Design Tanks

From its headquarters and 50,000 square-foot
manufacturing plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Design Tanks has sent products to
work for customers across North America, including every state in the U.S., plus Canada, Mexico,
and beyond. An experienced engineering staff reviews each
tank order, matching the appropriate resin to the contents and other environmental specifications. Requirements such as seismic and wind load
are also incorporated. Engineers use ASTM industry standards, or
RTP-1 standards, in the design of the tanks. Design Tanks, as its name implies, custom-designs
each tank to meet the end user’s specifications, and production begins only after a final CAD
drawing is approved by the customer. A product engineer ensures that the certificates
of analysis on every material going into a tank are documented, and samples from every
load of resin are pulled and analyzed to make certain they meet specifications. Those resins are then stored in Design Tanks’
climate-controlled storage room to optimize shelf life and ensure performance. A TFN data collection and monitoring system
is utilized to ensure that each tank is built with the correct glass-to-resin ratio, and
the correct amount of material, optimizing tank strength while minimizing weight — the
hallmark of a well-built fiberglass tank. The system also provides a traceback for future
reference should there ever be a question with any Design Tanks product. Design Tanks builds tanks with capacities
ranging from 50 to 50,000 gallons in a variety of shapes and colors, and with a wide selection
of tops, bottoms, and accessories. With that flexibility, and a partnership with
reputable resin suppliers, Design Tanks provides storage solutions for everything from potable
water to fertilizers to corrosive chemicals. The company’s broad capabilities stem from
nearly 50 years of experience and expertise in two distinct fiberglass processes. Design Tanks utilizes the chop-hoop filament
winding process for its largest tanks. Chop-hoop filament winding is a unique blend
of two proven fabrication techniques: chopped glass spray-up and continuous filament winding. This combination provides the benefits of
maximum corrosion resistance, plus the strength required for storage of a wide range of products. The structural wall is constructed through
a process of simultaneous glass chopping, resin application, and hoop filament winding. Design Tanks is one of the very few in the
industry specializing in the centrifugally cast process, a versatile and economical method
of producing high-quality fiberglass tanks. Utilizing centrifugal force within a smooth
metal cylinder to combine resin and glass, the process provides tanks with all the mechanical
strength necessary for liquid storage, plus the superior chemical resistance capability
of a high resin-to-glass ratio wall construction. The entire tank wall becomes a resin-rich,
chemical resistant barrier that can be custom-engineered to specific requirements, ranging from the
storage of corrosive chemicals to food-grade applications. This process also provides the most aesthetically
pleasing exterior appearance in the industry. Utilizing laser technology, the position of
fittings and flanges are located precisely on each tank, eliminating man-made errors
and enhancing the quality of the final fiberglass tank coming off the floor. While cutting holes for fittings and accessories
by hand remains the standard in the fiberglass tank manufacturing industry, Design Tanks
utilizes a robotic water jet cutter to bring precision, consistency, and efficiencies to
the manufacturing floor. The programmable water jet utilizes up to
60,000 pounds per square inch of water pressure to cut through a tough fiberglass tank, making
precise cuts from 1/16th of an inch to several feet in diameter. Robotically cut holes, along with the use
of machine fittings, ensures a precise fit with minimal tolerances and a high-quality
product. In terms of safety, the use of the water jet
eliminates the most common injuries to employees’ arms and shoulders caused from manually sawing
through fiberglass. The use of the water jet, along with an air
handling system, eliminates dust, creating a safer work environment. The people at Design Tanks believe that employees
who work in a clean and safe environment, and who understand the fiberglass process,
will produce a higher-quality product. A Design Tanks product engineer provides classroom
and on-floor training to each employee, covering the science behind the fiberglass manufacturing
process as well as quality and safety issues. The company also utilizes a veteran employee
to work with new associates, building employee confidence and reducing the turnover rate
— all factors in enhancing product quality. Once trained and on the floor, the Design
Tanks employee is involved in a streamlined process designed to ensure that each customer’s
tank stays on schedule and passes the continual quality checks inherent throughout the system. That process includes separating production
of similar, less-complicated tanks, from more complex units, allowing Design Tanks to manufacture
its custom-engineered tanks efficiently and expeditiously. The company employs a continuous improvement
process to enhance efficiency, quality, and safety. Unlike many other tank manufacturing plants,
at Design Tanks, the large vertical tanks are transferred between production stations
lying on their sides and cradled in a wheeled support, putting less stress on the tank body
before completion and allowing easy and safe worker access to all parts of the tank during
production. In addition to the computerized data collection
system, a work file, which includes the tank design print and specifications, accompanies
each tank as it makes its way along the manufacturing floor. As each stage of the tank is completed, from
molding to side walls, water jet cutting, to grinding, installing the fittings, to hand
layup, the employee performing the task and the lead person in that work area must both
sign off on the job, making certain each component of the tank matches the design specifications. Every tank that leaves the Design Tanks facility
passes a final quality control inspection, including checks for general appearance as
well as chemical resistance, laminate quality, and location of accessories. Then, and only then, does a Design Tanks storage
container receive the quality stamp of approval, allowing it to bear the Design Tanks logo, ready to be prepared for shipment, loaded,
and sent on its way to solve another customer’s storage tank challenge, continuing the quality
story that Design Tanks has been perfecting for almost half a century. To find out more about the Design Tanks quality
story, go to or call and talk to a Design Tanks sales representative at

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