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The influence of maintenance on the life cycle of above-ground storage tanks

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In supply chains, such as those in the petrochemical industry, the above-ground storage tank (AST) plays an important role in ensuring a continuous flow of product and these, like other components, must undergo regular maintenance. While maintenance on the majority of surfaces of a typical AST can be conducted when in its normal operational condition, the AST floor presents a particular challenge because of its inaccessibility. As a consequence, the tank has to be periodically emptied and taken out of service to conduct inspections and the repair work deemed necessary. This is a costly activity, both in terms of loss of earnings and the maintenance operation itself. This paper addresses this situation and in particular looks at the operation of the AST together with the current limitations and possible enhancements to maintenance. The focus is on the AST floor as this is the primary component that characterises the out-of-service interval, an interval that needs to be minimal in terms of both duration and frequency. Strategies to achieve these goals are presented.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2012

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