Standing up or lying down? This may be a matter of little concern to us in everyday life, but when it comes to storage tanks, the orientation can make all the difference. There is a couple of key considerations when choosing a vertical storage tank over a horizontal one, and these will drastically affect the material and the overall productivity of the site.
Vertical storage tanks are less about aesthetics and more about function (though in certain contexts, the form can also play an important role) and need to be reinforced and maintained through a range of factors that can affect the tank and its contents.
Since the material is more compressed in a vertical container—especially liquids and solids—careful considerations should be given to the contents to be put inside a vertical storage container. The material must avoid usual issues when it comes to settlement, and the tank itself must be able to handle the strain.
This also extends to the other processes involving the tank. Operators need to be aware that certain factors can affect the material and the withdrawal method, depending on where from the tank it’s drawn. If it’s drawn from the top, the material may need to be stirred or shaken to avoid settlement; if the withdrawal mechanism is at the bottom, it needs to account for weight to prevent the mechanism from rupturing from the force.
Wind and outside stressors
API 650 tanks are often placed in open areas where they can be vulnerable to outside impact and weather conditions. It’s important that the design of the tank takes these factors into account (such as wind shear and other sources of outside impact) to protect the tank and its contents.
To this regard, regular inspection of the entire tank from top to bottom should be an established practice when dealing with vertical storage tanks. Since they effectively provide more surface area for airborne sources of damage, an inspection of the entire tank should be done regularly to avoid tank failure due to impact.
The area around the tank
While area inspection is something that should be done with every type of tank installation, vertical tanks may often require a bigger area than horizontal tanks. This is to account for the possible scenario of it tipping over in case an earthquake destabilizes it from its standing position or causes it to collapse.
Another consideration about the area around the tank concerns leakage—the force of gravity will often push out material at a faster rate when it comes to vertical tanks. Ideally, a clearly marked area should be set aside to avoid such troubles from occurring and to give room for disaster equipment and personnel to work on the tank from multiple angles if such a crisis occurs.
Of course, the design and make of the tank will also be critical to how it will perform against all those considerations above. Making sure the tank’s quality is up to design standards even before the purchase and use can help avoid these problems, and partnering with a certified tank inspection company can address them before they become too serious.