Designing anything is always a challenge and a thrill when the parts and pieces come together to make a vision a reality. So it was with IntelliTank. As we sat in meeting after meeting with our engineers, we focused on the most minute details. Little things like putting the bottom racking port off center, so it would be easy to access it while it was stacked right above another tank. Like adding ribs to them to add strength to the body of the tank. Squaring up the general shape to save space when the tanks are placed closely together.
Initially we tried to work the spout into the plastic molds to help reduce costs and numbers of suppliers. As we got to understand rotational molding more, and how the molds had to open to remove the tank, we realized a molded-in spout would be difficult to develop. Stainless steel would be more expensive, but would certainly be more durable, and much more flexible allowing for switching it out for a side-ported spout that was integral to the overall design objective. And the side port could point in several different directions to make it adaptable to many different locations and circumstances our customers would encounter.
We played a lot with trying to make a handle incorporated into the mold, but kept finding places for crud to get trapped and make cleaning more difficult. We totally abandoned the concept for a handle until, after prototyping, we saw the opportunity to place a stainless steel one on top near the rear of the tank. Two little inserts would be all that was needed for the the tank manufacturer to install. The designers were very skeptical about their strength and them pulling out and wanted to add more than just the two that we settled on. I figured that a full tank would weigh 20 lbs plus the beverage at 120 lbs, so each insert would need to handle about 70 lbs each. I strung up the tanks from the rafters of my workshop with a cable and a screw-eye threaded into an insert and put over 200 lbs of weight on it -- I sat on it and swung back and forth like a tire swing. Who says you can't have fun while testing a new product?