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Get The Facts on Bolted Tanks!

 

For over 32+ years, Superior Tank Co., Inc. has been engineering, manufacturing, installing and servicing bolted and welded steel tanks. We take great pride in providing the highest quality steel tanks in the industry. Our tanks may or may be not the lowest cost but they are ALWAYS the best quality and will provide the lowest lifecycle cost. Below are just a few reasons how our tanks differ from our competitors tanks:

 

 

Steel Tank Engineering & Manufacturing

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  • Superior Tank Co., Inc. designs and builds its own bolted steel tanks to meet or exceed local building codes including seismic requirements, snow loads and wind loads.

Bolted steel tanks can be designed and manufactured to wind loads up to 250mph. Heavier gauge steel and tanks anchored to the concrete foundation significantly increases the tank’s resistance to the forces of nature. Superior Tank employs a full time Professional Engineer and Structural Engineer to ensure our tanks meet or exceed all relevant codes and standards. Superior Tank bolted tanks which were installed in Chile survived recent earthquakes without damage.

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Better Steel for Better Bolted Tanks

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  • Bolted steel tanks are constructed of high quality carbon steel for greater strength.

Weaker steel used in other types of tanks are not used with our bolted steel tanks. Superior Tank manufactures tanks up to 5/16” depending on the project requirements and AWWA D103-09 includes 4-to-1 safety factors. In addition to purchasing higher strength steel, Superior Tank also inspects raw steel to ensure source material meets various quality standards such as surface quality, edge quality, silicone content, squaredness and flatness. Pieces not meeting the prescribed benchmarks are not used.

 

It is common for welded tanks to use thicker steel in order to absorb the extreme heat generated from the welding process and to avoid warping. In addition, welded tanks assume the coating will fail and rust will occur therefore they include additional steel to allow for steel loss due to corrosion. Extra thickness is also needed when the field applied coating of a welded tank fails which occurs every 6-10 years. The thickness allows steels to be removed during sandblasting without the steel becoming too thin. Just remember, thicker steel does not equal greater strength as the quality of the steel makes a big difference.

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Single Shell Construction for Superior Strength

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  • Our bolted steel tanks are crafted using steel plates which are bolted together every 2” which firmly fastens the entire structure together with uncompromising rigidity.

The bolt together assembly process is simple and straightforward eliminating the need to x-ray welds which is required with welded tanks. Also, all Superior Tanks are complete structures and include roof, walls and bottom to form one unit. Some glass-lined tanks do not include tank bottoms and use site poured concrete foundations as the floor. Unfortunately, this can lead to leaks as the concrete foundation and the tank shell expand and contract at different rates. Another cost cutting measure other manufacturers use is the tank shell is only bolted to the floor/foundation every 4+ inches compared to a Superior Tank in which the tank shell is bolted to the steel tank floor every 2”.

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Gaskets that Withstand the Test of Time

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  • Superior Tank uses preformed gaskets made of durable synthetic rubber to seal our tank.

While other bolted steel tank companies use a putty mastic between the staves, we use pre-punched gaskets. Our gaskets are available in various materials depending on the application; EPDM for water and Buna-N or Viton for oil applications. These gaskets remain pliable for decades and do not ooze or slip out of place. Other companies who use putty mastic commonly will recommend replacing the mastic every 10 years. We do not have this requirement as we have found our gaskets to be considerably more durable than mastic (they look better too!).

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Factory Powder Coating – Total Corrosion Protection

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  • To protect against corrosion, every square inch of our bolted steel tanks are factory powder coated. Under less than ideal conditions, field-applied coatings cannot provide this level of protection.

As our tanks are pre-fabricated in our 50,000 square foot State-of-the-Art factory, there is no need to apply coatings in the field. Applying the coating before the tank is erected allows us to seal hard to reach places such as the underside of the tank bottoms and the top of roof rafters. In critical areas such as panel edges and bolt holes, two layers of powder coating are applied. Our powder coating is applied dry using electrostatic current ensuring a uniform and drip free finish with 100% coverage. During the thermoset process, the coating is heated to chemically and physically bond the powder coating to the steel. Several powder coating formulas are available including epoxy for tank interiors and TGIC for tank exteriors. In addition, Scotchkote by 3M is available for storage of corrosive liquids such as crude oil and brine. Each formula is designed for a particular application such as storage of potable water, wastewater, water for fire protection or crude oil. To protect tank appurtenances against corrosion, all nozzles, manways and hatches also are powder coated using the same process. As a second layer of protection against corrosion in the event the coating is damaged by a thrown rock or dropped tool, all of our powder coated tanks include a layer of Silica- Zirconium (SiZr). This liquid seal is sprayed onto the prepared steel before the powder coating is applied. Independent lab tests have proven the SiZr seal eliminates the spread of corrosion and minimizes the coating repairs needed.

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Bolted Tank Coatings with Proven Durability

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  • The durability of our powder coating is not just a claim, it’s a fact.

The longevity and strength of our epoxy powder coating and TGIC powder coating has been verified by an independent laboratory. Various performance criteria were measured such as resistant to abrasion, significant impact, corrosive salt spray, high humidity and temperature and our powder coating meet or exceed durability benchmarks. Overall our factory powder coating has been PROVEN to provide superior performance.

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Environmentally and Budget Friendly Coatings

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  • Our powder coating is good for the environment as well as your budget.

The powder coating we use is environmentally friendly as it is VOC-free and no air polluting particulates are released. Our powder coating is applied dry which eliminates solvents which can evaporate into potable water resulting in taste and water quality issues. Compared to other coatings with higher initial costs and shorter lifespan, our powder coating will save you money as well.

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Bolted Steel Tanks to Fit Your Project

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  • Superior Tank builds over 200 different standard sized tanks ranging from 4,000 to 3,500,000 gallons which fit the needs of most projects.

As we own and operate our own manufacturing facility we can provide other sizes if needed. Our engineering department designs each tank to the specific requirements of the project. If the tank is to be located in high wind load areas or have a higher Seismic Use Group rating, the tank design will be modified to meet or exceed these requirements. Despite looking similar, all of our tanks are 100% customized.

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Meets the ZERO Leakage Standard

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  • Our bolted steel tanks are MANDATED by AWWA standards not to leak.

In the AWWA D103 standard, which covers bolted steel tanks, there is a ZERO leakage standard and the vacuum tester system was designed to verify compliance with this requirement. The AWWA standard for concrete tanks actually allows for leakage illustrating high probability of leaks with concrete tanks. This leakage potential also exists with bolted steel tanks using concrete floors and embedded shells as the concrete floor is porous and not sealed against water. Should a Superior Tank ever experience a leak, the bolts can easily be tightened correcting the problem.

 

An additional note regarding concrete tanks and concrete floors is the lack of NSF certification due to the local sourcing and composition of the concrete.

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Engineered and Built to Last

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  • The lifespan of a welded tank and a bolted tank can both exceed 50 years-when they are maintained properly.

All tanks require maintenance, regardless of manufacturer’s false sales pitches. The largest difference between a bolted steel tank and a welded steel tank is the maintenance required. Welded steel tanks can require recoating every 7-10 years compared to a factory powder coated bolted steel tank which can last 20-30 years especially if minor coating touchup is performed on a periodic basis. The reason why a powder coated finish will last longer is the powder coating is applied using highly automated processes under tightly controlled conditions resulting in a high quality and defect free coating. Conversely, with a welded tank, the steel is prepared and coating is applied in the field leading to inconsistent and questionable quality. Welded steel tanks are sandblasted by hand and therefore are reliant on the skill and training of the human operating the gun. Weather conditions during the coating application can negatively impact the coating lifespan. If the humidity level is too high and the coating is not applied directly after sandblasting, flash rust can occur preventing the coating from achieving full adhesion strength. If breezy conditions exist, the steel surface is too hot or ambient temperature is too high, the coating will dry before contacting the steel or will cure too fast. In addition, the liquid coating formula can vary from project to project which will impact the coating longevity. The skill and training of the person applying the coating will also affect the coating. If the paint gun operator does not have enough training, is sleepy or not paying attending, defects in the coating can occur which may not be evident until several years after the tank has been placed into service. Factory powder coating is immune from these shortfalls.

 

When compared to glass lined bolted steel tanks, our factory epoxy powder coated tanks provide greater longevity as well. Most glass lined tanks use mastic putty which requires periodic replacement and this mandate is included in a majority of manufacturers’ guidelines. All bolted steel tanks manufactured by Superior Tank use synthetic rubber gasket which does NOT need to be replaced as part of tank maintenance. In addition, if a glass lined bolted steel tank is damaged by a thrown rock or dropped tool, the only way to patch is to apply a glob of sealant over the area as the glass lining cannot be repaired in the field. If the patch does not work, the entire panel must be replaced. Please note, glass lined tanks are “run to fail” and cannot be recoated or repaired; once the coating begins to fail the entire tank needs to be replaced. Our factory powder coating can easily be repaired in the field and the repair will match the existing coating. Also, as the entire tank can be recoated, it is not necessary to replace the whole tank and our tanks can be kept in service for many decades with routine maintenance. Another element which impacts lifespan of glass lined bolted steel tanks is the fact they commonly do not have a tank bottom and use the foundation as a floor. Any hairline cracks in the concrete can allow water to penetrate, which corrodes the steel rebar in the foundation and jeopardizes the longevity of the tanks. Bolted steel tanks manufactured by Superior Tank all include tank bottoms for increased structural rigidity and overall lifespan. However, we recognize select projects will call for items outside of our normal specification. We are the tank designer and manufacturer and we employ our own installation teams. Therefore we can easily accommodate special requests such concrete floors with embedded shells.

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Fast & Reliable Bolt Together Construction

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  • Bolted tanks are not manufactured on site; they are only assembled.

Our bolted steel tanks are precision manufactured in our State-of-the-Art factory using automated machinery to exact specifications and the final coating is applied before the tank leaves our plant. Therefore all that is required on the job site is to bolt the tank together. Our tank components fit well together therefore eliminating onsite rework and modifications. Slow and costly operations such as welding, grinding and sandblasting are not required on site. Eliminating these functions also removes requirements such as the need for extra equipment on site such as respirators, facemasks, face protection, barrier creams for exposed skin, additional ventilation to exhaust toxic vapors and explosion-proof equipment. In addition, ASME welders with current certifications do not have to travel to the job site daily. As final coating is performed at the factory it is not necessary to wait until weather conditions are just right before applying the coating (temperature, relative humidity level, dew point, predicted weather during drying time, etc). Applying our powder coating at the factory also eliminates the need to spray paint multiple layers of coating on the tank and then ensure the solvent has properly cured before placing the tank into service. We have discovered assembling a tank is faster, easier, more accurate and provides a longer life span compared to trying to fabricate a tank in the open elements.

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A Warranty’s Real Worth

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  • Steel tank companies offer a wide variety of warranties, but the value of the warranty is only as good as the company behind the warranty.

Two warranties from two companies can be dramatically different, even if they cover the same time span. A warranty from a company with 1 or 2 years of history does not have the same value as a warranty issued by a company with 30 years in the industry. How can a customer be assured the company will be around and their tanks will not fail within 5 years. A 20 year warranty from a company which is no longer in business due to excessive warranty claims and poor quality is not worth the paper it is printed on.

 

Other difference between warranties is the inclusions or exclusions. When we provide the tank and tank erection, our warranty covers BOTH parts AND installation work. Most warranties only include the tanks parts and not the installation leaving the customer to pay for any issues arising from the erection. In addition, most “20 year warranties” only cover parts and not shipping costs or the cost to install the defective part. Be aware of warranties which require you to incur additional costs such as paying to remove the defect part, shipping of the bad part back to the manufacturer, shipping the new part and the installation cost of the new part as theses costs can be significant. In addition, having to frequently pay for shipping and installation of a failed low quality part negates any value a long warranty has.

 

Another major dissimilarity is the scope of work the tank company includes with their contract. For example, if a company manufactures the tank but contracts out the installation and the tank develops an issue, the manufacturer may refer the customer back to the installer and not honor the warranty. Conversely, the installer likely will refuse to fix the tank as they claim they installed the tank properly and did not manufacture the tank. This “finger pointing” leaves the customer in the middle with a tank which is leaking or not functioning properly. At times legal action is needed to force a manufacturer to honor their warranty. At Superior Tank, we can engineer, manufacture and install our tanks and when we provide all elements, we directly warranty the tank. We install our tanks using our own in house field teams and if there is an issue we use the same employee field teams to correct the issue. There is no fingering pointing and we have a reputation of doing whatever is needed to resolve any issues; just ask our customers. The buck stops with us…

 

Ultimately, the best guarantee a company can provide is a high quality product. Regardless of what a piece of paper says, the only real warranty is the quality of the tank and the customer service provided by the manufacturer. At Superior Tank, we recognize this fact and take great pride in earning a 98.4% Customer Satisfaction rating.

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Know What You’re Buying

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  • Tanks made by competitors are NOT the same and will not perform the same.

Similar to the differences in automobile quality, the quality of bolted steel tanks vary considerably from one company to another. Differences include quality of raw materials, attention to detail in the manufacturing process and company experience. Many companies claim to be the best; but Superior Tank has testing results from an independent laboratory confirming the durably and longevity of our products. In addition, STCI has been certified to comply with strict API Q1 / ISO 9001 standards. Compliance positively confirms our tanks meet design standards and quality objectives. Without this, customers are not sure if the tank they are buying actually meets the design criteria. At Superior Tank, we have results to support our name!

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