Differences of Field Erected Tanks and Shop-Fabricated Tanks

Aboveground storage tanks are essential to life as we know it.  So many products that we use in our daily life relied in some part on an aboveground storage tank that contained fertilizer, water, oil, a processing chemical, or some other liquid.

While the purpose and concept are exactly the same, there are two ways that vertical aboveground storage tanks can be built: shop-built and field erected.  The main determination of which method to use is based on the end capacity of the aboveground storage tank.  However, the tools and manner in which the tank is constructed varies between the two tank building methods as well.

Hanging PlateTank Size Matters

The most obvious difference between shop-built tanks and field erected tanks is size.  Shop-fabricated tanks range in size from a few thousand gallons up to between 30,000 and 50,000 gallons.  As the name indicates, the tank is assembled in the tank manufacturer’s shop and then transported to the customer’s tank site.

The size limitation for shop-fabricated tanks is based on the size of equipment and shop space to handle the tank construction.  Another restraint is being able to transport the finished shop-built tank to its site location.

Field erected storage tanks can start out at 50,000 gallons and range all the way to several million gallons.  Because these aboveground storage tanks are so large in size, all of the materials for the tank are transported to the tank site and assembled to create the storage tank.

Bigger Tank; Bigger Equipment

Large equipment is used to both prepare the material for the field erected tank as well as construct the tank on site.  To build field erected tanks, all of the material for the aboveground storage tank must first be prepared so that it is ready for assembly on site.  Heartland Tank, LLC uses a plasma CNC cutting system to ensure precision in cutting each piece of steel as well as efficient use of material.  Bridge cranes are used to lift the large pieces of steel to and from the burn table.

Wide Angle Girth WeldingOn site, cranes are used to lift each steel sheet into place.  The tank floor is built first and then steel sheets for the shell courses are positioned and welded to make the circular shape of the tank.  Once all of the steel sheets are in place to create a shell ring, a double-sided girth welder can be used to weld the girth or round seams of the shell courses.  After the shell courses are in place and the roof rafters are set, the crane places the roof plates.

Learn More

Let us answer your tank questions.  Heartland Tank, LLC and Heartland Tank Services, Inc. specialize in construction and servicing field erected storage tanks.  Contact us for all of your aboveground storage needs on our website or at 800-774-3230.

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One Response to “Differences of Field Erected Tanks and Shop-Fabricated Tanks”

  1. Darsi Crane

    Thank you very much for explaining the difference between Field Constructed and Shop Fabricated Tanks. Your website is instrumental in defining the two types of ASTs. Our Tank Program members now understand the tank types and required tank inspection(s) in accordance with SP001, Federal and State regulations.

    Darsi Crane
    Hill AFB, Utah


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