Belman has provided a Dutch refinery with a more reliable, flexible connection amongst their storage tanks and manifolds.

Current situation

The refinery was using VJ couplings as the flexible connection between the storage tanks and the manifolds. As the seal of the VJ couplings has a rubber ring, which is compressed by long bolts, regular maintenance had to be carried out in order to prevent leakages. These couplings demanded a considerable amount of attention from the maintenance crew, particularly in the warm summer months, with the constant risk of spills.

New situation – the solution

The solution proposed to the refinery was the use of tank farm bellows. This type of expansion joints look like standard lateral expansion joints, but are specifically designed for tank farm applications.

These particular tank farm bellows provide the refinery with a dependable and flexible connection that absorbs the tank settlements with minimal risk of unwanted spills during the entire service life time of the storage tank. The integrated inner sleeves design ensures that there is no disturbance to the flow of the medium, which could negatively influence the time needed to fill or empty the storage tank.

The bellows were made from Incoloy, which gives a superb resistance against corrosion. The other expansion joint components are made from A105 and A106 Gr.B and coated with a special multi-layer coating system as per the customers’ requirements. The tank farm bellows complied with PED/CE and were delivered with full documentation, user guides, and a fabrication book. The expansion joints could be installed as soon as they arrived on site as no further NDE tests were required.

Added value

With this solution, the oil refinery benefitted from:

  • A reliable alternative solution for VJ couplings that is significantly reducing the risk of unwanted spills
  • Extended service life with less maintenance costs
  • 100%-guaranteed clear bore and no disturbance of flow of medium, with no time loss during filling and emptying the storage tank

Technical data on the tank farm bellows for the refinery:

  • Dimension: DN 200 / DN 400
  • Installation length: 1300mm / 2600mm
  • Medium: Kero/Jet A1
  • Design pressure: 15,5 barg
  • Design temperature: -10 / +150°C
  • LA: +0/-100mm
  • AN: +0/-1.5°
  • Bellow: 2.4858
  • Flanges: A105
  • Welding ends and intermediate pipe: A106 Gr.B