Ordering plastic tanks? Check what to pay attention to

9 November 2022

Overview of covered topics

Plastic tanks are used in a wide range of applications across nearly every industry. What should you consider when you need unusual plastic tanks and are commissioning their production? How do you tailor the tank design to meet industry requirements? This article will help you find answers to the most important questions related to the efficient production of plastic tanks.

What is a plastic tank and what are its types?

A plastic tank is a container that allows for the storage of large capacities of liquids or other substances, for example in granular form. Tanks can be situated vertically, horizontally, above or below ground, and can be static or portable. Tanks are designed with long-term storage of contents in mind. Therefore, before beginning the production of tanks, it is worth thoroughly analyzing the requirements that the finished product should meet. Below, you can check what types of plastic tanks are distinguished.

Vertical plastic tanks

The vertical position has the most universal application due to the general purpose and easy access to the tank. The only limitation in the production of this type of tanks is the height, which depends on the thickness of the walls. Vertical plastic tanks are very often designed for water – these tanks can reach a capacity of up to 10,000 litres.

Vertical plastic rainwater tank

Horizontal plastic tanks

Horizontal models of plastic tanks are often designed with a focus on transportation functionality. Due to their horizontal construction, they can be permanently mounted, for example, on a truck trailer. This is facilitated by their relatively low profile, which does not affect the vehicle’s center of gravity.

Horizontal plastic tank for rainwater

Underground plastic tank

The basic difference in this model lies in its different construction. It requires special durability to withstand heavy loads and ensure long-lasting performance. This allows for an additional, invisible space protected from weather conditions.

Underground plastic tanks

Silo tanks

Silo tanks are upright and feature a funnel-shaped bottom part of the structure. Categories of these tanks can have very large capacity, and valves can be installed, expanding their usability options.

Plastic silo tank

Double-walled tanks

The construction of double-walled tanks provides additional protection for the contents of the tank. Such containers are designed with the aim of safeguarding against harmful chemicals or storing hazardous substances.

Cylindrical tanks

Most commonly made from polyethylene or polypropylene, cylindrical tanks are resistant to corrosion, UV radiation, and various types of chemicals. Manufactured with a single or double wall, they can be positioned vertically or horizontally with additional legs.

Plastic cylindrical tank

Plastic tanks – issues

Choosing the right type of tank can pose many challenges. Therefore, below we present the most common challenges posed by plastic tanks.

Low quality of plastic tanks

Inadequate alignment of the plastic tank’s design with the industry’s storage requirements and the specific environmental conditions in which it will be deployed is a frequent issue leading to subpar quality in plastic tanks. Overzealous cost-cutting measures or the use of plastic materials not suited for their intended purpose also heighten the risk of the tank deteriorating prematurely during operation. This path often results in production disruptions for a company and subsequently incurs substantial additional expenses.

Tank leakage

Careless design processes can lead to errors in the tank construction process, and the most common consequence of such actions is a lack of proper sealing, which is a top priority in the production of plastic products. Failure to maintain quality in this regard can result not only in tank damage but also in a breakdown of the entire assembly line or flooding of the warehouse. Placing the tank, for example, on an improperly constructed plastic pallet as a base can also lead to leaks.

Don't wait!

Tailor the technology to your needs to reduce plastic production costs.

Tank production – incorrectly chosen production technology

Certain technologies may not be efficient for smaller production runs, and vice versa. Therefore, the tank production technology should also be chosen with consideration for factors such as batch size, which helps reduce production costs. In addition to cost optimization, production technology allows for adaptation to the environmental requirements in which the tank will be placed, increased efficiency of components, and reduced lead times for the finished product.

Inappropriate choice of material for tank production

One common cause of defects in plastic tanks is the use of inappropriate materials in their production. This leads to various problems, resulting in dissatisfaction and increased costs. There are ways to avoid this issue. One approach is to use a cheaper substitute material. Another method might involve reducing the thickness of the tank walls, but this requires a detailed analysis during the design phase. Implementing such cost-saving measures must be done very skillfully; otherwise, the tank may develop leaks shortly after being put into use.

Recycling of plastic tanks

Large tanks often pose a challenge when it comes to recycling. However, modern technologies allow for the production and subsequent disposal of plastic, including large-scale plastic tanks. There are many types of plastics that can be subjected to recycling processes. Biodegradable plastics were described in one of our previous articles.

Types of plastics used for tank production

Tanks made from polyethylene

Polyethylene is a high-quality thermoplastic that is resistant to weather conditions, abrasion, and chemicals. This contributes to its high versatility in various applications. There are two types of polyethylene: linear, which can have different densities. Tanks made from low-density polyethylene (LDPE) or high-density polyethylene (HDPE) are approved for use in food packaging in accordance with the regulations of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); and cross-linked, which is additionally resistant to bending and cracking.

Polyethylene tank

Tanks made from polypropylene

The low density of polypropylene makes it lighter than other types of plastic. Its widespread use is primarily due to its ease of processing. Typically, the homopolymer form is most commonly used, while polypropylene copolymer is the strongest variation. It is a physiologically neutral material.

By what technology are plastic tanks produced?

At Plastipol, we primarily employ two technologies adapted for manufacturing plastic tanks. The first one is rotational molding (rotomoulding). It’s a cost-effective method for producing tanks of significant sizes. Quick implementation and minimal material waste during the production process are characteristic features of this manufacturing method.

Rotational molding has many applications. This technology is suitable for both short and long production runs, for small and large, simple, and complex plastic products. In some cases, it is cost-effective to produce a single batch of large-sized products, making this technology suitable for smaller volumes as well.

Tank production - plastic tanks

We also offer thermoforming, also known as vacuum forming. In this plastic product manufacturing technology, an initially heated sheet of the chosen material is used. When the material becomes flexible, it is then formed into the desired shape using a vacuum, giving it the appropriate form. Subsequently, the thermoformed material is cooled, trimmed, and becomes the finished product. Plastic tanks produced through thermoforming are known for their ability to have very thin walls or be used in the food industry.

Advantages of tanks produced using the rotomolding technology.

  • Leakproofness – a tank made using rotational molding ensures the required quality, meeting the sealing requirements of various industries and the conditions in which it will be placed.
  • Durability – during the design of tanks, an analysis of the distribution of forces and stresses is conducted. We can enhance the durability of the structure by modifying the wall thickness.
  • Aesthetics – in the rotomolding technology, there is no parting line. The walls have uniform thickness. Depending on the requirements that the tank must meet, suitable materials are also selected, most often polyethylene from the polyolefin group (LDPE or HDPE).
  • Accessories – the production of additional components in a single manufacturing process (e.g., inserts – they are embedded in the tank, eliminating the need for a separate insertion process).

We have included more information about this technology in our rotational molding guide.

How do we design durable plastic tanks?

Addressing the mentioned issues begins at the design stage. This is the moment when it is necessary to determine:

  • in what conditions the plastic tanks will be used?
  • What the container will be filled with? Will it be used as a barrel for storing rainwater, drinking water, tap water, runoff water, chemicals, or other substances?
  • Pressure level – will the tank of a given capacity be exposed to high or low pressure?
  • The location where it will be placed – for example, an underground tank must meet completely different requirements than a tank in the open air.
  • What is the required tank capacity?
  • environmental conditions – depending on whether the tank will be located indoors or outdoors, appropriate additives are selected to extend the tank’s lifespan, such as introducing UV stabilizers, fillers, pigments, etc.

We have included more information about this technology in our rotational molding guide.


The production of plastic tanks is a process that requires proper planning. Rainwater is stored differently; other factors will be significant in the food industry, and an underground tank will need additional reinforcements if placed at a greater depth. In one of our projects, where the tank was installed into the ground at a depth of 3 meters, thoughtful ribbing was introduced to strengthen the structure.

Establishing these assumptions allows for more effective preparation for the design phase and avoidance of unnecessary costs and most common problems. The appropriate selection of technology and material enables the production of even small batches of the product, thereby increasing the possibility of optimizing the production process while taking into account the customer’s business model.

If you need plastic tanks with an unusual design and specific industry requirements, we are happy to help. At Plastipol, you can commission the production of tanks with various capacities – from small containers to large tanks with a capacity of even several hundred liters. We will help you determine the requirements and optimize production costs.

Consult your project with our expert to receive the best technology proposal and an immediate quote.

Benefit from our specialized knowledge by reading our other articles:

  1. When is it worth making your own mold and starting production of plastic products instead of using standard products?
  2. 11 reasons why rotomoulding is worth choosing
  3. Regrind – the advantages and disadvantages of the material that reduces production costs
Adam Bernacki

Adam Bernacki

Technical director at Plastipol Poland. Popularizer of knowledge about plastics processing. Industry experience gained through education at Scandinavian polytechnics, work in global corporations in the plastics industry, and by managing technical issues in a Polish company. Specialist in plastics batch and mass production technologies. Author of articles and industry texts for clients in various industry sectors. Training Advisor.