Aquaculture tanks enabling industry to deliver flexibility, durability, value

RNT Tanks and Silos provides innovative aquaculture tanks, supported by 200-year-old technology and the world’s most trusted material.

Climate change, plastic pollution, carbon footprint, energy use, overfishing, food security: all buzzwords in today’s social and industrial society. What are we doing to help reduce, reuse or recycle? How can we meet the needs of a growing world population and reduce our impact on the environment? How do we continuously strive to do more with less? These are questions we all face every day, not just as responsible global citizens, but also as responsible corporate citizens. Taking this challenge very seriously, RNT Tanks and Silos strives to do its part in tackling these issues by producing reliable, high quality aquaculture tanks.

With the world population estimated to top 9.8 billion by 2050 (from 7.4 billion today), demand on resources such as energy, water and food, increases concurrently. Kathryn Stack, Secretary General of The Federation of European Aquaculture Producers (FEAP), told this site earlier this year: ‘[F]ish production will have to increase by around 1.5 million tonnes per year from now to 2050 in order to guarantee the current level of fishery product consumption worldwide. This amount of fish will not come from fishing because, as the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has been informing us for years, fishing has now reached the maximum sustainable limits.’ This increase, therefore, will have to be from an alternative source.

At RNT Tanks and Silos we support not only aquaculture, but resource preservation, and we get this message loud and clear. From the humble corrugated steel sheet, celebrating its 200th birthday in 2020, RNT fabricates aquaculture tanks which enable industry to deliver on this challenge; and by continuously developing our product to be even more efficient in structure, strength, simplicity and quality, we wholeheartedly support the blue economy. The advantages of using corrugated steel to manufacture tanks are threefold. Consider these as three pillars; flexibility, value and durability.

Being a flexible technology means RNT’s aquaculture tanks can be scaled up or down to suit the requirements of space and fish population density. Different fish species have different requirements; for example Atlantic salmon, as a fast swimming species, require a recommended diameter to depth ratio of 3:1. This ratio range provides good self-cleaning of the tank as well as avoiding vortex forming in the centre. This is especially beneficial when space is restricted but a certain volume needs to be achieved.

It is easy to see how providing flexibility on tank height and diameter can benefit the commercial fish farm facility: for example, to achieve 300m3 volume, the following options are available from our shallow-profile range of tanks:

  • 10m diameter, 4.85m high;
  • 13m diameter, 3.65m high; or
  • 20m diameter, 2.45m high.

It is also possible to produce any diameter from four metres to as wide as 40 metres and even beyond. Any height is similarly achievable, allowing the most effective use of space and making repurposing of existing buildings a real alternative to ensure the perfect utilisation of available space. RNT’s aquaculture tanks have the added advantage of powder coating the steel, greatly increasing protection against the environment and negating the old adage of rusty steel at the coast.

Using architectural polyester, designed for both exterior and interior use, this durable coating not only protects, but is also available in a huge range of RAL colours from stock. It is possible to produce any submitted colour to customer’s requirements. The product we use for powder coating conforms to the Restrictions of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations (RoHS and RoHS2) Directive. It does not contain any compounds of lead, mercury, cadmium or hexavalent chromium; nor does it contain polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs) or polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE).

Flexibility is further demonstrated by the way in which the sheets are packed and transported. Sheets are flat packed and shipped to location in bundles of up to two tonnes, below the maximum weight most forklifts can lift. Bundles of any lesser weight are also possible. Assembly of the aquaculture tanks onsite from the pre-formed sheets and nut and bolt fastenings (with a special durable coating and sacrificial layer to withstand any damage caused by tools during assembly) ensures a product that not only looks good but is extremely well equipped for the job.

The second pillar, value, is supported by the material used. This is the basis of why our aquaculture tanks are extremely competitive when considering cost per volume. Steel prices have been very stable over the last 10 years and using set gauges of steel helps to keep the cost of our products down. Sheet metal is supplied from mills in set lengths. Backed by calculations from structural engineers, finding the best design for specific dimensions is easy. Using set gauges from 0.8mm to 3mm significantly impacts on cost control. Even with the set gauge, there is more than enough flexibility to achieve any diameter and height. Our manufacturing system is proven and does not require especially complicated processes; combined with our very experienced staff, this ensures great efficiency in the factory, all helping to deliver great value.

The flat pack sheets are accompanied by clear instructions, enabling a team of erectors to erect a tank very quickly. Great feedback from erectors on location confirms this about our tanks. Limited space is often a problem during projects especially when taking into account all the elements involved, for example obstacles posed by existing infrastructure. Having flat packed sheets makes it easy to mitigate this, as the sheets are easily able to navigate small and narrow spaces which would not be accessible with a pre-formed tank. This can lead to reductions in the overall cost of a project, especially when changes are required mid-project. The longevity and durability of steel further compound its cost benefit in manufacturing aquaculture tanks. Longevity is supported by the ‘replacement factor’ or repairability of pre-formed corrugated steel structures. These structures are bolted together making it easy to replace parts. Should a part of the tank be damaged, only that part can be replaced with a corrugated steel sheet of the exact dimensions and profile, with no impact on the rest of the ecosystem of the aquaculture farm.

The third pillar is durability. The corrugated sheets manufactured by RNT can withstand very high pressures on their own. It is sometimes necessary to strengthen a standard steel tank due to external forces placed on it, such as high winds or seismic activity. Working closely with a very knowledgeable team of structural engineers, taking advantage of the flexibility and versatility of steel, we are able to fabricate support structures for our aquaculture tanks to withstand some of the harshest forces nature can place on them. Salmon, which is currently leading the fisheries industry, is often produced in areas with harsh climates: of the four main countries leading salmonid aquaculture – Norway, Chile, Scotland and Canada – Norway and mountainous Chile are particularly prone to seismic activity. Specially designed support structures for our tanks are well equipped to deal with these conditions. The support structure also comes flat packed and with easy instructions, ensuring we deliver on the other two pillars as well as on strength.

The three pillars rest on a foundation of two primary values, which are essential to keep the building stable. These are proven technology; and quality and service.

Rather than an output, we see quality and service as an input for our day to day operations. Excellence is in everything we do. As an ISO 9001 certified company, we demonstrate our ability to consistently provide products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements. It also supports our passion for continuous improvement. Offering the CE marking on our products underpins our focus on quality as it gives customers confidence that we conform to health, safety, and environmental protection standards for our aquaculture tanks.

Steel is often considered the world’s most trusted material, and this is evident from the fact that the majority of steel manufactured is used in the construction industry. Corrugated, galvanised steel was invented in the 1820s by Henry Robinson Palmer, architect and engineer to the London Dock Company. Originally made from wrought iron, it proved to be light, strong, corrosion-resistant and easily transported. It lent itself particularly well to prefabricated structures and improvised uses by semi-skilled workers. Since the 1800s steel has been made stronger and lighter, boosting the usefulness of corrugated galvanised steel.

Tanks produced by RNT, through the structure described above, support the Aquaculture industry, ensuring peace of mind for every project they are used in. The ability to design a project with the knowledge that our corrugated steel tanks can be made to order by size with no real cost implication is a great benefit to any project engineer. Working very closely with the industry’s biggest names, we help deliver on the benefits of aquaculture; thereby ensuring that the output of our efforts will support all the buzzwords listed at the start and more. By continuously producing high quality products, RNT does its bit to support the blue economy.

Jaco Koen


+44 (0)1767654916

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