesses less depending on expensive alternatives, such boreholes, or pumping permits. They also act as a buffer for increasing heavy rainfall that result in flash flooding. Around six years ago, Buwatec took a few simple steps to innovate their product. “The 3.05 mtr steel sheets were ideal when we were transporting them locally. But as the market for our tanks became more international, we realised that the size of the sheets was less than optimal for standard transport sizes used by the freight industry,”

30% reduction in transport volume
“For example, a pallet of 3.05 meter lengths doesn’t fit into a truck with solid sides via the rear doors. You have the same issue with freight containers. We took the decision to reduce the length of the sheets to 2,30 meter, as these fit perfectly with no loss of space. This has led to a 30-35 % reduction in load volume.” A 30% reduction in load volume, naturally equates into a freight saving which can be passed onto the customer. Loading this product gives 50 % time saving, and can be executed by one man only. 30 % more tanks can be shipped at same freight rate. But the change in format also led to a number of unexpected benefits. For example, for the installer, all of the parts are now smaller and lighter and making them easier to manage.

Lights parts safer to install
“Our smaller sheets now has a weight from 14 kg, which is easier to manage with two people, compared to traditional sheets which are close to 40-45 kg,” says Versluis. “This might not sound too bad when you’re working on the ground, but 25kg less weight is a big difference when you’re working at heights above 4 mtr, using scaffolding, with wind pressure. It’s become much safer.” Despite this new format, for the end customer the quality and functionality of the product brings a better and stiffer product. The shorter sheets also offer a wider range of sizes and capacities.

Strong as concrete
With roots in the horticulture sector, Buwatec is one of the few manufacturers making water tanks made from corrugated metal. “For tanks used in horticulture from thicker metal typically isn’t necessary as they aren’t used in very harsh environments,” explains Versluis. “Recently however, due to increasingly extreme weather events, Buwatec engineered with different metal thicknesses and specifications. Industrial tanks are available up to 15m diameter, which are as strong as concrete tanks. Compared to concrete however, there’s a significant cost saving. And (many buyers forget) when a tank is no longer required it has to be removed to save the environment: metal tanks can easily be removed and recycled as they’re bolted together only.” According to the OECD around 70% of the world’s water is used in agriculture. With reliable sources of clean water becoming increasingly scarce, GreenTech doesn’t believe that it will be long before governments worldwide start taking more active interest in water reduction in the horticulture industry. Time to get ahead?

Author: Pieter Buwalda

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