Fireguard® Tanks: How T BAILEY INC. Fabricated Disaster-Resistant Fuel Tanks For The Air Force

T BAILEY, INC. is proud to be a licensed fabricator of STI Fireguard® tanks — robust fuel tanks designed in accordance with UL2085 that provide a dependable source of fuel in the face of adverse environmental conditions.

One Fireguard® project we recently completed was for a US Air Force base in Alaska. The client approached us with a request to fabricate fuel tanks that could be relied on during brutal Alaskan winters and in the event of a natural or manmade disaster.

This case study will share the process T BAILEY INC. used to create these specialized tanks, as well as the challenges we overcame to complete this project.

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Why Fireguard® Tanks Were the Solution for the US Army Corp of Engineers (USACE)

The USACE told us the size of tanks that they needed and then requested that we fabricate them with maximum durability. They needed a tank that would continue operating regardless of environmental conditions — a necessary feature in the harsh Alaskan wilderness as well as the elevated seismic design criteria.

Fireguard® tanks provided an effective solution to the USACE needs because they are fire-rated above-ground steel fuel storage tanks having 110% secondary containment. Beyond fire, these robust tanks are resistant to vehicle collisions, ballistics, earthquakes, and many other disasters.

Longevity like this makes Fireguard® tanks a welcome addition to any fuel storage facility.

Fireguard’s® Unique Design

Fireguard® tanks are protected by a double-wall of steel and insulation.The inner primary tank is nestled inside a 3-6 inch layer of insulation, which in turn is contained inside the outer steel tank.

This multi-layered protection is enhanced by the presence of emergency vents on both tanks, which protect the tank against fire and excessive pressure.

Better yet, Fireguard® tanks come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, so the USACE was able to choose the ideal dimensions for their job site.

Advanced Insulation Technology

Inbetween the inner primary tank and the outer secondary tank is a 3-6 inch space that we fill with a specialized designed light weight concrete. The preferred insulation is the Steel Tank Institute of America’s (STI) STA premix material. STA premix material is a super lightweight concrete alternative — a shocking 75% lighter than concrete. Its extreme lightness means lower transportation, installation, and relocation costs for our customers.

The Process We Used to Fabricate Fireguard® Tanks for the USACE

The four Fireguard® tanks we manufactured for the USACE were massive — the outer shell of each tank was 12 feet in diameter and 60 feet long.

1. Cutting, Rolling, and Welding

Each Fireguard® tank required that we fabricate two tanks — the inner and outer tanks — and then slide them together into their final form.

Fabrication began with the cutting and rolling of the tank bodies. Each body was composed of several sections and each of these were rolled individually.

Once the sections were cut and rolled, we welded sections together to form the inner and outer tanks. For example, the outer tank had six sections welded together to make up the final, 60-foot long tank.

2. Testing and Assembly

Once the outer and inner tanks were cut, rolled, and welded, we air-tested the inner tanks to ensure that they were leak tight.

Next, we slid the tanks together, and then attached the heads of the outer tank.

Lastly, we air-tested the interstitial space. Doing this required us to pressurize the inner tank to prevent collapse.

3. Hardware Insertion

The next step was to fabricate and attach hardware. For the Air Force’s tanks, this included nozzles,manways, emergency vents, ladders and platform brackets.

At the same time, our team fabricated the saddles for the tanks. Due to the extreme weight of these tanks, the saddles required special engineering.

4. Painting

Once the attachments and saddles were welded on and the tanks passed inspection and testing, the fabrication process was officially over and the tanks were passed on to T BAILEY INC.’s in-house painting division.

Our expert painters coated the inside of the inner tank with a hardy epoxy coat and covered the outside of the outer tank in a robust polyurethane coat. All coatings were completed in our SSPC – QP3 certified paint facility.

Fireguard Tanks

Challenges We Overcame to Complete this Project On Time

When you partner with T BAILEY INC., you can rest assured that our team of experts will be able to solve any and every challenge your project faces. Our decades of experience and access to state-of-the-art technology enable us to troubleshoot problems without risking a project’s deadline.

The Fireguard® tank project we completed for the Air Force base in Alaska is a prime example of this unique ability to overcome challenges quickly.

Here are three serious challenges that this project ran into and how we overcame them in true T BAILEY INC. fashion.

Challenge #1: Insert One Tank Inside the Other

One of the biggest challenges we faced was engineering a way to get the inner tank to slide inside the outer tank. There weren’t any guides for us to follow and so we had to create a system of getting the inner tanks nestled inside the outer tanks.

Our team resolved this by constructing a wheel and dolly system that inserted the inner tank into the outer tank, along with the help of a specialized crane system.

Challenge #2: Maintaining a Consistent Amount of Interstitial Space Around the Inner Tank

Another challenge with the double walls was designing a way to keep an equal amount of distance in the interstitial space between the inner and outer tanks.

Like the previous challenge, this required our engineers to quickly brainstorm a solution that would prevent the inner tank from resting too low within the outer tank.

The solution T BAILEY INC.’s professionals came up with was to install strong wheels along the inner bottom of the outer tank. Doing this accomplished two things:

  1. The wheels made it easier to slide the inner tank inside the outer tank — helping us resolve challenge #1.
  2. Once the tank was inside, the wheels propped it up off the floor of the outer tank, maintaining a consistent amount of separation between the two tanks.

T BAILEY INC.’s engineering team had to design these inner wheels. Which, as you can imagine, was a challenge all on its own because these wheels needed to be strong enough to support the weight of the inner tank, while also limber enough to help roll the tank inside.

Challenge #3: Delivering Heavy Tanks to a Remote Job Site

Due to the size and weight of the tanks, installing the light-weight concrete insulation during fabrication would have made these tanks much too heavy to ship. Already, the size alone meant we couldn’t get the tanks to the job site by truck or rail.

Fortunately for the Air Force base, an advantage of partnering with T BAILEY INC. is our access to three different delivery options. Since the first two were out of the question for the Alaskan job site, we were able to get the tanks delivered via barge.

The way we made the tanks light enough to ship was by keeping the interstitial space empty. Then, once the tanks had been installed, we sent three of our trained professionals up to fill the interstitial spaces onsite.

Among steel tank fabricators in the Northwest, T BAILEY INC. is unique in our ability to send experts out to remote sites to help with the installation or optimization of the tanks we deliver. The vast majority of steel fabrication companies lack the ability to do this.

T BAILEY INC.’s Fireguard® Tanks are the Right Choice for Your Fuel Storage Facility

The challenges listed above are excellent examples of T BAILEY INC.’s unique ability to generate innovative solutions quickly — solutions that get the job done and stand the test of time.

Another long-lasting feature of this company is our tanks. Given their high customizability, proven track record, and ability to last for years with little-to-no-maintenance, Fireguard® tanks are one of the safest fuel storage tanks available.

To learn more about our Fireguard® tanks, contact T BAILEY INC. today.

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