Title:
METHOD FOR ERECTION OF GENERALLY CYLINDRICAL STRUCTURES AND APPARATUS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE METHOD
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method for erecting a generally cylindrical structure such as a tank and an apparatus erected in accordance with the method. The method includes a step of positioning a plurality of pre-assembled arcuate segments of a cylindrical wall at a location near a foundation on which the structure is to be erected. A first arcuate segment is disposed at a corresponding location on the foundation. Subsequent arcuate segments are also disposed at intended locations on the foundation such that segments intended to be adjacent to one another have axially-extending edges abutting one another. When positioning is completed such that an arcuate wall extends through a full 360°, seams between the various segments are sealed such as by welding.



Inventors:
Hinner, Pat S. (Gleason, WI, US)
Application Number:
11/684887
Publication Date:
09/18/2008
Filing Date:
03/12/2007
Assignee:
Agra Industries, Inc.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04H7/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CANFIELD, ROBERT
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Intellectual Property Dept. (Madison, WI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method for erecting a generally cylindrical wall of an intended structure such that, when erected, an axis of said structure is oriented substantially vertically, comprising the steps of: (a) positioning a plurality of pre-assembled arcuate segments of said cylindrical wall at a location proximate a foundation on which said structure is to be erected; (b) disposing a first arcuate segment at a corresponding situs on said foundation; (c) disposing a second arcuate segment at a corresponding situs on said foundation such that an axially extending edge of said second arcuate segment generally abuts a corresponding axially extending edge of said first arcuate segment; (d) positioning one or more additional arcuate segments at corresponding situses on said foundation such that an axially extending edge of each of said additional arcuate segments generally abuts a corresponding axially extending edge of an adjacent arcuate segment, wherein said generally cylindrical wall is completed; and (e) sealing seams defined by abutting edges.

2. A generally cylindrical wall erected in accordance with claim 1.

3. A method in accordance with claim 1 wherein axial dimensions of said arcuate segments are generally the same.

4. A method in accordance with claim 3 wherein said axial dimensions of said arcuate segments are generally the same as an intended height of the intended structure.

5. A method in accordance with claim 1 wherein said arcuate segments carry, spaced proximate each axially extending edge thereof, an axially extending flange, and wherein, when an axially extending edge of an arcuate segment generally abuts a corresponding axially extending edge of an adjacent arcuate segment, corresponding axially extending flanges are in substantially full engagement along an interface.

6. A method in accordance with claim 5 wherein said interface is arcuately spaced from an abutment of said corresponding axially extending edges.

7. A method in accordance with claim 1 wherein said sealing step comprises welding adjacent arcuate segments along said abutment of said corresponding axially extending edges.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention deals broadly with the construction industry. More narrowly, however, it deals with the erection of generally cylindrical structures. In a preferred embodiment, the present invention focuses upon methods for erecting tanks for containing fluids.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Tank containers are utilized in industry and commerce for various purposes. In large petroleum farms, they are used to store petroleum products during the distillation process. Tanks have various uses in an agricultural environment. For example, they can be used to store fertilizer or other farm fluids. In fact, the applications for storage of liquids and gasses to which such tanks are put is limited only by the imagination.

In the typical case, a substantially large portion of time in assembling such tanks is performed outside in the general area in which the tank is to be mounted on a foundation. The mating of adjacent panels is typically accomplished by welding them together onsite to form annular structures which are stacked to complete a vertically-extending wall of the storage tank. An inordinate amount of time is, therefore, dedicated to the erection of such a structure.

Similarly, the investment in fuel and other energy costs in operating cranes can also be excessive. This is due to the size and weight characteristics of the assembly panels. It is also, at least to some extent, a function of the significant amount of time which must be invested in erecting such a tank.

It is to these dictates and drawbacks of the prior art that the present invention is directed. It focuses upon a method for erecting generally cylindrical storage tanks which is much less time-consuming than any method known in the prior art.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention includes a method for erecting a generally cylindrical wall of an intended structure such as a storage tank. Such structures, when erected, typically are disposed about an axis which is oriented substantially vertically. In accordance with the method of the present invention, a plurality of arcuate segments of a cylindrical wall of the structure intended to be erected are positioned at a location near a foundation on which the structure is to be erected. One arcuate segment of the intended structure, which previously was assembled inside, is disposed at a location on the foundation which corresponds to the particular segment. A jig can be used for this purpose. A second arcuate segment is then disposed at a corresponding site on the foundation such that an axially-extending edge of the second segment generally abuts a corresponding axially-extending edge of the first arcuate segment. One or more additional arcuate segments can then be positioned at their corresponding locations on the foundation. Again, corresponding axially-extending edges of the various segments are brought into an abutting relationship wherein corresponding edges are in substantial engagement. The generally cylindrical wall intended to be erected is completed when all segments have been assembled through a full 360°. Once the positioning of the various segments is completed, seams defined by abutting edges of the segments are sealed.

It is envisioned that, in a preferred embodiment, axial dimensions of the various arcuate segments are generally the same. Such an axial dimension is, typically, the same as the intended height of the structure to be erected.

Ease of assembly is facilitated by assembling the various arcuate segments such that they carry, spaced proximate each axially-extending edge thereof, an axially-extending flange. The spacing of the flange from the proximate axially-extending edge is such that, when corresponding axially-extending edges of adjacent segments abut, corresponding axially-extending flanges are in substantially full engagement along an interface of the flanges.

In one embodiment of the invention, the interface of the flanges is arcuately spaced from the abutment of the corresponding axially-extending edges. Adjacent segments can, thereby, be more easily mated to one another.

The present invention also includes a structure. The structure invention is a generally cylindrical wall which is erected in accordance with the present method.

The present invention is thus an improved method and apparatus in accordance with the method for erecting a generally cylindrical wall of a structure. More specific features and advantages obtained in view of those features will become apparent with reference to the DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION, appended claims and accompanying drawing figures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front elevational view of a storage tank assembly in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a greatly enlarged sectional plan detail taken along line 2-2 in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a top plan view taken along line 3-3 in FIG. 1 and showing two arcuate wall segments detached and moved;

FIG. 4 is a greatly enlarged fragmentary detail taken from the area encircled at 4 in FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is an elevational view of the outside face of one of the arcuate wall segments of FIG. 3;

FIG. 6 is a view similar to FIG. 5 of the other arcuate wall segment of FIG. 3;

FIG. 7 is an enlarged fragmentary plan view detail along line 7-7 in FIGS. 5 and 6;

FIG. 8 is an enlarged fragmentary plan view taken along line 8-8 in FIGS. 5 and 6;

FIG. 9 is an enlarged fragmentary plan view taken along line 9-9 in FIGS. 5 and 6; and

FIG. 10 is an enlarged fragmentary plan view taken along line 10-10 in FIGS. 5 and 6.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring now to the drawing figures, wherein like reference numerals denote like elements throughout the several views, FIG. 1 illustrates a generally cylindrical structure such as a tank 20 known in commerce and industry as having innumerable applications. Such a tank 20 has a wall 22 that, when erected, is generally cylindrical in shape. FIG. 3 taken along reference line 3-3 shows the generally circular cross-sectional shape. It will be understood that using such a shape for a tank is not new and that tanks are variously constructed to achieve such a shape. What is new in the case of the present invention, however, is the method of construction to achieve the cylindrical shape.

It will be understood that tanks known in the prior art share a number of common features with a tank constructed in accordance with the present invention. For example, FIG. 1 illustrates a foundation 24 upon which a tank 20 can be placed. Further, the bottom 26 of the tank 20 can be generally conical in shape, the wall sloping inwardly toward a generally centrally-positioned drain system 28 through which liquid contents of the tank 20 are removed therefrom. The drain system 28 includes a conduit 30 extending from a central port 32 to a valve 34 accessible outside the foundation 24.

FIG. 1 also illustrates a roof or top wall 36 of the tank 20. Such a top wall 36 can also be generally conical with an uppermost central location sloping downward and outward to the periphery of an upper edge 38 of the wall.

FIG. 3 shows, in top plan, the cylindrical wall 22 of the tank 20. In that figure, however, two adjacent arcuate segments 40 making up the wall 22 are shown at positions wherein they are not installed to complete the wall 22 of the tank 20. The invention is a method for erecting such a generally cylindrical wall 22 of a tank 20. The tank 20, when erected, has an axis 42 which is oriented substantially vertically. Arcuate segments 40 such as those illustrated in FIG. 3 are positioned at a location proximate the foundation 24 on which the tank 20 is to be erected. It will be understood that such an arcuate segment 40 is typically made up of a number of panels 44 which are welded together. Because of the size of the panels 44 and of the arcuate segment 40 comprising multiple panels, the manufacture of a single arcuate segment 40 can be done, typically, within an enclosed and covered facility. It is after the various segments 40 are completed, that they are positioned at the location proximate the foundation 24 on which the tank 20 is to be erected. FIGS. 5 and 6 illustrate two segments 40 intended to be installed adjacent one another in forming the tank 20. It will be noted that individual panels 44 making up one segment 40 do not necessarily align, edge for edge, with panels of the adjacent segment.

FIG. 3 illustrates a tank wall 22 having one particular radius of curvature. It can be the case that either the panels are received by the manufacturer of the tank 20 in a planar configuration and are rolled to the proper curvature, or that the panels are pre-curved before delivery to the manufacturer of the tank 20. In either case, the arcuity is imposed to the segment 40 at a time prior to the tank erection process. It will further be understood that various radii of curvature can be employed, and, where a larger tank is to be manufactured, a greater radius of curvature will be utilized.

Once the preassembled arcuate segments 40 are complete, however, they are positioned at the desired location. A first arcuate segment 40 is disposed at a corresponding desired situs on the foundation 24. A jig structure (not shown) can be utilized for this purpose. Once the first arcuate segment 40 is placed in its proper disposition, however, a second arcuate segment 40 is disposed at its corresponding situs on the foundation 24. When the segments 40 are properly positioned relative to one another, an axially-extending edge 46 of the second arcuate segment 40 generally abuts a corresponding axially-extending edge 46 of the first arcuate segment 40. Again, a jig can be utilized for disposing the second arcuate segment 40 at the right location.

Additional arcuate segments 40 are introduced at their corresponding situses on the foundation 24 so that an axially-extending edge 46 of each of the additional arcuate segments 40 generally abuts a corresponding axially-extending edge 46 of an adjacent arcuate segment 40. The measure of arcuity of the segments 40 is coordinated with the width of the segments 40 so that a full number of segments 40 will be utilized to produce a smooth curvature wall 22.

It is, of course, desirable that the wall 22 of the tank 20, when the tank 20 has been erected, be adequate to hold, for example, a fluid to be loaded therein. It is envisioned, therefore, that abutting edges 46 of the segments 40 be sealed. Sealing can be accomplished by welding 48 adjacent arcuate segments 40 along the line of abutment between adjacent segments 40. FIG. 2 shows a seam 48 which has been welded both to provide structural integrity and to prevent leakage.

FIGS. 2, 7 and 8 illustrate structure by which adjacent segments can be fitted together and securely held in place. Those figures illustrate pairs of L-shaped stock 50, 52 which are welded to the outside of an arcuate segment 40 proximate an axially-extending edge 46 of a segment 40. The L-shaped stock is staggered as at 70, however, so that, in the case of the edge 46 of one segment 40, the stock 50 extends beyond the edge 46 of the segment 40 and, in the case of the edge 46 of the other segment 40, the stock 52 does not reach the edge 46 of the segment 40 to which it is welded. The distance the stock 52 is recessed away from the edge 46 of the segment 40 is substantially the same as the distance the stock 50 secured to the corresponding segment edge 46 is cantilevered beyond that edge 46. Such dimensioning facilitates mating of edges 46 of adjacent segments 40.

As will be able to be seen, a leg 54 of one L-shaped stock 50 will extend generally perpendicular to the segment 40, and a leg 56 of the L-shaped stock 52 secured to the adjacent segment 40 will be in an overlying relationship as at interface 58. Corresponding axially-extending legs 54, 56 define flanges which are in substantially full engagement along interface 58. Because of the locations of the L-shaped stock 50, 52 relative to their corresponding edges 46, the interface 58 is arcuately spaced from the abutment of the corresponding axially-extending edges 46 of the adjacent segments 40.

With the flanges in substantially full engagement along the interface 58, they can function to assist the weld 48 along the seam in holding the segments 40 in an integrated wall configuration. FIGS. 2 and 7-8 illustrate apertures 60 which, when the components are in a proper relationship relative to one another, are in registration. With the apertures 60 so registered and the flanges in full engagement, a bolt 62 can be inserted through the registered apertures 60 and a nut 64 tightened onto the bolt 62. Typically, one or more washers 66 would also be employed to help maintain components in a securely connected array.

Typically, the segments would be secured together by the nut-bolt arrangement prior to welding. The L-stock 50, 52 would, of course, have been secured to segments 40 prior to mating of adjacent segments 40, for example, by spot welding at holes 68 in the L-stock 50, 52.

FIGS. 9 and 10 show structures similar to the L-stock members 50, 52 illustrated in FIGS. 7 and 8. The L-stock members 50′, 52′ in FIGS. 9 and 10 are positioned near an annular hoop-shaped structure 72 which is formed near the top of wall 22 of tank 20. Hoop-like member 72 serves to support the top wall 36. Means for securing the top wall 36 to cylindrical wall 22 can be provided in any manner known in the prior art.

It will be understood that this disclosure, in many respects, is only illustrative. Changes may be made in details, particularly in matters of shape, size, material, and arrangement of parts without exceeding the scope of the invention. Accordingly, the scope of the invention is as defined in the language of the appended claims.