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Top Ten Considerations When Buying a Tank

Tanks and silos offer many customized features, from staircases and safety features to individualized hopper angles.

You’re thinking about purchasing a new tank. You know there are several options available, from construction materials to coatings to features. You may have heard that leading tank and silo manufacturers will engineer a tank designed for your individual application.
But what are your specific criteria and how can you ensure that you purchase a tank with the best longevity for the lowest cost?
There are several factors to consider when purchasing a tank, but identifying what you really need—and what you don’t—will help ensure you find a tank that’s right
for the job.
1. Determine the parameters for your tank, particularly the volume of storage needed and the properties of the product to be stored, such as abrasiveness and flow characteristics.
2. Has your product been flow tested? Flow testing will determine your product’s unique flow requirements, including whether the product is free flowing or non–free flowing.
3. Consider the types of tanks available today. Concrete or field-welded tanks are often chosen for large volume of storage. However, shop-welded and bolted tanks offer more features, quick installation, expandability, and mobility.
4. What are your space limitations? Available space will determine the height and width of the tank to accommodate the volume of storage needed. Make sure the construction materials you choose are reasonable for the available space.

Your available space will determine the height and width of the tank you need, whether tall and slender or short and wide.

5. Think about your timeline. Concrete and field-welded tanks have longer manufacturing and installation turnaround times than shop-welded and bolted tanks.
6. Coatings are important. The most advanced coatings provide superior abrasion and corrosion resistance. Factory-applied and thermally cured coatings are best, ensuring a durable, controlled finish. Field-applied coatings may not ensure full coverage, and their curing relies on good weather.
7. Keep design criteria in mind. High wind loads, heavy deck loads, and severe seismic conditions all will require tanks with wider widths and shorter heights.
8. Consider having your components installed at the factory. This reduces costs and the time required for field installation.
9. Ask about features and custom options available from the manufacturer. These include staircases, access platforms, safety features, drive-through designs (for trucks and rail cars), bin feeders, dust collectors, blenders, level indicators, pressure relief devices, etc.
10. When thinking about cost and budget, consider the life cycle ownership cost of the tank, not just the up-front cost. If the tank will be used for years to come, maintenance and expansion also should be considered.
For more information, contact David Wheat, Columbian TecTank, 620-421-0200, dwheat@columbiantectank.com.