Monday, March 31, 2014

The Various Stages of Construction

DESTRUCTION
Goodland, KS
 
In Goodland, KS, the expansion project on the east side of the existing site continues. As everyone knows from previous blogs, we constructed a 2 million gallon tank on that side of the site late last year. The project continues with the demolition (below) of the existing buildings (above).
 


PLUMBING AND INSTRUMENTATION
Williams, IA


I'm a little late on these pictures but I thought it'd be good to show everyone the winter wonderland  the pipe fitters dealt with this year in Williams, IA. Snow and ice removal became part of everyone's job description since it had to be done in order to find materials. The snow piles up extra high on the north side of the large tanks.

This recently cleared slab of concrete (above) lasted for about a day. It just so happens, that to stay ahead of the snow this winter you can't stop shoveling.


The photo above and the two after are also in Williams. This is a portion of the load out system located inside the new 60x100 load out building.
The filters in the photo's above and below will filter finish product coming from the mixer and raw product while it's unloaded from truck or rail. Rather than filter while loading, we changed the process to filtering prior to the product entering the tanks. In doing so, our goal is to minimize the tank cleaning process.
 
 
 
Here we see more results from the never ending winter. For some reason, this made it difficult to work. Go figure.


EXCAVATION
Stockton, CA
 

The building addition is just getting underway. When complete, the 120'x180' addition will have space for production and warehousing complete with a truck dock. The sub-grade material is getting placed and compacted  in the following photos. If everyone finds dirt as exciting as I do, you'll love these.


Just in case you're wondering, I have my hardhat and safety glasses on so if the guy on the sheepsfoot roller loses control, I'll be safe.

 More dirt......
......and more dirt.
I promise the next set of photo's will be more exciting. I'll be adding concrete.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Blogging on Consecutive Days

Posting 2 days in row has never been done before....... at least not by me. However, the other AgroLiquid blogger has achieved the great feat of back to back posts many times. Speaking of which did everyone know it's Dr. Jerry's Birthday. Now I couldn't tell if he's one of these people who despises growing old (I mean not getting younger) or embraces it. But for how ever old he is, I think he's still getting around pretty good. I see he's making a trip to the Dakota's next week and it's perfect timing because in celebration of Jerry's birthday President Obama just signed an executive order to place him among some of our nations finest. Happy Birthday Jerry!!



 
Oh, and there are some other things worth reporting on as well. 

In Stockton, the rail spur extension is well under way. We added 365' of rail which will give us an additonal 6 or 7 cars depending on who places them.

Here is the same rail extension from the opposite end. Looks about like 365' doesn't it? The contractor had to stop short of the connection point to construct some re-inforcement where the tracks travel across the tunnel.

Like all concrete construction in California they've designed this rail bridging system to survive nuclear warfare and an earthquake measuring north of 8 on the Richter Scale.

This is what a well looks like California. This is our new 8" well drilled 400' deep designed to deliver 400 gpm. The biggest difference between the design in California and other places that battle the cold is the pressure tank is exposed to the elements. Something else that was new to me was the reserve tank (larger galvanized tank). The philosphy out there is that it reduces the need for imediate power demand. Like a lot of the other regulations and methods on that edge of the country......I'll go with that.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Sub-Zero Construction in Williams, IA

The cold weather hasn't effected the installation of the new tank farm plumbing in Williams. Well maybe a little. Frequent warming breaks to thaw out digits and prevent frost bite from setting in has slowed them down a bit but they continue to work away. In fact, there have only been a handful of days they haven't work through this never ending cold spell.


In this photo, you can see the 6" truck fill header piped to the double pump system. The double pump configuration will allow us to load a truck and a rail car with the same product at the same time without sacrificing flow rates. We've calculated it to load rail at 700 gpm and trucks at 500gpm. The 6" plumbing on the discharge side of the pump will connect to the valve matrix you see in the photo below.

All of the products in the containment will run through this contraption to get to one of 5 loading destinations; south rail, north rail, truck bay 1, truck bay 2, or mixer. The engineers have coined it the "valve matrix" which sounds pretty cool so I'll stick with it.

If it's original intended purpose doesn't work out we can always market it as the worlds most elaborate potato gun. That's not even funny........it has to work. I mean it will work.

In this photo you see the single pump system. This is set up for some of the products that don't require high loading volumes. As you can see, some of the tanks are missing. Once the plumbing is 100% complete, we'll move the remaining tanks. We have a strict completion deadline of March 1 for the new load out system. The weather isn't helping but no excuses will be acceptable when we're looking at shipping record numbers in April. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Polar Vortex???

The third 500K gallon tank in Ashley is nearly complete. This picture was taken just before the polar vortex (fancy name for cold weather). Since then, the forth ring has been installed completing the side walls. Apparently, it's difficult to work with steel in a -30 degree wind chill and the tank crew went home for a week to stay warm. Can't say that I blame them.


Try to take a guess as to what's going on in the photo below. Have the ships tied off to shore and are in the process of burying the treasure chest? Is the Good Year blimp on the other end of the tie lines? Actually this is the center of tank 3. The ropes tied off to the stakeh hold the side walls steady until the rafters are in place. Oh, and that's a tool box not a treasure chest.
 
Williams update to follow soon..................

Thursday, December 5, 2013

HOW TO ERECT A 27' TALL CHRISTMAS TREE IN LESS THAN 3 DAYS


When you first read the title of this blog post, you were probably shocked that this feat is humanly possible. Well it is, and all it requires is 5 or 6 worthy helpers, a forklift, a scissor lift, 50' of rope, 200' of 1/8" cable, some cable clamps, 1 retro-fitted tree stand, a whole lot of gawkers, and some blood, sweat and tears. Oh, and I should add, it requires a large room with at least a 28' tall ceiling. Below are your step by step instructions. Enjoy!
 
 
1. Fasten the rope somewhere on the top portion of the tree and pull from an elevated platform. You should have someone, or better yet, a 500 pound stationary object hold the base of the tree from sliding. You will need 2 or 3 of your helpers to submerge themselves in the branches of the tree and push toward the puller. Warning: Your hands, hair, and any other exposed body parts will be sticky after this step.   
 
2. Continue pulling, even if the guys pushing from the bottom are adding additional weight because they didn't understand they were supposed to push, not climb.
 
3. Make sure there are many spectators available. Even though you may want them to leave the premises until the tree is up, they mean well offering their support. Who knows, with all those spectators excercising their photography and video taking skills, you may end up being a popular entity on one of those fun loving social websites I have such a high regard for.  
 
 

4. When you have it about half way up and everyone is sweating and grunting and it looks like you may have to throw in the towel..............drop the tree. Take a moment to re-evaluate the situation. This may take a couple hours, but just make sure Plan B is better than Plan A. 
 
 
 5. After you re-group and decide it's going to take some equipment to raise the tree and a few modifications to the tree stand, you should be ready to go. Another tool you may find handy that I failed to mention above is a level or a good set of eyes. However, if you use a level, don't place it on the end of the branches. You can see the results of this leveling application in the photo above.


 6. This is what your tree should look like if someone with a good set of eyes levels it. At this point, the cables are fastened from the upper portion of the tree to various parts of the building. You'll want to fasten the cables high enough to avoid clothes lining anyone walking through the lobby.

 7. And here is the finish product complete with decorations and a train. Thank you to everyone who participated in the production of this instructional - especially the sappy guys. I mean the guys who are still trying to wash the sap off.

The word floating around the office is that we're going for a 30' + tree next year. We might as well take advantage of all that ceiling space. 




Monday, December 2, 2013

Goodland 2 Million Gallon Tank

In Goodland, KS we have just finished our first 2 million gallon storage tank. As a company we often recognize the sales and shipping milestones, so I'm taking this opportunity to recognize this monumental milestone for the company. Congratulations AgroLiquid on the completion of your first 2 million gallon tank. Now it's time to fill it and more importantly empty it time and time again. Just to give you an idea of how large a 2 million gallon tank really is, it can hold 2 million 1 gallon jugs of milk or.......2 - 1 million gallon jugs of milk. I'm surprised I don't get recruited to work in a lab or something.
 
Litweiller Sand Blasting & Painting is the company who applied the interior coating and who will paint the exterior in the spring. We're waiting on the exterior until the spring to take advantage of more ideal weather conditions. Plus we want to have the interior of our second 2 million gallon tank in Williams completed before we worry about the exteriors.

The gray color on the wall is the finish product. The white color is a primer. The dark portion on the floor is raw steel that has been sand blasted. The reason for the dark finish over the light primer is to make it more visible if the coating begins to chip or peel, in the hopefully distant future. This allows us to address the issue early before it becomes a problem.

If you ever wondered where the lines go once they're on the inside of the tank, here's your answer. These are 4" fittings used for suction, fill, and circulation. The circulation line is on the left. It will eventually have a 4" pipe fastened to it that extends across the tank. This pipe has (10) 1.5" nozzles tapped into it that help circulate the product. The suction line is in the center. This extends down into the sump which aids with draining the tank completely. The fill line on the far right is for........ you guessed it.....filling the tank.


Believe it or not, this scaffolding breaks down small enough to hand it through a 30" diameter manway. That could quite possibly be the worst part of this job.
 
Nope. I changed my mind. This would be the worst part. Not that sandblasting would be terrible, but sandblasting this much surface would take a little time........and be terrible.
 
Here's the tank walls post-sand blasted, pre-primed. This perspective gives you a good feel for how large the tank is. Just think, maybe someday if the fertilizer thing doesn't work out, we can host basketball games or roller derbies.

I'm not sure what's going on here but to give you another idea of how large this tank really is, the guys in the photo are grown men, not dolls.

Now I feel like I've really accomplished something. 2 blog posts in 1 day. I'm exhausted.




Williams Tank Relocation Part II

You'll have to forgive me. I'm not the habitual blogger I should be like that guy doing the AgroLiquid NCRS blog. This is one of the items that tends to hang towards the bottom on my list of priorities. Anyway, here is the latest and greatest in Williams. We're a little closer to having the remaining tanks moved to the new containment.
 
We didn't work late, we started early. As always, the wind wasn't agreeable so we were delayed a bit. We ended up starting early the next morning while the wind subsided for a couple hours but it didn't take long for it to pick back up. By around 9am, we were back to the "normal" 20-30 mph winds. I would definitely own a kite shop if I lived in Iowa.......or Kansas.

 You can't see it under the insulated tarp, but the last of the concrete was poured at this time as well.

This is the east end of the new containment with a few of the 12 tanks moved this time around.

The new/used scale is now complete with a scale house. This will be used to verify load weights before trucks leave the site. The scale was purchased from an excavation company in Michigan. It was dismantled, shipped on a flat bed and re-installed with success.

Of course before we left, we got to experience some minor snow mixed with yes.....more wind. We have a lot of work to do before the spring rush next year but who wouldn't want to spend time in Iowa during the winter months.