When it comes to building high-pressure storage tanks, there is no room for poor quality – either in the steels used to build them or in the manufacture of the tank. For Isısan, Turkey’s leading maker of pressure storage and transport vessels, quality is just one of the reasons why they choose ArcelorMittal’s heavy plate grades for their products. “It is very significant,” explains Murat Arslan, Administrative and Financial Manager. “If any defective plate is used in the production of our pressure vessels it could have disastrous results.”
Isısan utilises heavy plate grades produced at ArcelorMittal Galati, Romania. The steels (typically grades P355NL2 and P460NL1) exhibit excellent resistance to pressure at all temperatures. That’s particularly important for tanks used to store liquids which can turn into gas with explosive consequences.
The high strength of the plates means the walls of the tanks can be surprisingly thin considering the pressure the contents are under. Walls of between 6 and 14 mm are common. However, Isısan also uses thicknesses up to 70 mm for vessels which contain gases that are at extremely high pressure. “Thinner (and therefore lighter) pressure vessels are more economical because they require less resources and labour to produce,” notes Arslan. “Costs are also reduced during the use phase of the tank’s life as lighter tanks enable our customers to transport more gas in one trip.”
Isısan exports more than half of the storage and transport tanks it produces each year to Africa, Baltic and former CIS states, Europe and the Middle East. The company recently delivered a number of 200 and 300 cubic metre (m3) capacity tanks to Europe, and is currently completing a Middle East order for 80 transportation tanks, each with a capacity of 50 m3.
While quality is an important consideration, it is not the main reason Isısan has been an ArcelorMittal customer for over ten years. “Our customers demand their tanks with shorter lead times than ever before,” says Arslan. “ArcelorMittal is able to quickly respond to our enquiries and technical demands. When they are able to supply plates in shorter timeframes, it improves our production capacity accordingly.”
Isısan began producing pressure vessels in 1980s and now employs approximately 250 people at its 55,000 square metre site in central Anatolia. The company’s products are used to store or transport liquid petroleum gas (LPG), liquid natural gas (LNG), carbon dioxide, ammonia and industrial gases such as liquid nitrogen, oxygen and argon.