Brenner Unveils Lean Duplex Stainless Steel Tank

May 31, 2007
Brenner Tank has introduced a next generation tank compliant with DOT 407 regulations, utilizing duplex stainless steels

Brenner Tank has introduced a next generation tank compliant with DOT 407 regulations, utilizing duplex stainless steels, and substantially reducing the total cost of new bulk tank trailers for their customers.

Beginning in 2003 the costs of austenitic stainless steels, such as type 316L, have risen dramatically. This rise is largely attributable to the six-fold increase in the price of nickel, which makes up about 10% of the above material, and a more than 400% jump in the cost of molybdenum, which makes up approximately 2% of type 316L stainless steel.

Also, robust demand for stainless steel, partially fueled by the booming ethanol industry, has contributed to a supply-demand imbalance. As a result, the price of the most common stainless steel tank trailers almost doubled in the last four years.

As an innovative leader in the stainless steel cargo tank market, Brenner Tank recognized that the burden of these material cost increases could not be borne by their customers, and resolved to find a solution.

After more than one year of research, the company decided on lean duplex as the primary solution. Lean duplex is a variant of a type of stainless steel, duplex, that was developed over 20 years ago for corrosive applications. This family of stainless steels generally has more chromium, but less nickel than type 316L.

"Along this journey to a solution, Brenner had to overcome several challenges," according to John F. Cannon, the company's Vice President of Sales and Marketing. "For example, Brenner had to secure a special permit from the United States Department of Transportation to use these relatively new variants of duplex stainless steel for cargo tanks transporting chemicals and other hazardous materials."

Also, the company had to work with its principal suppliers to achieve a surface finish acceptable to the tank trailer industry.

Lean duplex offers several advantages over type 316L stainless steel, besides its lower cost. For instance, it has significantly higher tensile and yield strengths, increased pitting resistance and an improved ability to sustain temperature changes, than the latter material.

The bottom line benefit of lean duplex is cost savings. "Duplex stainless isn't new, but before the recent increases in materials costs it wasn't a cost effective choice. However, with sharp cost increases associated with metals such as nickel, it was worth investigating," said Cannon. "When we talk about savings with lean duplex, we're literally talking about thousands of dollars per cargo tank."

Brenner Tank will be displaying its new cargo tanks at its Sixth Annual Expo, held at the Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, headquarters on June 13. Production units will be available in Q4 for new orders.