Santos Alaska

The client entrusted T BAILEY, INC. with fabricating ten, 14-foot-diameter steel bulk oil-storage tanks of varying heights at the company’s 125,000-square-foot facility in Anacortes, Washington. Though initially straightforward, changes in scope and schedule took this project to a new dimension, posing multiple challenges. 

This article offers an overview of the project and details and solutions regarding T BAILEY, INC’s challenges and how they overcame them.

Project Overview

T BAILEY, INC. fabricated the ten oil storage tanks in Anacortes, Washington. The shop-produced tanks going to Alaska included structural components such as ladders, platforms, catwalks, and piping nozzles that the company had subcontracted to another local fabricator. After fabrication, the tanks were painted and insulated. Also, all the tanks had base platforms welded on the bottom and shipping skids on the sides.

The project’s challenges immediately began after the contract was awarded. More work was added, and the timeframe was condensed from the quoted one-year schedule to nine months. These unexpected changes turned a basic shop team project into a complex endeavor that required T BAILEY, INC. to seek additional assistance.

After the fabrication operations, air and radiographic tests were performed before shipping. The air test, performed in-house, involved plugging the nozzles, filling the tank with air to a specific pressure, and checking for leaks at the openings. The other, radiographic testing of the welds to detect imperfections, was assigned to a professional testing firm.

Finally, T BAILEY, INC. trucked the finished oil storage tanks to a local barge loadout location, brought in cranes, transferred them to a barge, and sent them to Seattle, Washington, where the client took possession of them. Using this convenient loadout area was possible due to an agreement between T BAILEY, INC. and the location’s owners, making this resource an excellent option when choosing T BAILEY for your next project.

Challenges Faced During the Project

The primary challenge of the project was the condensed schedule, which was reduced from a little over one year to nine months. To meet this ambitious timeline, T BAILEY, INC. had to bring in detailers for assistance, requiring an extra set of drawings and a high level of cooperation and collaboration between the companies to ensure the welds and assemblies met all specifications.

Although T BAILEY, INC. did all the fit-up and welding in-house, they hired another fabricator to produce the sub-assemblies and ship them to T BAILEY. The other fabricator’s help took some of the work off their plate, allowing them to complete two scopes of work simultaneously.

In addition to the outside fabricator and the insulator, T BAILEY, INC. used nearly all of their shop employees—between 20 and 30 of them working overtime hours—to help make the delivery date. The efforts were successful, as they finished with two days to spare.

The Key to the Successful Outcome

Most contractors would have shipped these tanks to and from an outside painting firm, but T BAILEY, INC. saved time and extra expense by using their in-house painting services. The manufacturing coating facility within their plant was also a critical contributing factor in navigating the condensed schedule.

T BAILEY, INC. has internal capabilities in quality control (QC), manufacturing intelligence (MI), and ultrasonic testing (UT), which helps them avoid outsourcing those services to a third party. Also, even though T BAILEY, INC.’s workers did not add insulation to the oil storage tanks, the 125,000-square-foot facility is large enough to allow them to bring in and support an outside insulator.

Under normal delivery circumstances, T BAILEY, INC. uses its in-house fabrication capabilities exclusively to retain control of all projects. However, the company’s ability to allocate and apportion areas of the client’s project to an outside fabricator after an unexpectedly condensed schedule speaks volumes about its flexibility as an organization.

Once again, T BAILEY, INC. displayed its dedication to excellence during the Santos Alaska project, specifically in its ability to pivot after facing challenging and unplanned events—extra add-ons and a sudden contraction of the project’s time frame.

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