Finn Corp. (Fairfield, OH) manufactures soil-erosion control equipment, such as hydroseeders, straw blowers and mulch spreaders. Many Finn units are sold to municipalities for maintaining public grounds and road areas. Landscaping contractors are another important market, especially those who specialize in hydroseeding.

Hydroseeding is a technology that Finn Corp. pioneered over 50 years ago. Finn hydroseeders are either pulled on a trailer or truck-mounted. Basically, they consist of a tank with a hydraulically driven agitator. The user fills the tank with water, grass seed, fertilizer and a tackifier (a biodegradable wood-and-paper mixture that holds the grass seed in place until the seed can germinate). This mixture is then sprayed into the soil.

The company wanted to build a stronger and safer fuel tank on its T90 HydroSeeder as a customer service. So it contacted Meese Orbitron Dunne Co. (Saddlebrook, NJ), a plastics design and molding firm. Meese Orbitron Dunne developed a rotationally molded plastic fuel tank to replace the existing steel tank.

The new plastic tank features a complex, one-piece design that fits a triangular pocket inside the machine. By designing the tank in a cheese-wedge shape, the engineers enabled Finn to cut costs without altering its machines. It also assured that machines in the field can be retrofitted by the customer.

To ease and speed assembly, engineers molded in inserts to secure a U-shaped channel along the entire length of the track. These inserts permit the tank and U-shaped channel to slide into the machine and be secured with two bolts. This eliminates the need for welding. With a seamless, cross-linked polyethylene design, the tank eliminates joints, seals, solders and welds that can invite corrosion and rust, which weaken fabricated metal fuel tank assemblies. Also, the potential for leaks and spills is eliminated.

By replacing the existing steel tank with a plastic version, Finn Corp. has cut costs by 62 percent and reduced weight, added longevity and upgraded safety. "The fact that we have a stronger, safer tank that also assembles faster and costs significantly less is just fantastic," says Jeffrey Reichert, operations manager at Finn Corp.

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