You see them dotting the landscape across the country, from little horizontal cylinders perched atop stands to massive vertical domes with reinforced bases that are larger than houses: stainless steel storage tanks.
How can such a simple construct — a type of bulk storage tank — be so prevalent among industries as diverse as agriculture, construction, livestock, and petroleum?
In a word: money. Or, more specifically, saving money.
Having key materials such as feed and fuel available on demand minimizes downtime and increases productivity. It also enables companies to reduce costs on essential substances by buying in bulk, saving not just on the material itself, but eliminating multiple delivery fees.
Plastic is comparatively inexpensive, easy to form, and readily available, making plastic storage tanks an option for some applications. Plus, it has some unique properties, such as its ability to be translucent so a user can see the content levels inside. But plastic also has several characteristics that create problems in certain situations.
If a tank will be filled or emptied quickly, faster than its vents enable air to move, the contents come under pressure. This can cause a plastic storage tank to burst.
Similarly, if there are rigid pipes or fittings, temperature changes can cause a plastic tank to expand or contract, potentially straining the stationary pipes beyond their limits.
Lastly, plastic simply is not a viable option if a storage tank is meant to contain liquids at extreme temperatures or those that are abrasive. Solvents, petroleum products, and some detergents can quickly degrade plastic.
Stainless steel storage tanks have a variety of uses, but most fall under three main categories:
One of the most popular uses for stainless steel storage tanks is chemical storage as a strong, reliable storage system is required to resist corrosion and protect against easy puncture that could lead to an environmental mess.
Chemical stainless steel storage tanks can take the form of stationary structures set in their foundations or nurse tanks — smaller tanks that are designed to be moved around in the field and that can withstand the rigors of being out in the open and moved on a trailer.
For ranches, feed for livestock is one of the most plentiful materials used on a daily basis. Having a ready supply of feed keeps your cows, pigs, horses, chickens, and goats happy and healthy.
Two key aspects of stainless steel storage tanks for feed are how the tanks will be filled and how they will be unloaded. The right custom metal fabricator will be able to create an ideal product to suit any situation — for example, outfitting a tank with a hopper to ease feed dispersal and fabricating structural steel legs to create a throughway beneath the storage tank so distribution trucks can drive underneath for loading.
Irrigation, manufacturing, and fire-protection services require a ready supply of water to hand. For these applications, a conical bottom can be designed for stainless steel storage tanks to ensure quick and complete drainage of liquids.
Potable water can also be stored in stainless steel storage tanks for use in the food and beverage industry.
We at Southern Metal Fabricators have 25 years of experience fabricating stainless steel storage tanks that meet our clients’ biggest challenges. This experience enables us to help our partners plan, design, and build ideal solutions for their unique needs — even the ones they don’t know they have.
Our extensive custom metal fabrication facility enables us to create large bulk storage products — we can easily build tanks up to 60-feet high.
Contact us at 1-800-989-1330 if you think you may benefit from a storage tank that will help you increase productivity and efficiency.