Storage tank shape, construction material, and placement all play important roles in tank durability and safety — and ultimately the well being of those working around them. These factors vary widely across industries. Knowing the needs and specifications surrounding each tank is crucial for effective storage tank use. Fabricators design tanks based on standards and practices from a variety of well known engineering and industry organizations that provide well researched specifications for each unique storage tank use.
Industry professionals commonly utilize storage tanks for the following purposes:
- Chemical — Tank usage in the chemical processing industry varies widely, but nearly all materials storage tanks hold are flammable, toxic, and potentially dangerous. Workers use chemical production tanks to safely store, transport, and mix materials in industrial settings.
- Power — Workers utilize a variety of holding and processing tanks to generate power for buildings, cities, and infrastructure. These tanks vary from fuel to water processing and even wastewater treatment tanks, depending on the region and power plant needs.
- Steel — In the steel creation process, steel plant leaders employ one of two methods — basic oxygen furnace (BOF) or electric arc furnace (EAF) — to create hot steel liquids that mold into desired shapes as they cool. In both processes, they use storage tanks to hold steel creation materials.
- Mining and minerals — Those in the mining and mineral industries use bolted smooth wall silo shaped storage tanks to hold everything from lime and salt to oil. Fabricators typically fashion these tanks using carbon steel, stainless steel, or aluminum with unique specifications and abrasion resistant linings for long term use.
- Corn processing — Due to the nature of corn processing, or the ways in which processors transform corn into a huge variety of end products, all tanks need to be food grade safe and may require NSF approved coatings. Tanks are typically custom fabricated in silo shapes with stainless steel, aluminum, or other specialized metal alloys to keep food products safe for consumption.
- Surface finishing — Surface finishers finish products to be more aesthetically pleasing or to protect the integrity of objects. They use specialty storage tanks and liners to hold and transport materials they’ll use in finishing processes.
Those in different industries work on highly varied projects in their operations. Customization is key to ensuring they are using the best materials for the job, keeping work environments safe and storage tank contents secure.
Options to best suit your needs
Custom storage tanks exist in a variety of types, including spheres, spheroids, horizontal, fixed roof, floating roof, and bolted. Each performs best under certain pressures and heat. Different types can also better withstand corrosive properties of certain materials more than others. Choosing the correct types and material compositions for tanks is crucial to ensuring their longevity. When tanks fail as a result of weather or improper construction materials, dangerous and even life threatening results may occur. Tank failure can also costly in terms liability, cleanup, and repair or replacement.
Furthermore, choosing the right shapes, materials, and coatings for your tanks has a big impact on tank contents. Metal alloys or materials used in construction can interact with the materials the tanks hold and change their properties. For example, a tank in California had the wrong type of coating, causing it to react poorly with its contents. This particular tank failure ultimately led to a costly shutdown.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) highly regulates storage tanks with enforcement codes for both aboveground and belowground tanks. Members of industry groups and engineering societies have crafted well researched construction codes, standards, and practices for storage tanks based on industries and materials. It is crucial for those implementing tanks to adhere to these codes, as ensuring tank durability and safety impacts their value. Utilizing the correct metal alloys and types helps ensure tank durability, which helps avoid costly corrosion damage. Industry leaders should consider investing in higher tier tanks as they can also help protect the environment, nearby populations, and employees from tank failures.