3 ( 7 5 2 6 3 ( & 7 ,2 1

2/27 Crompton Road Rockingham Western Australia 6169

3 W\ / WG

A CN 063 402 424

Tel: (08) 9528 1888 Fax: (08) 9528 1588 mail@petrospection.net.au

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO HAVE A TANK CALIBRATED.

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2 1 2/27 Crompton Road Rockingham Western Australia 6169 3 W\ / WG A CN 063 402 424 Tel: (08) 9528 1888 Fax: (08) 9528 1588 mail@petrospection.3 ( 7 5 2 6 3 ( & 7 . For the purposes of this exercise we shall assume that you have decided that you do require a precise calibration of your tank. Some may not even know why the tank needs calibrating at all. If you require any indication of quantity then you need a calibration of some sort. Why do tanks need calibrating at all? If you do not need to know what is in. At its simplest. At the other end of the scale. 2/12 .net. then you probably do not need to have your tank calibrated.au What you need to know to have a tank calibrated Many people who are in the position of having to have a tank calibrated have little knowledge of what is involved in the calibration. For a water tank this may be enough and you probably will not need to call in a specialist. To help you assess your requirements we have prepared this general outline of tank calibration. or what has gone out of. For most situations in Australia where you are selling from a tank or where customs duties are levied on tank contents you will need to have a tank calibrated by a suitably certified organisation. a calibration of any vessel requires knowledge of the nominal dimensions of the vessel from which the volume may be calculated. a tank can be measured precisely and calculations can be made to take into account factors such as hydrostatic expansion of the tank during filling and thermal expansion of the tank shell in service. if you are selling a product on the basis of tank levels. Most tank calibrators are certified either by the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) or by the local state government trade measurement department. a tank and if spillage or overfilling is of no concern.

au What are the options in calibrating a tank? For any tank. We will consider volumetric and physical methods of calibration separately. On some occasions a combination of both methods may be required. volumetric methods are suited to smaller tanks or tanks that are irregular in form. Calibration of Tanks for Petroleum and Petroleum Products to ISO. In some cases it is clear which method is appropriate and in others either method can be used. The applicable standards are as follows: VERTICAL TANKS • • • • • • • • ISO 7507-1 ISO 7507-2 ISO 7507-3 ISO 7507-4 ISO 7507-5 IP 202 Part II API 2550 API 2555 Strapping method Optical Reference Line Method Optical Triangulation Method Internal Electro-Optical distance ranging method Optical Triangulation Method Section 1 . there are two broad options. It can either be calibrated volumetrically. whether it is a stationary tank or a road. Generally. horizontal and spherical fixed storage tanks as well as rail tankers and barge tanks.net.2 1 2/27 Crompton Road Rockingham Western Australia 6169 3 W\ / WG A CN 063 402 424 Tel: (08) 9528 1888 Fax: (08) 9528 1588 mail@petrospection. IP and API Standards The International Standards Organisation. whilst large vertical tanks are calibrated by physical measurement. and where mathematical models cannot be used. railcars can be done either way. Volumetric methods include the use of calibrated liquid meters and certified volumetric provers. or by physical measurement of the tank shell and calculation of the volume.Vertical tanks Upright Cylindrical Tanks Liquid Calibration of Tanks HORIZONTAL TANKS • • • • IP 202 Part II IP 202 Part II API 2551 API 2555 Section 2 .3 ( 7 5 2 6 3 ( & 7 . road tankers are calibrated by volumetric methods. brewery and wine vats can be done either way or sometimes by a combination of the methods. Generally. ie by adding or withdrawing measured volumes of liquid.Liquid calibration methods Horizontal Tanks Liquid Calibration of Tanks 3/12 .Horizontal and Inclined Tanks Section 3 . the Institute of Petroleum and the American Petroleum Institute have a range of standards to cover the calibration of vertical. but by no means always. rail or marine tanker. Food product.

an “optical plummet”. In Australia.net. it makes sense to use the ISO standard for upright cylindrical tanks. The optical reference line method has a lot of advantages over strapping. It also has a couple of disadvantages. electro-optical distance ranging. Strapping is the process of measuring a tank by physically measuring the tank strakes with a calibrated steel tape at several levels on each course of plating.2 1 2/27 Crompton Road Rockingham Western Australia 6169 3 W\ / WG A CN 063 402 424 Tel: (08) 9528 1888 Fax: (08) 9528 1588 mail@petrospection. In this method. The ISO and IP methods have the advantage over the API method chiefly because they are more directly applicable to computerised calculation. There is a third method available. This procedure is repeated at approximately four metre intervals around the tank and the circumference at each level is calculated from the sum of the differences between the reference level and the measured level. checking and verification of tank calibration tables (technical report) Vertical Tanks Although there are differences in the application of some of the above standards there is a lot of duplication. is used to measure the radial offset at several levels on each course of plate. There are two methods in common use for the physical (measurement) calibration of the shell of vertical tanks. called the reference level. a device used to establish a true optical perpendicular. This method involves strapping the tank just once at an accessible level. either in the calibration or the measurement of the product. The original method is by physical strapping.au OTHER TANKS & MISC STANDARDS • • • • • • • API 2552 Calibration of Spheres and Spheroids API 2553 Calibration of Barges API 2554 Calibration of Tank Cars Section 4 Calibration of Spheres and Spheroids Section 5 Calibration of Ship and Barge tanks Section 6 Calibration of Road and rail vehicles ISO 7507-6 Recommendations for monitoring. ISO 7507 is essentially a revision of IP 202 Part II. being a nominally metric country.3 ( 7 5 2 6 3 ( & 7 . The optical plummet operator sits at the base of the tank whilst an assistant manoeuvres a magnetic trolley on the tank shell from behind the hand rail on top of the tank. The other method often employed in Australia is the Optical Reference Line Method. The only significant difference is in a calculation that involves temperature correction during tank calibration. There is no need to access the outside of the tank. the difference to the end user is often less than any measurement errors involved. which for physical strapping is normally carried out from a bosuns chair or with a “cherry picker” type personnel hoist. Strapping is a good method for small tanks that are scaffolded or where there is good access to the shell of the tank at all levels. The advantages of the optical method are: Optical measurement is safer than strapping. Even where there are differences in the measurement or calibration methods. which has not yet seen wide use in this country. The 4/12 . Section 1. physical “strapping” and optical strapping.

Optical plummets cost thousands of dollars and are delicate instruments. it is still necessary to use strapping tapes for the reference measurement. although with computerised calculation routines. We say only probably here because we do not strap tanks where it is necessary to use a bosun’s chair because of concerns over operator safety. Optical calibration is faster than strapping in most cases. this is no longer a problem. Other methods of tank shell calibration There are other methods that are being developed for the calibration of tank shells. A typical 20-metre diameter tank could have the shell measured in only a few hours. There is better traceability of the field data from the calibration. It is difficult to use the optical plummet in wet weather.3 ( 7 5 2 6 3 ( & 7 . After measuring tank diameters internally. It is also information that can be useful in determination of any settlement or subsidence of the tank in service. as rain on the lenses makes vision difficult. as are calibration records of the optical plummet. with less impact on other operations in the area.1mm. It is probably possible to calibrate a tank in stronger wind conditions than is safe for strapping although in very strong winds the magnetic crawler used to position the scale on the side of the tank may be blown off the tank. This is a much slower method that the optical reference method.net. With strapping there is the problem of the tape sagging during measurement and the real difficulty of repeatable measurements whilst the operator is suspended off the side of the tank. Strapping is often indicated in this case.au magnetic trolley is fitted with a scale that can be read through the optical plummet to a resolution of +/. the plummet can be used inside the shell. The optical method has some disadvantages: The equipment used is more expensive than that required for strapping. requiring two trained operators 5/12 . the data from which the circumferences are calculated will also yield information on the shape of the tank shell. which requires the use of two theodolites and a laser beam to target the same measurement station. ISO Standard 7507-3 covers the method of calibrating tank shells by optical triangulation. trying to maintain 50 newtons of tension on the strapping tape. The existence of scaffolding can prevent the effective use of the magnetic scale used for optical measurements. This is essential information to the engineer who wants to fit floating blankets or roofs to vertical tanks.2 1 2/27 Crompton Road Rockingham Western Australia 6169 3 W\ / WG A CN 063 402 424 Tel: (08) 9528 1888 Fax: (08) 9528 1588 mail@petrospection. As a side benefit of the optical method. It is a simple matter to process the data to determine the verticality of the tank shell and to determine the “roundness’ of the tank. The data from which the tank is calibrated is recorded for later calculation and verification. It is simple to optically calibrate a lagged tank. Even with optical equipment. Calculation of the tank volume tables is more complex.

2 1 2/27 Crompton Road Rockingham Western Australia 6169 3 W\ / WG A CN 063 402 424 Tel: (08) 9528 1888 Fax: (08) 9528 1588 mail@petrospection. Calibration of tank bottom volumes There are two methods that can be used to calibrate the volume below the dip-plate in a vertical tank: The tank floor profile can be surveyed physically. The use of weights to stabilise the floor. both internal and external.3 ( 7 5 2 6 3 ( & 7 . a typical optical plummet kit can be fitted into a small suitcase and requires only one tripod. There is a safety consideration in the use of these devices to prevent injury to operators from the crawler should it fall from the tank.au and two sets of equipment. In comparison. The equipment is fragile. Automated laser systems that are sited on the tank floor to map the inside of a tank cannot easily cope with floating roofs or blankets. as suggested by the Standard. We have used air powered magnetic tank crawlers where access has been a problem and we have a 12 volt electric tank crawler under development. With the current technology. using a meter or volumetric prover and water. The method also requires access to the top of the tank shell to fit retro-reflective tape targets. Any of the electro-optical distance ranging methods require that the device be sited on a stable platform. is both impractical and ineffective. It has application in situations where there is no access to tank roofs for hauling a magnetic crawler. ISO Standard 7507-4 & 5 cover electro-optical distance ranging methods. as currently available equipment will be affected by movement and vibration of the floor with unquantifiable effect upon the data.net. costly and bulky and probably has more application in locations where tank calibration is both local and a daily business. Suitable protection for the operating technician should be used. using one of the following tools: • an engineer’s level or theodolite and staff • a laser plane and survey staff • a water tube or hydrostatic level tool From data obtained the volume can be calculated mathematically. each method has advantages and disadvantages. As before. 6/12 . this method is unsuitable for use on tank floors. The external method of electro-optical distance ranging requires a minimum of 5 tripods and tribrachs (adjustable mounts) so that the device used can be resited around the tank to access the entire outside of the shell. The tank floor can be calibrated volumetrically.

which amounted to less than 1000 litres. Our experience and information that we have from overseas is that a water column of 2 metres is required to eliminate 90% of tank floor spring. a volumetric calibration may be the best option. This can be invaluable for comparison with previous or subsequent data to determine tank shell settlement and stresses. We have performed some practical research on a number of 30 metre diameter tanks in Western Australia. The data obtained during physical survey can be processed to give the tank owners data on floor profile. We have found the results to be within 1% in all the tanks concerned. It is sometimes thought that a volumetric calibration is more accurate than a physical survey because of tank floor sponginess or spring. (Most water from terminal fire systems will leave a thin layer of mud or sediment on the tank floor).au The advantages of the physical survey are: Physical survey is faster. A tank of 35 metres diameter and a bottom volume of 100 m3 may take 5 or 6 hours to fill. The accuracy of a physical survey can be improved by use of more measurement points. In reality it not practical to fill any but the smallest of tanks to this level. a volumetric calibration can be more accurate. and a day to empty and clean. To fill a 20 metre tank with a bottom volume of 30m3 may take two or three hours to fill and most of a day to empty and clean. The tank is immediately available for use after the calibration and does not require any cleaning after removal of the water. A typical physical survey on a 20-metre diameter tank may take only a couple of hours. tank tilt and settlement.2 1 2/27 Crompton Road Rockingham Western Australia 6169 3 W\ / WG A CN 063 402 424 Tel: (08) 9528 1888 Fax: (08) 9528 1588 mail@petrospection. and floor spring is not a major problem in small tanks. by dipping the tank whilst filling. due to meniscus/surface tension effects on the dip plate and to splashing due 7/12 . Physical survey data from the bottom survey can be related to external measurements during tank hydrostatic testing to determine ground loading response. During a physical survey it is simple to measure the precise relative height of all tank internal structures. The physical survey would still take only a couple of hours. The advantages of volumetric calibration of tank bottoms are: For extremely irregular tank bottoms.net. These heights can be related to the dip plate to give the tank operators accurate figures for when tank structures are covered with product. it is sometimes possible to calibrate volumetrically if the dip plate is visible from the manhole. but under some circumstances. or even if it is not.3 ( 7 5 2 6 3 ( & 7 . We have found that it is difficult to determine water levels in a tank to within 3mm during a water bottom calculation. or for tanks with extreme tilts. If the tank is not safe to enter. cleaner and does not require the availability or require the removal of large volumes of water. Physical survey is less intrusive than metered water methods. calibrating by both meter and physical survey.

net. manhole doublers and other obstructions). There are also requirements for hazard identification.au to the operator being in the tank to observe the filling process. The previously mentioned 1000 litres equates to 1.2 1 2/27 Crompton Road Rockingham Western Australia 6169 3 W\ / WG A CN 063 402 424 Tel: (08) 9528 1888 Fax: (08) 9528 1588 mail@petrospection. With a laser plane or a hydrostatic level device a physical bottom survey will require only one person to enter the tank. Tanks that have contained a leaded product. to calibrate the bottom of any ground based vertical tank (ie. tank isolation. Shell temperature and tape calibration temperature during strapping. even if they contained lead free product for several years. Australian standard AS 2865 –1995 applies to any work carried out in a confined space under a breathable atmosphere. it will be necessary to enter the tank at some stage. Confined space entry is one of the biggest industrial killers in Australia and should be taken very seriously. one that is not on legs) with any degree of certainty. This standard applies to the requirements of any tank calibration except for petroleum tanks that have contained a leaded product. outlets etc. risk assessment.4mm in a 30 mtr diameter tank. etc. (the Octel or Ethyl corporations). The following factors are taken into consideration during calculation: Tape rises during strapping (ie. The implications of tank entry for tank bottom calibration In recent years there has been a re-evaluation of the risks associated with confined space entry. atmospheric monitoring and training of all persons working on or within the confined space. Unfortunately.) 8/12 . Australian standards require that one person be on stand by as watchman while the technician enters the tank. vertical welds or laps. A water bottom calibration probably requires the shortest tank entry but confined space entry considerations will still apply.3 ( 7 5 2 6 3 ( & 7 . In some circumstances it can be unsafe to work in a tank during water bottom calibration. Physical characteristics of the tank shell material (Young' s modulus. Calculation of tank capacities for vertical tanks • • • • Tank capacity tables are calculated from tank circumferences. These requirements may be reviewed but currently are for air supplied breathing apparatus for both the person entering the tank and the tank watchman. risk control measures. AS 2865 requires that a Confined Space Entry Permit be completed prior to entering the tank. due to gases from contaminated water. In these circumstances it is not possible to obtain relative height measurements from the water surface to any tank structures such as inlets. thermal expansion factors. are covered under the requirements of the lead manufacturers.

Tank tilt Effects of positive and negative deadwood on tank volumes. grinding.net. hence the volume. as welding. It is worth mentioning here that we have re-calibrated several large crude tanks in the North West of Australia for a realistic working temperature (in this case 38° C). all the standards require that it should have a full hydrostatic test prior to the calibration. For example: • • Change of product density .3 ( 7 5 2 6 3 ( & 7 . However. (Some trolleys have narrow alloy wheels that will even damage a cured coating. We have our own atmospheric monitoring equipment and we have training in gas free inspections.2 1 2/27 Crompton Road Rockingham Western Australia 6169 3 W\ / WG A CN 063 402 424 Tel: (08) 9528 1888 Fax: (08) 9528 1588 mail@petrospection. where the 9/12 . The tank shell coating should be cured. Our trolleys have soft plastic wheels to minimise this problem). which makes optical measurements difficult. If the tank is not clean and gas free for entry. Tank expansion during calibration (if the tank is not empty). The tank should be clean and gas free for entry. There are some other considerations: If the tank is new. if done by physical measurement. A large change of operating temperature will alter the tank increment (ie. What conditions required for a vertical tank calibration? Most fixed roof vertical tanks can be calibrated in one working day. its ltrs/mm).au • • • • • • Difference in temperature between calibration and working conditions. Ideally there should be no other work being performed on the tank. inside and outside tank. Paint and plate thickness.most tanks are calibrated for a shell temperature of 15 degrees. Large floating roof tanks may take up to two days.this will affect the expansion characteristics of the tank. as the strapping tape or the wheels of the magnetic trolley may damage a soft coating. This could be for a variety of reasons. we all exist in the real world and if the time window is tight (and it always is) we can usually find some way to work with or around other operators. When should a vertical tank be recalibrated? A tank may change its calibration whenever the operating conditions are changed. Changes of operating temperature . there are alternative options for bottom calibration as discussed elsewhere. Most terminals have their own requirements for confined space entry and issue their own work permits. Tank expansion from liquid head pressure in service for the density of product stored. hammering and sandblasting all make the shell vibrate. We will issue our own permits if there is no satisfactory system in operation.

to a vessel in small volumes. There is little difference in the end result. Volumetric calibration is ideal for tanks which require dipsticks. The process does require a volume of water equal to the tanks capacity to be available during calibration and requires that the vessel be clean enough to allow the water to be disposed of afterward. It is generally recommended that a tank should be recalibrated at not more than 10 year intervals. What is involved in the volumetric calibration of tanks? Most commonly volumetric calibration is performed by adding liquid. No corrections are applied for tank expansion. changes in deadwood. there will be a volume error. The result was a difference of 22.. there will be errors in the reported volume. are different from the calibrating conditions. floor repairs. as this occurs during the filling process. the level is measured and recorded. The standards make several assumptions on the volumes of tank heads. etc. The calibration of horizontal tanks Horizontal tanks can be calibrated to either the API or the IP standards. The liquid can either be metered in through a calibrated meter or dropped from a calibrated volumetric prover.net. The problem of similar conditions for calibration and use also applies to tanks that may be installed on different angles from which they were calibrated.3 ( 7 5 2 6 3 ( & 7 . 10/12 . especially considering tank settlement.000 litres in tank volume. but exceeds the precision. The API standard in particular makes extensive use of tables for various corrections.au tank had been calibrated for a standard temperature of 15° C. which had previously been given away with each tank of crude loaded onto a ship. either hydrostatic or otherwise. These heights can be referenced to a datum level in the terminal and also to the internal tank calibration data. as there is no need to apply other corrections.2 1 2/27 Crompton Road Rockingham Western Australia 6169 3 W\ / WG A CN 063 402 424 Tel: (08) 9528 1888 Fax: (08) 9528 1588 mail@petrospection. We use a method that is traceable to the API Standard. Cryogenic and pressurised tanks can be accommodated. new pipe inverts. Any corrections required for temperature or meter factor may be applied to the levels and a table or dipstick is manufactured for the tank. After the addition of each new volume. The calculation routines for both standards have been around for a long time and neither one takes advantage of the ability of computers to perform laborious calculations. to marked positions on the external protrusion of the annular plate. and a dipstick can be made directly from the recorded levels.e.i. where we are able to calculate volumes precisely. If the tank inclination is different from the calibrated condition. There is a potential problem here for pressurised tanks or tanks holding products having densities different to the measuring liquid. Settlement of the tank with resultant changes in the tank geometry. fitting a stilling well. Through the use of formulae. an external settlement survey can be performed without tank entry. Horizontal tanks can be calibrated either by volumetric methods or by physical measurement. rather than providing formulae. If the tank service conditions for pressure. usually water. This can be catered for with a suitable correction table. we can process a greater degrees of tank tilt and greater ranges of head shape with much better accuracy. floating roof modifications. In areas where tank settlement or ground subsidence is known to be a problem. • • Any modifications to the tank or the dip plate .

net. as it enables more precise measurements to be taken and less assumptions made on the tank construction.3 ( 7 5 2 6 3 ( & 7 . Shell temperature and tape calibration temperature during strapping. Paint and plate thickness. barrel lengths are measured and the head profile measured with a purpose built head-measuring gauge.au It can also be quite a time consuming process for a large tank and it may interfere with other work that is being done in the area.. Internal measurement is our preferred method. the tank must be clean and gas free for entry. For either internal or external measurement. Deadwood can be measured precisely. A problem with external measurements on tank in service is that it is difficult to establish the height of the dip plate / striker plate. The following factors are taken into consideration during calculation: • • • • • • Tape rises during strapping (ie. Difference in temperature between calibration and working conditions. Horizontal tanks can be calibrated by either internal or external measurement.2 1 2/27 Crompton Road Rockingham Western Australia 6169 3 W\ / WG A CN 063 402 424 Tel: (08) 9528 1888 Fax: (08) 9528 1588 mail@petrospection. tanks can be calibrated either in the workshop or after installation. slip tubes etc. Tanks do not need to be empty or clean for external calibration. with clear access to the tank shell and heads. as can the heights of the dip plate etc. With physical measurement methods. What is involved in the physical calibration of horizontal tanks? Horizontal tanks are generally manufactured in a workshop and transported to site. This is not an insurmountable problem. the reference height must be measured and if the tank is pressurised. as long as the tank is installed on the designed inclination. welds or laps and other obstructions). We determine the head profile by erecting a reference plane (a string line) across the end of the tank and measuring a series of points across the head. Obviously for internal measurement. Calculation of tank capacities for horizontal tanks Tank capacity tables are calculated from tank diameters. A series of internal diameters are measured with an internal tank gauge (a device similar to a large internal micrometer). External measurement is suited to tanks that are situated above ground. although it is not generally possible to measure tank deadwood on tanks that are in service. The tank dimensions are determined by a series of circumferences taken along the tank barrel and a by measuring the profile of the heads. 11/12 . must be taken. Tank expansion from pressure in service. Tank expansion during calibration (if the tank is not empty). inside and out tank. barrel length and head profile data. but it is a source of calibration errors on horizontal tanks. special measurements for tank gauging systems.

Effects of positive and negative deadwood on tank volumes. We believe that the person who measures your tank requires a thorough knowledge of the standards. New Zealand and the Pacific region. NATA is the organisation responsible in Australia for regulating the standards of metrology laboratories. tables can be issued for different working pressures or factors can be given for pressures different from the usual working pressure. This does not automatically mean that the work performed is shoddy or inferior but it does mean that there is less control over the training of staff. To calculate an average tank calibration table may take eight hours but there is no reason why you should not be able to request a faxed calibration table within 24 hours of the field operator leaving your terminal. 12/12 . The Calibration Company that you choose should also be able to demonstrate knowledge of safe practises in your terminal. the field operative that you see calibrating the tanks in your terminal will be able to discuss all aspects of the calculation of your tables and answer all your questions. If you choose to use Petrospection for your tank calibrations. we hope that you will come to Petrospection. to have a thorough understanding of all the principals and factors involved requires some study. Petrospection is committed to providing NATA accredited personnel for all aspects of tank calibration. What tends to happen in Australia is that a company may hold NATA registration in one location and use any staff available in another location to perform field measurements. Any tank calibration company accredited to NATA is audited annually to ensure that their quality system and equipment is maintained to the required standards and that the company’s personnel are competent to perform the work. Location of dip tube position with regard to barrel. In particular. We believe strongly that tank calibration is an important part of terminal stock control and we treat it accordingly. The same applies for the temperature variations for cryogenic tanks. The Calibration Company should be able to offer prompt service. You should also be able to expect to receive the finished table within a week. and less traceability over the calibration of equipment and the accuracy of data.au • • • Notes: Tank tilt . We have been calibrating tanks for many years throughout Australia. they should be trained in confined space entry procedures and should have the necessary equipment to work safely in confined spaces and at heights.this is critical in horizontal tank calibration.3 ( 7 5 2 6 3 ( & 7 .2 1 2/27 Crompton Road Rockingham Western Australia 6169 3 W\ / WG A CN 063 402 424 Tel: (08) 9528 1888 Fax: (08) 9528 1588 mail@petrospection.net. What you should look for in a tank calibrator Whilst the mathematics of tank calibration are relatively straightforward. We will not send out inexperienced or unqualified operators to measure tanks. In the case of pressurised tanks. the measurement procedures and the calculations involved ensuring that the correct measurements are taken. Obviously.