Can Anyone Lift Tanks?

By LYNDON DOHMS, RET, API 653 Certification

API 653 (B.1.3) states “Major releveling of the tank, involving total lifting of the tank bottom and shell at one time, can introduce high localized stresses in the structure and impair it’s integrity. ... If it is decided to lift the entire tank shell and bottom at one time, it should be done by personnel with demonstrated experience in this technique.”

A certified API 653 Tank Inspector says:
“Anyone can put jacks or airbags under a tank and apply pressure, but the authors of the API 653 Tank Repair standard recognize that there is much more to consider.”

After 30 plus years experience in lifting and foundationing tanks, MTS has developed a comprehensive understanding of the crucial issues surrounding the safe and efficient lifting of tanks structures, including:

  1. How a circular tank can be pivoted smoothly back into a level plane without causing localized stresses.

  2. Why certain irregular low spots in the tank shell cannot and should not be corrected.

  3. What are the correct survey tolerances for a releveled tank.

  4. Why just equal pressure to jacks or airbags will not ensure a perpendicular lift.

  5. Why floating the tank on air or water will damage the tank.

  6. What lifting points and floor suspension system engineers say is the best.

  7. Why a metered, double contact hydraulic lifting system is the safest for the tank and the people working near it.

  8. How different the foundation load is right under the shell, and what other forces affect this area.

  9. Which foundation designs solve tank settlement problems, and which designs do not.

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