How to maximize your tank cleaning circulation process

December 9, 2021

There has been a revolution in the industrial tank cleaning industry in the past few years.

As technology has developed, the industry has begun shifting towards zero-entry solutions to increase safety and lower costs.

One of the most popular methods that has arisen in that time is circulation or jet mixing, which involves injecting a high volume of water and cutter stock at high velocity directly into the tank to erode solid deposits that have built up over time.

That liquid is kept in circulation at the minimum velocity needed to suspend the light eroded solids in solution, which can then be separated later in the process. 

The goal is to maintain the most efficient rate of erosion possible, essentially allowing you to remove the largest amount of solids as quickly as possible before draining the tank for spot cleaning.

Unfortunately, this process can become extremely complicated, particularly when you consider that conditions inside the tank do not remain static as the process goes on.

Erosion rate boils down to several key factors including the heat and viscosity of the fluid being injected, the viscosity of the fluid inside the tank and the exit velocity of the fluid from the nozzle.

All these individual factors need to be exactly right to achieve the most efficient possible erosion rate and they change as the process unfolds. This makes finding and keeping the most efficient erosion rate a difficult job at best.

Despite the complexity, though, the circulation process is still one of the most efficient ways to remove solids from the tank before it is drained and so many tank cleaning processes use this method to do the bulk of the initial cleaning, as it debulks the tank and makes spot cleaning afterwards much easier.

The process also allows for the recovery of useable product from the tank that is being cleaned.

Once the circulation process has run its course and there are no more solids to erode, the tank can be drained for spot cleaning.

At KOS Automated Solutions, we’re proud to distribute one of the safest and most effective circulation systems in the world, with unique features designed to maximize product recovery and efficiency.

All our tools are designed to work together to simplify the process and help you find and maintain the best erosion rate, even as conditions inside the tank change. 

Our unique blend of advanced robotic equipment and powerful software allows you to come up with a concrete plan for circulation before you even get to site and then execute it to perfection once you’re there.

The Radical Software VantageSuite

It all starts with Radical Software’s powerful VantageSuite project management solution. 

This software package is incredibly deep and versatile, with features that can aid in every part of the process. You can find out more about the software here.

The feature we want to focus on here, though, is the built-in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) system.

The CFD feature allows you to create a 3D virtual replica of the tank and site and accurately simulate the circulation process in minutes, rather than the hours or even days that traditional CFD software takes. It does this using deep learning technology that gets more accurate the more it is used.

Within that simulation, you’ll be able to determine the best flow rate, viscosity, and heat level at any point in the process, giving you a timeline for the process quickly and accurately without any guesswork.

With this information in hand, you can head to site with confidence knowing that your circulation process will work the first time. Plus, since all Radical Robotics Command Centres come with the Software ready to go, you’ll be able to continuously monitor and adjust on-site in real-time, saving hours of trial and error and fiddling with controls.

You’ll also be able to set the program to automatically adjust the parameters for you so that the process remains at its most efficient throughout the entire project.

Of course, you can’t circulate fluid inside the tank without the tools needed to accomplish that task. Radical Robotics builds the best robotic tank sweeps on the market today.

Robotic Tank Sweeps

Radical Robotics designs all their equipment to be easy to use, safe and, most importantly, consistently reliable.

The Radical Tank Sweeps are no exception to this ethos.

Designed to be inserted into a tank while it is sealed, our sweeps are available in 4” and 6” class 150 flange sizes, smaller than anything else on the market today.

This gives our sweeps incredible versatility in terms of how they can be used.

Plus, they can output between 2000 and 6600gpm, depending on the size of the sweep, at a nozzle exit velocity of 400ft./s. This means you’ll have all the power you need to erode the solids inside the tank.

Our sweeps are easy to maneuver and install, with balanced lifting lugs on each for quick installation on the tank, so a crew as small as three people can rig up and run the system with ease.

We’ve also done away with the heavy umbilical cables that make most robotic systems difficult to use.

As with all our equipment, a single, lightweight and daisy-chainable data cable, along with a power cable and two small hydraulic lines are all that are needed to connect the sweeps to the Command Centre or Mini Control Station. 

Once the sweeps have been set up on the tank and connected to the Command Centre, the Radical Software package will allow your crew to program an automated circulation cycle based on the parameters you determined in the planning phase.

The software will then automatically adjust the sweeps over time to ensure that they are always at the most effective jet vector, viscosity, heat, and flow rate for the most efficient erosion rate. This function turns a normally incredibly labour-intensive task into a “set it and forget it” part of your process.

This also drastically reduces the number of crew members needed on-site during operation, as the entire system can now be run by one technician, thus reducing costs and expensive errors, or can even be run remotely.

Because of the sweeps’ intelligent design, you’ll be able to set up and start running your circulation equipment within hours of arriving on-site.

With the sweeps in place, the last thing you need is a way to get rid of the solids that are now suspended in the fluid inside the tank.

The Circulation Management Tank

This is where Radical Robotics’ new Circulation Management Tank (CMT) comes in.

The CMT was designed from the ground up with two goals in mind: reduce downtime and maximize product recovery.

Jam-packed with automation and ease of use features, the CMT uses a unique process to remove suspended solids from the product as it circulates through the system and then further separates oil from water, leaving you with the purest possible product that can be recirculated, sent to a separation tank or straight into the pipeline.

This means that when you set up the CMT on a job site, your client can rest assured knowing you’ll recover as much of the product as possible.

The CMT’s numerous sensors mean that the Project Management Software will be able to “read” the efficiency of the process as it is happening and make adjustments accordingly.

Another problem we noticed consistently with other knockout tanks is the downtime. When the system fills up with solids, it needs to be shut down and be cleaned out with a vac truck before it can continue.

These delays slow down the process significantly, so to combat this, we designed our CMT with an automated bypass loop which will automatically bypass the solid knockout compartments when they are full without stopping the process and send a notification directly to you and your crew, so you know it’s time to hook up a vac truck.

This way, there is no downtime. Once the compartments are empty, the tank will automatically reopen the loop and begin removing solids again. Plus, because this process is automated, it can run around the clock without the need for breaks.

Plus, because our process is designed around removing solids from the fluid already in the tank, the waste product that is removed is comprised mainly of solid material, saving on waste management costs.

All of this combined with the CMT’s processing rate of 80 mper hour means that your circulation process will be the fastest and most cost-effective around. 

It’s also important to keep in mind that we can accomplish all of this within a closed system, containing all tank vapours and giving you the option to tie in a scrubber for treatment.

The result cuts down on disposal costs and safety concerns, ultimately saving you money and reducing the environmental impact of the process.


Ultimately, the goal of the circulation process is to remove as much waste material from the tank as possible before the tank is drained for mechanical cleaning. At Radical Robotics, we’ve designed our equipment and software to accomplish this task in the most efficient way possible, saving you time and money.

Our technology simplifies the process, eliminates fail points and reduces human error as much as possible so that your jobs run seamlessly from start to finish.

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