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I'm sorry, this may seem like a naive question. But what are the manway hatches used for on fermentation tanks?

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2 answers

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Access to the inside of the tanks. I don't recommend ever climbing into a tank but that is what they are there for. You shouldn't have to get in there if you clean/rinse properly. 
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A better question would be why so many companies make the manways so small?

I see the 440mm x 330mm as the smallest that can be used by an adult and yes, sometimes you get something sticky that simply needs a direct approach to get it clean. The other reason is that if your tank ever needs any interior servicing you simply cannot do it with a tiny manway. If the manway is too small and you cannot do the required service what do you do, throw it away?

A manway IS necessary and make sure it is big enough!
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