Stainless steel for storage
tanks of all sizes, shapes and applications is made by a
handful of producers in the United States. ATI Allegheny Ludlum
Corp., North American Stainless Inc. and Outokumpu Oyj all make
stainless plate and coil that can be fabricated into tanks.
Mike Stateczny, vice president
and general manager of Outokumpus stainless plate mill in
New Castle, Ind., said that "a big segment of what we make goes
into process industries. Were a significant producer of
stainless plate, and our material goes into a wide range of
applications. We are a piece plate operation. We dont
make stainless coil in New Castle. "We can make plate from
3⁄16 to 6 inches thick. We are very niche oriented."
Outokumpus mill in New
Castle employs about 150 people. The mill started as an iron
foundry around the turn of the 20th Century, and Outokumpu,
through its Swedish operations, has been involved with the New
Castle mill since 1972. Last year, the Finnish stainless
producer completed a $60-million capital expansion program at
the New Castle mill.
Stateczny said that the wide
range of stainless grades makes the metal an ideal material for
fabricating storage tanks. "Because it is such a strong
material, you can make a tank out of stainless that is much
thinner than you can make one out of carbon steel," he said.
"Duplex stainless has incredible strength, and fabricators take
advantage of that."
Stateczny noted that stainless
steel also is corrosion-resistant and heat-resistant. "The use
of stainless depends upon the challenge you face as a
fabricator," he said. "Is the material being stored caustic? Is
it acidic? Are there chlorides involved? Typically, the
decision to use stainless revolves around somebody with a
corrosion problem." Increasingly, fabricators are making
stainless tanks for storage applications in coastal areas where
exterior pitting from salt is a growing corrosion issue.
Stateczny said that hygiene issues also are always a good
reason to buy stainless tanks.