Above ground storage tanks come in unlimited sizes and can store a seemingly infinite variety of liquid products. Although it seems like tanks are not that different, one main difference is where they are built. For a liquid fertilizer tank, it is either built in the shop or in the field at the final location.
As indicated by the name, shop built tanks are built in the shop of the construction company. The benefits of being a shop tank builder are always being inside, having a central location for your work force, and being able to have common sized tanks prebuilt for last minute orders. Once the tank is completed, it is transported to the final location and secured to the ground or foundation. Because of the portability of these tanks, they can change owners without too much difficulty.
Field erected tanks are another story. Once the tank design is decided, the materials are ordered. When the tank is ready for construction, the crew takes all of the necessary equipment and material to the tank site. There they work in the field carefully constructing the tank piece by steel piece. With working outside, mother nature is a big influence on when it is safe to continue construction. It is a site to behold when a large liquid fertilizer tank is being field erected. The steel pieces seem to float into place under the guide of an enormous crane. Building a field erected tank is a long term labor of just a few weeks up to several months, depending on the tank size. Once a tank is completed, the crew moves to the location of the next project.
So how do you decide whether to have a shop built tank or a field erected tank? Most of the time that decision is made for you by the size of the steel storage tank you need. Field erected tanks tend to be the choice starting at a tank size of 100,000 gallons. Field erected tanks can range to gargantuan sizes of several million gallons.
Obviously, shop built tanks are smaller than this, but there is some room where the size can overlap with field erected tanks. One of the biggest considerations is the feasibility of transporting the tank from the shop to the location. The wider the tank the trickier the trip becomes.
Shop Time Always Required
While the final construction location of shop built and field erected tanks are different, both require work in the construction company’s shop. For a field erected tank, the steel plates need to be cut in the shop according to the steel storage tank design. This enables a perfect fit when the plates are placed together in the field. Each plate has a specific spot in the tank design and is marked with its shell, floor, or roof location.
At Heartland Tank Companies, we are experts on constructing field erected tanks to the API 650 Standard. That is our passion and pursuit of excellence. Want to know more? Contact us.