Superior Solutions For Professional Wine, Cider, Mead & Spirit Making
Our polyethylene tanks are designed for use in the wine and related industries. The products are configured for convenient use and designed to assist oxygen management in wine production. The products are also being used for Mead, Cider and specialty spirits production. Scientifically-engineered Flextanks were designed to contest the notorious challenges faced by the modern-day wine and beverage maker using oak barrels and stainless-steel tanks.
Flextank vessels have been sold in the USA since 2006 and are currently leading the market in the area of new-age wine and beverage-making. Notable and award-winning wines, ciders and meads have come from our tanks, which are manufactured and assembled in Vancouver, Washington in the United States for distribution worldwide.
The vessels manufactured by Flextank are made from high quality North American resins. The US Food and Drug Administration and the European Food Safety Authority have approved all of the resins used in Flextank vessels.
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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 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-use wine barrel, when used at a nominal cellar temperature of approximately 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius). 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.
Flextank vs. Oak Barrels / Stainless Steel Tanks
Produced using extremely durable polyethylene, Flextanks are built to last up to 20 years – that’s more than double the life of oak barrels! The vessels are manufactured by SmaK Plastics in the US using the highest quality North American resins approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Food Safety Authority.
Flextanks are configured for high-efficiency use of space in professional wine, cider, mead and related beverage-making industries. The variety of tank options makes it possible to double the production capacity of your barrel room.
Cost & Labor Savings
Second only to the cost of equipment, one of the biggest financial challenges for beverage producers is the cost of labor. With Flextanks, capping off barrels is eliminated and transporting them and cleaning are made increasingly less time consuming lowering your cost of labor dramatically.
Micro Oxygenation & Flavor Consistency Control
Scientifically designed to assist in oxygen management, Flextank options include both heavyweight and lightweight maturation vessels which simulate the micro oxygenation process within both neutral and two-year-old oak barrels. The resulting hygienic environment makes “clean” tasting wines that preserved the flavors of the fruit with the a heightened ability to precisely control the flavor with Flextank’s high-quality oak adjuncts.
How does it work?
Oxygen enters each Flextank through the oxygen-permeable polyethylene walls and is driven across the tank wall by the partial pressure differential between the wine and the atmosphere. Upon permeating into the wine the oxygen is used up by the complex chemical changes that occur during maturation. 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 with thicker walls to act like neutral wine barrels. Oxygen permeation rates are about half that of the maturation vessels and are comparable to “neutral” barrels.
Flextank aims to keep its environmental impact as minimal as possible. In line with that aim, all of our polyethylene vessels and metal accessories are fully recyclable. Flextanks also require much less water for effective cleaning than similar capacity vessels made from wood or stainless steel.