Aluminum VS Stainless Steel

Discussion in 'Tanker, Bulk and Dump Trucking Forum' started by TrustedFR8, Jul 21, 2021.

  1. TrustedFR8

    TrustedFR8 Bobtail Member

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    Good day drivers

    I am doing research into moving bulk liquid loads. I won't specify why because I am afraid if I do it will be misinterpreted as some form of advertising for my company and I don't want to be blocked from this community for one small tiny mistake (it happens).

    Anyways...

    I have found a lot of information on the different types of tanker trailers and insulated vs non insulated. I have also read you can have stainless steel ( most common) or aluminum for tanker trailers,

    However

    I can't seem to find anything on what the difference is or why you would choose one over the other. I know from the useless $40,000 piece of paper that took 4 pointless years to acquire that aluminum weighs a lot less than steel (college education really paying off here I know). So my basic assumption is that aluminum trailers are lighter and therefore can haul heavier weights and stay within regulated DOT highway weight limits.

    So to make a long stupid question shorter so that you can ignore all my rambling and skip to the important parts...

    Would anyone be kind enough to explain why a tanker driver would haul an aluminum tanker over a stainless-steel one?

    Excuse my ignorance and thank you in advance☺

    As always have a great week and stay safe out there drivers
     
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  3. Roberts450

    Roberts450 Road Train Member

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    The simplest answer is because of the type of product you’ll be hauling. For instance fuel and oils are hauled in aluminum trailers whereas corrosives such as sulphuric acid are hauled in stainless trailers, then there is the other realm of FRP tanker trailers and just regular ole steal trailer with or without a liner.
     
  4. TrustedFR8

    TrustedFR8 Bobtail Member

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    Thank you for your answer.

    So basically a driver may want to haul an aluminum trailer if he will be picking up anything that's not corrosive or im guessing anything non-hazmat?

    If they cost the same why wouldn't a tanker driver always buy steel 100% of the time so that they are never limited on what they can haul?

    Also, does that mean an aluminum tanker can be insulated?

    Sorry to ask more questions on one question but I am doing thorough research for any tanker drivers I want to help with locating freight for them to haul. I really need to understand the equipment im focusing on here and gain knowledge on this specific area of the industry.
     
  5. Roberts450

    Roberts450 Road Train Member

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    Need to focus on the product as that will dictate the type of trailer needed.

    Yes aluminum tankers can be insulated.

    There is tons and tons or regulations associated with tankers weather it be hazmat or not.

    Also since its bulk work you will need equipment to pack as much product as you can. Depending on the area the loads are in they can range from 24-40 ton payload requirements Im guessing. At the company I work for 24 and 31 ton loads are standard.
     
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  6. Roberts450

    Roberts450 Road Train Member

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    Tankers are not a willy nilly market like load boards are for other general freight. They’re normally shipper/transporter/receiver contracted.
     
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  7. REO6205

    REO6205 Trucker Forum STAFF Staff Member

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    That old saying..."it's who you know" is very true in the tanker business. It doesn't look like it to newcomers but tankers are one of the most competitive and cut-throat segments of trucking.
    We ran tankers, both dry bulk and fuel for a lot of years. Not once in all that time did I ever fill out a contract or a pricing agreement. Everything was done in person or over the phone.
    A couple of times the big outfits would move into our territory but they never lasted long. They might pick up a few loads that other people who knew the business would avoid but that's all they'd get. Eventually they'd leave.
    Tanker work in our area is mostly short haul regional and local work. The companies that do it are already well established, know how to treat the customers, and understand the market. That, plus knowing all the right people, keeps the competition to reasonable level. A newcomer would have a hard time and would probably fail.
     
  8. beastr123

    beastr123 Road Train Member

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    Aluminum does react with chemicals that are not corrosive and if those chemicals are transported in an aluminum trailer it will be rejected. A good example is anything foodgrade requires stainless straight-bore compartments.
    There is also the method of unloading, over-pressure unloading is required for some types of liquids and some may be rejected if put through a pump. This will determine the trailer required as very few if any aluminum trailers can be certified for pressure.
    this article will explain some of this
    Trailer DOT Codes
     
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  9. Crude Truckin'

    Crude Truckin' Alien Spacecraft

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    What everyone else has said, plus I'd say go work for someone like Wayne Transport or Groendyke. I've been in the tanker world for 16 years, and still learning. We haul stuff from sulfuric acid to sodium hydroxide, propane, chlorine gas, hydrochloric acid, anhydrous ammonia. Always be learnin.....
     
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  10. david123abc

    david123abc Heavy Load Member

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    Beyond not hauling anything corrosive, you also wouldn’t want to haul anything in an aluminum tank that would require a caustic wash to clean, because it will destroy the trailer.

    In my experience the overwhelming majority of general service chemical tanks are stainless. In thousands I’ve cleaned or pulled, the number of aluminum trailers I’ve encountered is in the single digits.

    That’s not to say there aren’t a lot out there, it just leads me to believe most are in dedicated services that rarely, if ever require cleaning.
     
  11. Roberts450

    Roberts450 Road Train Member

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    Like @REO6205 most the tanker outfits here in the northwest are in the “good ole boy” network and its hard for newcomers to stand a chance.
     
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