Monthly Archives: February 2012

Bolted Steel Water Tanks… What Level of Quality Is Required?

In the domestic and international water markets there is a flood of “poor quality” bolted tank designs and products being promoted in the industry today, even by major suppliers. The simple facts are that manufacturers of bolted water tanks are trying to make their products as cheap as possible, to increase margins. This has led to a hodgepodge of tank construction and promotion rhetoric that simply “doesn’t hold water”. Many of today’s bolted steel storage tanks are being designed like today’s household appliances. They will provide a short, finite service life and then require replacement.

At Tank Connection, we receive continuous calls from new clients with horror stories on a “brand x” tank product that was installed in the past. In most cases, they selected a name brand product, but ended up with an installed product that did not meet their expectations.

In municipal water storage, subscribing to AWWA D103 “bolted water tank specification” is a good start, but even this specification includes a few bad ideas that have not been corrected.

In developing a water tank specification, can you protect yourself by utilizing a consultant? The answer is both “yes and no”. In the municipal water market, many consultants are tied to specific products, so objective reviews are in short supply. At TC, we recommend that you conduct your own product review. A little common sense and asking the right questions will go a long way in determining whether or not a storage tank product and service will fulfill your expectations.

As previously noted, AWWA D103 is a good start in developing a bolted tank specification tailored for your application. There are a few deficiencies in the AWWA D103 specification that should be addressed and answered to your satisfaction.

AWWA D103 “Factory Coated Bolted Tanks for Water Storage”

  • Allows the use of .094” minimum thickness in tank sidewall.

    Commentary: It is interesting to note that AWWA D100 (the welded water tank specification) allows a minimum thickness of .1875” for the tank sidewall, but D103 allows a minimum thickness of .094” for the tank sidewall (basically, half the thickness). To be specific, the use of .094” material will fulfill design parameters. Since it is allowed, .094” or common 12 gauge (.1046”) material will be utilized by all bolted tank manufacturers.

    Fact: If you specify AWWA D103 without a minimum design thickness, you will receive .094” material on select tank sizes.

    TC Position: A design minimum of .094” is too light for a municipal water tank application. Municipal water storage should be installed as a major infrastructure investment. The minimum material thickness should be 10 gauge (.1345”) material.

    Customer Question: Is the use of .094” material acceptable for your application and will it fulfill the expectations of your client for decades to come?

  • Allows the use of web stiffeners, also called web supports, web truss and/or webbies. Webbies are an “erectors set” of bolted together stiffeners that go on the outside of a bolted tank.

    Commentary: Again, it is interesting to note that AWWA D100 does not allow the use of web stiffeners. Webbies are utilized on the cheapest water storage tank designs offered in the global market place today including corrugated.

    Fact: The usage of web stiffeners in previous years was limited to a few horizontal web stiffeners on larger tank sizes. The use of web stiffeners is currently out of control in the industry. Some tank manufacturers are utilizing web stiffeners on every ring.

    TC Position: For “A” quality storage, web stiffeners should not be allowed, except for use on 304 or 316 stainless steel tanks. You can’t replace plate thickness with stiffeners and call it high quality storage containment.

    Customer Question: Are web stiffeners acceptable for your application or is increased plate thickness preferred?

  • Allows the use of 5/16” plate in API 12B flanged panel tank construction.

    Fact: The original API 12B specification never intended the use of 5/16” plate material, but rather was limited to 3/16” plate material. The problem created with the use of 5/16” material is that the panel flange break has a history of inconsistency (i.e., over and under break). If the flange break is not precision at 90 degrees, a leak proof tank cannot be guaranteed.

    TC Position: API 12B flanged panels should be limited to ¼” plate material. The use of this product is outdated with today’s precision RTP (rolled, tapered panel) bolted tank technology.

    Customer Question: Is API 12B tank construction acceptable for your application?

  • Allows the use of API 12B flanged panel tanks for standpipe applications.

    Fact: Flanged panel tanks have a history of continuous leaking due to hydrostat loads and excessive head pressure in standpipe applications.

    TC Position: API 12B tanks utilized in water standpipe applications are a misapplication. It is being phased out by API 12B tank manufacturers. The only reason it is still offered in standpipe applications, is that it allows subcontracted field installation crews to use archaic field construction equipment (gin pole and scaffolding) to erect the tank. There is no merit in the selection of an outdated product for a water standpipe application.

    Customer Question: Is API 12B tank construction acceptable for your application?

Bolted Steel Water Tanks — The Correct Equation!

To install a quality bolted steel water tank, there are three major component assemblies to review. This includes the DECK (top of tank), TANK SIDEWALL and TANK BOTTOM. The correct selection of these major components will determine the level of “component quality” available for field construction.

  • Specify latest revision AWWA D103 specification
  • Specify BSR (base setting ring) in concrete or steel bottom
  • Specify aluminum dome cover or conical sloped steel deck design
  • Specify 10 ga. minimum design or default to .094” minimum (per AWWA)
  • Specify that no web stiffeners will be allowed
  • Specify “factory certified” field installation crews

Specify the level of “component quality” required for your project:

  • A product quality — RTP (rolled, tapered panel) design, LIQ Fusion 7000 FBE, no webbies & aluminum dome
  • A product quality — RTP design, stainless steel, minimal webbies & aluminum dome
  • B product quality — RTP design, LIQ Fusion 7000 FBE, minimal webbies, aluminum dome or steel conical sloped deck
  • B product quality — Glass tanks with 2 fire process, no webbies & aluminum dome
  • C product quality — Glass tanks with minimal webbies & aluminum dome or steel conical sloped deck
  • C product quality — API flanged panel design, factory epoxy coated & aluminum dome or steel conical sloped deck
  • D product quality — API flanged panel design, galvanized, steel conical sloped deck
  • D product quality — Glass tanks with 1 fire process, excessive webbies and other stiffeners, steel conical sloped deck

Today’s product quality consists of an unlimited list of steel panel designs and available coating systems. Although the “component quality” review may be considered subjective, it is based on factual data. Additionally, there is an entire spectrum of alternative products that offer even lower quality standards than those shown. This includes trough roof designs, membrane covers, corrugated tanks and the list continues.

Based on proper maintenance, “A” product quality can provide unlimited service life. “B” product quality can provide a 30-40 year service life. “C” product quality can provide a 20-30 year service life. “D” product quality will provide a questionable service life.

In water storage applications, come to Tank Connection for the facts and correct specifications for factory coated, bolted steel tanks. We always welcome the opportunity to specify a storage tank of unmatched quality that will “stand the test of time”. Get it right the first time!

Product Differentiation — We offer real value in our equation!

Tank Connection storage products are not just a step ahead of competitor products. We are miles ahead in products offered, technology and commitment to service the industry with real storage containment systems that will “stand the test of time”. The product differentiation we offer is significant compared to other brand products:

Shop-Welded Tanks

  • Heavier tank designs
  • Cylinder, deck & hopper welded both sides (double-butt full penetration)
  • Increased coating mil thickness (both interior & exterior)
  • Best engineering team & application expertise in integrated storage systems
  • SIT (system installed tank) designs
  • Economies of scale operation
  • Midwest fabrication locations
  • Competitive price leader due to company’s vertical integration model

Bolted Storage Tanks

  • Heavier tank designs
  • Best RTP bolted tank design
  • Best LIQ Fusion 7000 FBE™ & EXT Fusion 5000 FBE™ coating system by Akzo Nobel
  • None of the coating problems associated with glass/vitreous enamel coatings (our system is a stronger system)
  • Increased coating mil thickness (both interior & exterior)
  • Best field construction process (synchronized jacking)
  • Best engineering team & application expertise in integrated storage systems
  • Economies of scale operation
  • Newest, state-of-the-art bolted tank facility worldwide
  • Easily containerized & shipped worldwide
  • Competitive price leader due to company’s vertical integration model
  • Design, manufacture & install by one team

When you specify and procure storage tanks from TCAG, you are dealing with a company that prescribes “golden rule” customer service on every project. We lead the industry in application expertise, storage tank manufacturing technology, vertical integration of operations and field construction services. We are the #1 choice for storage containment products that are low maintenance and provide extended service life in the field.

AluminumDomes.com — Another superior product by TC!

Currently, Tank Connection is full with aluminum dome construction. We maintain aluminum dome inventory for standard diameters and we have special extrusions for special dome applications. In the marketplace, there are a number of dome suppliers. Our avenue of success in this market is providing a superior designed dome of unmatched quality for the best price in the industry.

Dome pricing in the past was represented by mid-quality suppliers that offered their products at ridiculously high prices. It is amusing to witness consistently higher prices being charged by other dome suppliers, until Tank Connection enters the picture, at which point their pricing drops 15-20%. It is safe to say, that if you want the best dome pricing, you better include Tank Connection in the bidding process. We also offer Kynar painted domes and in 2012 we will be releasing our new pressure dome design. Architectural dome applications are right around the corner.

Dry Bulk Storage

Every project is uniquely different, which has always been to our advantage in servicing clients. In dry bulk storage, we are the leading experts in the industry. We know all types of material flow… inside and out. We can design a storage system that will allow the tank contents to empty first-in / first-out. We can fluidize, blend, convey and gently handle stored materials to minimize product degradation. We can design storage systems to minimize particle segregation, eliminating downstream process problems. In stored bulk storage, we are the solution people and we will always provide you with the right answers. When our products are not the solution for your application, we will direct you to the right source.

Understanding material flow and integrated storage systems is where we excel. Our tank designs are conservative and our integrated storage systems are built to stand the “test of time”. This is what has made us #1 in dry bulk storage systems.

TC Construction Services Expands & Moves

Tank Connection Construction Services Group

At Tank Connection, our office space, facilities and even the parking lots are full to capacity. This has led to moving our construction services group back into our old building where we do have space available. TC field construction services are credited in the industry for raising the bar significantly in bolted tank field construction services. We witness other “brand x” companies trying to follow our lead, but with products and field performance efforts that fall far short of the bar we have set. There are no “me too” companies that can perform at our level. None. However, we do find a number of suppliers that want to compare their products to Tank Connection. We thank you for your indirect promotion of our products and services.

For the highest quality tank field installation, we offer the following:

  • Tank Connection Construction – Non-union field installation services for bolted RTP (rolled, tapered panel), hybrid, field-weld and shop-weld storage tanks. The TC construction services group are recognized as the top bolted tank erection services available in the domestic and global market. Larry Palmer is the General Manager.
  • Alliance Constructors – Union field installation services for bolted RTP (rolled, tapered panel) and hybrid storage tank construction. This is the #1 union bolted tank field installation company available in North America. Kevin Hill is the General Manager.
  • ATEC Steel – Provides premier non-union field installation services for field-weld tank construction in North America. Jeff Heck is the VP of Construction Services.

TC field construction services are the best in the industry. We have unlimited testimonies touting our field services as the safest and highest quality available.

President’s Review, 2011

We had quite a year-end finale at Tank Connection. Incoming orders for the 4th quarter remained strong right to the end. Additionally, we continue to see strong future activity that is growing at an accelerated pace. We are very excited about 2012 opportunities, both domestically and in the international arena.

To start off the New Year, we would like to thank all of our clients for your business. At Tank Connection, we are a client focused company. Your business has never been taken for granted at TC. We understand that we have to earn it with continuous, consistent performance on every project. TC’s internal focus is on continuous improvement in all operations. From defining our internal processes, to ISO 9001 certification, Tank Connection is committed to designing, manufacturing and installing the best storage systems available in the industry today. We don’t have to be the biggest tank supplier in the World, but we do have to provide the best products and services. Anything less by our standards is simply unacceptable.

Based on your reviews of our performance, compared to other suppliers, we are proud to be recognized as the premier provider of integrated storage systems. We have set a new benchmark of quality in the storage industry because our focus is on our client’s needs. We don’t have conflicting priorities at TC because our customers are the priority.
As stated in our ISO 9001:2008 Tank Connection Quality Policy – Tank Connection personnel are committed to the relentless pursuit of continuous improvement in all our business operations to fulfill the needs of our customers.

To be very direct on this subject, our customers deserve this level of commitment in design innovation, manufactured storage products, system integration and field construction services. In 2012, we are taking our performance to the next level to serve our clients. Again, on behalf of Tank Connection, thank you for the opportunity to be your vendor of choice in storage.