Large scale solvent and general flammable liquid storage

Furphy Engineering
Wednesday, 15 March, 2006


The Clayton, Victoria site of PPG Industries Australia is one of over 100 production centres, which the long-established international manufacturer of industrial products operates around the world.

The principal output from Clayton is water and solvent-based protective coatings and finishes for the Australian automotive and building product sectors in particular.

Just completed and commissioned on site is a new bulk solvent storage (UST) project with a project value of $8 million.

The bulk solvent storage facility receives a diverse range of bulk solvents and monomers, sourced from petrochemical producers in particular and delivered to the site by bulk road tanker.

The original storage tank facility, established in the 1950s, serving four separate manufacturing processes on the site, had come to the end of its economic life, so PPG Industries elected to install a new bulk solvent storage facility which is both efficient and fully compliant with numerous safety, environmental and good design principles.

PPG's project manager Tom Van Loon said he went in search of a stainless steel fabrication contractor with both the experience and capacity to undertake the major components of the project on a qualitative and timely basis.

"The project needed a specialty tankage fabrication contractor as the tanks had many particular features.

"I was virtually on the verge of awarding the tankage contract off shore to places like China or New Zealand, before I determined that Furphy Engineering at Shepparton had both the expertise, experience and capacity to undertake a contract of this complexity and magnitude," Van Loon said.

"The tanks for the UST project required a total of 70 tonnes of 6 mm thick, grade 304 stainless steel and were fabricated at the Furphy Engineering workshops in Shepparton, Victoria.

"The welding of each tank was non-destructively tested by radiography with each tank then hydrostatically tested before they were shipped," Darren Leeder, Furphy Engineering's sales and marketing manager, noted.

On site at Clayton the tanks are fully enclosed within a three-compartment concrete "˜vault'. The 400 mm thick vault has dimensions of about 28 by 22 metres with a depth of 5.5 m.

The tanks have been backfilled with washed silica sand to maintain low ambient product temperature and provide additional fire protection.

As an additional safety protection each solvent tank is nitrogen blanketed.

Located above the underground storage is the process control system, extensive delivery pumping and pipework and three tanker unloading bays.

"Furphy was also awarded the contract to fabricate all the stainless steel pipe spool work, comprising over 1500 individual spool pieces amounting to over 4500 m of stainless steel pipework which delivers the solvent raw materials to the manufacturing centres on the site.

"This aspect of the project was complex as we were fabricating offsite to PPG's design requirements and assembling on site, but the project worked particularly well.

As project manager for PPG Industries, Van Loon says that the UST project was completed on time and to budget.

"Projects of this nature are normally awarded to a contractor on a turnkey basis, but we elected to engage a competent team of designers, and supervisors outsource most services and work in close cooperation with our appointed fabricator Furphy Engineering and the suppliers of process equipment.

"The project outcome has been particularly pleasing as the storage facility has scope to handle PPG's anticipated growth into the future.

"We even allowed in the design to easily duplicate the installation at some point in the future if required," Van Loon said.

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