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Vessels seen as likely growth area for plate

Keywords: Tags  pressure vessel manufacturers, steel, expansions, Refax, Steel Tank, Apache Stainless Equipment, Permian Tank & Manufacturing, Manitex International Sabre Manufacturing

CHICAGO — The pressure vessel manufacturing market is likely to be a growth market for heavy-gauge flat-rolled steel consumption, according to market participants.

“The majority of holding tanks are made from A36 (grade) black hot-rolled, 3/16ths through ¼-inch-thick steel,” Worthington Industries Inc.’s Pressure Cylinders president Andrew J. Billman told AMM.

“This adds thousands of tons to our (companywide) mill purchases. That’s just our two companies (including steel processing), which is a considerable amount of plate. All these other (vessel) fabricators are buying similar amounts," he said.
“The message is that the energy scenario is good for steel, for processors and fabricators."

Barry Berquist, president of Samuel Pressure Vessel Group, said that although it’s “a difficult number to quantify, our estimates place total North American steel consumption by our industry at 700,000 to 1.2 million tons per year.”

A half dozen heavy-metal fabricators and equipment builders have announced plans to expand their pressure vessel manufacturing capabilities in the past few months:

• Gary, Ind.-based steel fabricator Refax Inc. bought Chicago-based Imperial Steel Tank Co. earlier this month and will take over its production of pressure vessels, storage tanks, reactors and other welded products.

• Apache Stainless Equipment Corp., maker of stainless and carbon steel and high-alloy American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) atmospheric vessels, said in August that it will invest $1.5 million to expand its Beaver Dam, Wis., facility.

• Odessa, Texas-based storage tank and processing equipment manufacturer Permian Tank & Manufacturing Inc. is expanding its operations to Belle Fourche, S.D., as its location supports the Bakken, Niobrara and Green River oilfield activities. The expansion will include a steel tank manufacturing facility.

• Bridgeview, Ill.-based Manitex International Inc. in August bought Knox, Ind.-based. Sabre Manufacturing LLC, which fabricates steel tanks for petroleum and natural gas drilling applications (, Aug. 20).

• Stainless steel storage and equipment manufacturer Feldmeier Equipment Inc. began a 50,000-square-foot facility expansion last month in Little Falls, N.Y., and a project to upgrade machinery and equipment at its Syracuse, N.Y., plant (, Aug. 19).

• Cincinnati-based Enerfab Inc. broke ground in early August on a $10-million expansion project at its Enersteel subsidiary operation in Natchez, Miss. (, Aug. 7).

• Sauk Rapids, Minn.-based WFSI Inc. plans to expand its facility to increase its welding and manufacturing business. The company is focused on the oil and gas, energy and military markets, and the bigger plant will allow it to produce large pressure vessels used in the oil industry.

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