Remote Stackable Tanks for Alaska

Remote Stackable Tanks for Alaska

AGI Westeel is one of Canada’s largest fabricators of fuel storage tanks and although a majority of our tanks are used in Canada, we often take advantage of our lower dollar and extensive fabricating experience to take on projects across international boundaries.

In December 2015 we were approached by an Alaskan municipal organization looking for an experienced steel tank fabricator from which they could procure (x20) 27,000 US gallon Underwriters Laboratories (UL) listed fuel tanks for shipment over open water in a stackable configuration to minimize the shipping footprint. This project was part of a competitive bid process in which AGI Westeel bid against five other fabricators capable of taking on a project of this size and complexity. AGI Westeel submitted a proposal and in January 2016 we were awarded the contract.

From the onset we knew that this would be a challenging project requiring a team approach to project management with input from sales, finance, engineering, operations, supply chain and logistics. Beyond the obvious requirements of designing a 27,000 US gallon UL listed tank suitable for long term use in harsh weather conditions, our engineering team was tasked with developing a temporary support mechanism capable of stacking tanks in three rows and built to withstand the weight of the tanks and the possible forces related to transportation on water with a reasonable safety factor.

With each tank weighing an estimated 23,000 lbs this task was further complicated by the standard 11’ overall width of our tank resulting in a skid too wide for standard trucking to the barge port. To overcome the skid width issue, our engineers worked in conjunction with UL to develop a maximum 8’ skid width that fits on standard trucking decks while still maintaining the minimum saddle/tank contact required per UL 142 standards. Design calculations were put together internally and approved by a third party engineer.

Armed with the skid dimensions, our engineers then began to plan for a temporary H-Frame support capable of holding the weight of two additional rows of tanks above the bottom tank along with the forces related to transportation on water. The result was a bolt together frame, x-braced to resist lateral shipping forces with pinned ends for increased buckling strength. The pinned ends of the H-Frame also made it easy to stack and unstack the tanks without compromising the integrity of the tanks and still stay within the limitations of the UL 142 code requirements. The H-Frame engineering calculations where again reviewed and approved by a third party engineer.

On the engineering process, AGI Westeel’s lead design tank engineer Nika Klassen, P.Eng added, “AGI Westeel’s Engineering group uses three dimensional modelling software. While giving the shop and sales group realistic product view representations, it also provides assembly interference detection, section property calculations as well as finite element stress analysis. These tools give AGI Westeel the ability to create field ready custom products in a timely manner.”

Beyond engineering, the project tested the abilities of the operations and supply chain teams. The timeline from order award until the shipment of the tanks was very tight. The supply chain team worked closely with AGI Westeel’s supplier partners to ensure that raw materials would be at our fabrication facility when fabrication was scheduled to begin. The operations teams allocated workers from our already busy facility to the fabrication and testing of the tanks within very tight timeframes. As with many projects, the customer made a trip to review the fabrication and report on any deficiencies. These inspections were completed without problem and the customer signed off on the project.

Kris Wingert, AGI Westeel Operations Manager and his team spent a lot of time on the small details to ensure project success, focusing specifically on the stacking system. “We could not take any chances. Each tank stacking system was installed using a custom fabricated jig to replicate the tank and ensure everything was installed identically. Once the tanks were complete we duplicated the procedure in our yard as they would be doing on the loading dock by stacking several tanks on top of each other to ensure there would be no issues after delivery.”

Ensuring adequate financial backing and risk mitigation for a project of this magnitude was also no small challenge, and one that we were eager to take on. “As part of the Ag Growth International group of companies, we are able to leverage the support that comes from being a part of a publicly traded company with a market cap exceeding $1 billion. This size ensured that we would be able to complete the project and gave us the cushion to work around any unforeseen barriers that would derail smaller companies,” noted Brian Bateman, AGI Westeel Tank Division’s Director of Liquid Sales.

The remote tank project required a team effort consisting of sales, engineering, supply chain, operations and logistics. The project was completed on time and on budget, with a very satisfied customer. “While on site for the final inspection of the tanks, our client was quick to comment that our design, quality, fit and finish was as good as he had ever seen. I took this as a strong testament to the strength of our products,” said Darcy Simoneau, AGI Westeel’s Strategic Account Manager.

AGI Westeel has a history of tackling tough projects with innovative solutions that are efficient, effective and meet the needs of even the most demanding customers. We have the financial backing and overall experience necessary to execute on projects of all magnitudes and enjoy the challenge of taking on projects that demonstrate our ability to produce quality products, on time and on budget, where other fabricators are not willing to do so.

AGI Westeel is an Ag Growth International company. AGI is publicly traded on the TSX and operates facilities around the world producing storage and handling equipment for a wide range of industries. AGI Westeel’s petroleum tank division operates state of the art tank fabrication plants in Olds, Alberta and Nobleford, Alberta. We are capable of fabricating steel storage products from a few hundred to 235,000 liters and beyond. We have more than 50 years of history as one of Canada’s largest fabricators of fuel storage tanks. We operate within a culture of safety and operational excellence. Our facilities are manned by a dedicated team of professional welders supported by sales, engineering, supply chain and logistics personnel.

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