Silotank, the West Belfast manufacturer of reinforced plastic tanks, has been helped by Invest Northern Ireland to develop its business including assistance to market a long term solution for farmers facing tough new European rules on storing silage and slurry.
The company, which has been making thermoplastic tanks, silos and other storage products for over 10 years for the farming, food processing, water and chemicals industries, recently launched its new range of upright and underground tanks on an Invest NI stand at IFAT in Munich, one of Europe's biggest exhibitions for the fast growing environmental industry.
The tanks are made from high strength and corrosion resistant glass reinforced plastic (GRP) and can hold up to 45,000 gallons of slurry and silage effluent, as well as dirty water from hosing down farmyards. The new products meet the exacting requirements of the Environmental and Heritage Service's Control of Pollution (Silage, Slurry and Agricultural Fuel Oil) Regulations 2003.
Seamus Carmichael, Silotank managing director, said: "The new tanks, part of our ongoing new product development programme, have been designed to offer farmers an effective, reliable and low maintenance storage solution.
"We spotted a market opportunity in Northern Ireland, Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland from EU regulations on pollution for our expertise in the storage of liquids and focused our R&D resources on developing products that would exceed stringent storage rules.
"Our cylindrical upright and horizontal underground tanks offer farmers peace of mind about possible leaks from cracks because they are one-piece construction and do not use any sealants. Each has a chemical barrier resistant to silage effluent and has a life span of at least 25 years. Some existing solutions are prone to crack over a period.
"Invest NI has been very supportive over many years. The company development programme has helped us with our focus on employee skills through an NVQ training scheme.
“IFAT, for instance, was extremely beneficial in terms of contacts made and the knowledge that we gained from meeting other companies, particularly in Eastern and Central Europe, in the environmental industry. The support we received from the Invest NI team at IFAT was excellent. We gained a number of new ideas for future product developments," he added.
Tracy Meharg, Invest NI’s managing director of Innovation and Capability Development, said: “Silotank is now established as a supplier of innovative storage solutions to the global marketplace from its base in West Belfast.
“We have been able to assist the company with a number of strategic interventions including the achievement of accreditation from the Drinking Water Inspectorate to store clean water. It is now one of only two companies in the United Kingdom to have achieved this accreditation. As part of its focus on growth, the company is also taking in our Strategic Development Programme and working closely with an expert consultant to develop its global marketing strategy.”