How to Lift
Grain Elevator move
  Precise Alignment
  Tank Turtle Fleet
 110' Tank, Katrina
Before Tank Turtles
 Tank Leaving Pad

Tank Aproaching Pad

 Hurricane Ike recovery

Tank Turtles

  Tank Turtles

Hurricane Katrina


 Hurricane Katrina Recovery
MTS recovered over 30 tanks that had been displaced by the forces and storm surge caused by Hurricane Katrina. MTS responded quickly to the 2005 disaster and worked hard to minimize the losses and cost to MTS clients. By January of 2006 MTS had all but 6 tanks replaced and repaired or replaced foundations that were destroyed by the storm water.

 The final 6 tanks were begun in March, and by the end of April were all back on their new or repaired foundations. It was during the Hurricane Katrina recovery work that the necessity for a more efficient short move tank moving system was realized. Responding to this need MTS developed the Tank Turtle™ tank moving system. All Hurricane Katrina work was done without the benefit of having the Tank Turtles™ but when Hurricane Ike hit Houston Texas, we were ready with a fleet of Tank Turtles™ and so we were able to immediately respond to the disaster.

   Hurricane Ike

MTS Tank Turtles to the rescue

Hurricane Recovery
MTS was ready with their new Tank Turtle Moving System and they proved to be more than up to the challenge when it came aiding in the recovery of Houston Texas after hurricane Ike Devastated several plants. It made what would be a very challenging project into a very easy job. MTS relocated several tanks in the Houston Texas area  after Hurricane Ike had struck in 2008.

Some of the reasons for moving a tank: 

·                   Join tank farms together to maximize terminal facilities

·                   Rearrange plant for construction of new units

·                   Bring old plants into compliance

·                   Return the leased land back to the land owner

·                   Reconstruct tank foundation

·                   Site restrictions require tank to be built remotely

·                   Time constraints requiring tank and tank foundation to be built simultaneously; where tank is built on temporary foundation and then moved on to permanent foundation after both completed.

Precision Tank Placement

The MTS Tank Turtle system was used to precisely place a 51' by 85' tall gas holder tank after moving it over 275' on to its new foundation. The above photo shows one of six precisely aligned marks that the tank was placed to.

          Case Study
MTS had tested the system on a small tank move in Grand Chenier La, a leftover from Hurricane Katrina it had been knocked off of its foundation a small distance by the storm surge. MTS arrived and in less then 3 days had successfully completed both the tank move, as well as some necessary foundation repairs.

 Everyone agreed the Tank Turtles™ worked even better than anticipated. If you have had any experience in developing any kind of machine or equipment, you know how rare it is for anything to work better than anticipated.

 MTS was delighted and excited to take the Tank Turtles™ to New York to move the gas holder tank.  MTS arrived on the job site Thursday afternoon and unloaded their equipment, the next morning their was the usual orientation and kick off meetings, this was a union site, and so everyone had different administrative concerns about how everyone was going to work together, it was about  eleven am by the time any actual work on the tank move began.

 By Friday night MTS had the tank already off the pad and on its way to the new location some 290 feet away. MTS had brought just a 9 hp hydraulic pump to do the whole job, in hind site 30 hp would have been much more adequate. Because of the small horse power pump, the tank moved very slowly, more of a snails pace than that of a turtle.

 Monday was Memorial Day, and so we respectfully took that day off. Tuesday morning we resumed moving the tank. By Tuesday afternoon we had positioned the tank precisely where it was supposed to go; this included rotating the tank some 110 degrees. Late that afternoon, we had demobilized, loaded up the truck, and were completely off site; the only evidence that we were ever there, was that the tank had been moved from where it was to where it now is.

 The Tank Turtles™ had turned a 3 month job in to a weekend project; now that’s tough to beat!

Notice the small jobsite footprint required by the moving operation when using the Tank Turtle™. No track or rails, no tractors or heavy equipment are required to provide propulsion.

All-Terrain Turtles:
Tank Turtles safely navigating a 48' diameter tank over very rough terrain without any trouble at all.

     Soft Footprint
Tank Turtles tread lightly, creating very little disturbance to the ground.

  Tanks can be moved in many different ways using many different systems and methods and almost all of these methods are viable and reasonable alternatives in the proper situations; however all tanks need to be lifted properly with a unified hydraulic jacking system regardless of how it is moved. Below we will discuss several methods of tank moving such as:

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                Floating Tanks on Water


Notice the dimples around the top of the shell; this is evidence of the enormous strain the rafters and columns are under. A tank this size should not be floated . 

This is probably one of the oldest methods of moving tanks, however it should not be used for tanks over 50’ in diameter. On larger tanks the floor plate is too flexible and so the shell weight is supported by the rafters and the columns. This over flexes the rafter connections, and over stress the columns causing them to bend, twist or buckle and fail. Floating any tank is tempting because it is so easy to do, provided you have the room, and the water.  But even floating a small tank may not be a good choice, contamination of the pad area with clay silts and organic debris may cause accelerated corrosion of the tank floor. It may be impossible to align sumps into their sump holes, and saturating the foundation with water will cause the compaction and material cohesion to weaken.

 Also, after the tank has been moved, the water, which (often) may have become contaminated, needs to be properly treated. Then after the site is drained it usually is a big muddy slop pit, and so any work requiring pickers or other moving equipment is delayed or made very difficult and costly and more dangerous.

 Another precaution to consider when floating any size of tank is the weather, wind forces my be strong enough to cause loss of control of the tank and cause it to push through any levee that was built to hold the water used to float the tank.
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                   Cushion of Air

Floating tanks on a cushion of air is a little more complicated than floating it on water. A skirt is tied around the tank bottom snuggly and a powerful fan is used to pump air under the skirt to lift the tank on a cushion of air. This causes the same issues for the columns and rafter connections as floating on water does, and so it should only be attempted on tanks smaller than 50’ diameter.

 This method is problematic and rarely goes as well as imagined. The travel site needs to be perfectly level and compacted; otherwise the tank will tend to drift down hill, and if not compacted properly the skirt will dig into the ground and act like a bulldozer blade inhibiting movement. Wind will also be a force to be reckoned with, and keeping the tank on course can be very difficult. Often in the end, it would have been better to load the tank up on a number of wheeled bogies and moved that way than to float it on a cushion of air.



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                     Crane with Spreader Beam

When tanks are small enough, and it is possible to get a large enough crane close enough, then a crane is probably the most effective way to move a tank. However, crane accidents are common, and the stability of the ground around the tank where the crane will be set needs to be known to be good enough to support the crane and tank. Spreader bars need to be engineered for the size and weight of the tank, and lifting lugs attached to the tank also need to be properly engineered and installed. Never take short cuts when lifting with a crane.
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               Lowboys and Tractor

Generally lowboys and highway tractors are a good choice to move tanks that are small enough that they can be moved down the highway. Lowboy trailers can also be combined with jeeps and configured to move even larger tanks. Before any trailer type system is used, it needs to be determined if the move distance and obstacles warrant using a tractor trailer system. These systems need considerable room to install and maneuver, and it may not always be possible for the trailer to be positioned so that the tank can be placed and oriented the way you want it to be. 
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                        Deck Trailers

Deck trailers come in all types; they generally are simply a large trailer with a heavy deck with enough wheels to carry the size of tank needed to be moved. They are usually designed to be pulled by a highway tractor or in some cases a piece of heavy equipment. Usually this method is used when moving a tank long distances over roads, or across fields. Since the deck is a fixed size, the size of tanks that can be moved on these trailers is limited to usually under 60’ diameter.

 These systems also need considerable room to install and maneuver, and it may not always be possible for the trailer to be positioned so that the tank can be placed and oriented the way you want it to be.  

Again, the tanks need to be lifted properly with a unified oil volume delivery system to each hydraulic jack, and preferably with hydraulic jacks long enough to complete lift in one stroke.
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               Self-Propelled Trailers


Self-Propelled trailers are used for moving all kinds of heavy items in all kinds of industries from ship building to the space industry. They are very maneuverable and can steer and rotate in any direction. Each wheel can be individually raised steered or lowered to level or tilt trailer desk as desired. They are great for doing short moves and long distance moves alike because they do not need to be exclusively self-propelled but can be pulled down the road by a highway tractor; making them very versatile.

 They do need to have a hard enough surfaces to run on or else they are at risk of getting stuck. Although they are self-propelled, not all the wheels are driven, so if the ground is soft or loose, these wheels can spin out.  

  These types of trailers are stackable, so several can be assembled into one very large deck to move even the largest of tanks. However, they are very expensive to purchase, and mobilize, and require a crew of skilled technicians and operators to assemble the trailers and operate them. They are a good choice if the conditions are such that you require the maneuverability to position the tank, and your site conditions are ideal for the trailers to operate on, and you need the versatility to both maneuver in tight spaces, and travel long distances down the highway. They are not recommended for use over fields or unprepared terrain.  
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    Railroad Track and Bogies


Using prefabricated sections of railroad track that is leapfrogged along as the tank is moved  is one way of moving very large tanks over relatively long distances across open fields or along right of ways. Of course ground preparation is required  to lay the track sections on, and there is the risk of the tank getting away from you on a down slope if your equipment is not attached to the tank well enough or if you equipment is too  small to hold it back.

 The temptation here is to support the tank on too few sets of tracks, using only 2 track sets would only support the tank on four spots. This may not be enough for tanks over 70’ in diameter, and may overstress the shell, or rafter structures, so a third or fourth rail may need to used to reduce the stress to acceptable levels.

 This system has some restrictions, as it is of course not as maneuverable as any trackless system, and so it may limit how and where a tank can be situated.

However MTS has a Tank Turtle™ moving system that can take over the move at the arrival site or remove it from the departure site to where this system can take over. The Tank Turtle™ system is capable of positioning the tank exactly where and how you want it.

 As with any moving system the tanks needs to be properly lifted with a unified oil volume delivery system and  with hydraulic jacks that preferably can lift to full lift height in one stroke. Airbags are not an acceptable method of lifting tanks and should never be used because they apply uncontrollable lifting force to the tank and cause undesirable weakening and possible damage to the tanks critical connections. Return to Top

          Rubber tired Bogies and beam platform



MTS has a system of wheeled bogies, which are steerable, and have a leveling system for handling rough terrain. Each bogie has 32 tires and wheels, and several can be configured to carry any kind of payload, even the largest sizes of tanks can be moved with this system. Like any other system of moving tanks its constraint include a suitable path for the tank to travel between the 2 spots. They are somewhat good at maneuvering because of the fact that each bogie set can be steered individually, however since it requires outside locomotion, like a tractor or a bulldozer or other heavy equipment to push or pull the system, it might not always be able to situate the tank exactly where or how you want it. However Again; MTS has a Tank Turtle™ moving system that can take over the move at the arrival site or remove it from the departure site to where this system can take over. The Tank Turtle™ system is capable of positioning the tank exactly where and how you want it.
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    Barge and Tug boats

Moving tanks long distances over water on a barge may be an option that can be utilized probably more often than it presently is. If access to a navigable waterway is possible at both ends of the trip this could be a good option; of course another method of tank moving would be used to actually load the tank on the barge.

 Even the largest of tanks could be moved great distance this way, and coupled with the MTS Tank Turtle™ moving system the possibilities are endless. 
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   I-Beam and Load Skates


I-beam and load skates are used generally for very short moves and final positioning of tanks, they utilize small steel wheels or rollers with good bearings so they roll easily and travel along a sturdy I-beam. The I-beam is set up in the direction you want to go and the tank is pushed along the I-beam rolling on the skates, it is a little trickier than this sounds’, proper alignment is of course paramount, but usually works well if everything is set up correctly. A better choice is the MTS Tank Turtle™ moving system that can take over the move at the arrival site or remove it from the departure site to where this system can take over. The Tank Turtle™ system is capable of positioning the tank exactly where and how you want it in the tightest of locations
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   MTS Tank Turtle™ Moving System




This system was developed by MTS and was born from over 40 years of heavy moving experience. It is extremely maneuverable and is capable of positioning a tank with pin point accuracy. It can travel up slopes and down hills, traverse soft ground without fear of getting stuck, rotate a tank in position, travel in any direction from any starting point. It has a very small jobsite footprint, the tank site is not encumbered with heavy equipment or tractors and cranes, no railway tracks need to be built, and very little preparation of the travel road is required. The turtles can walk over the tank pad without messing up the nice smooth finish, or even across a lawn with little disturbance, the system is very environmentally friendly that way. The Turtle can walk across a farmer’s field without harming the field, as long as it is done before planting or after harvest.

 The system is self propelled so no external equipment like a loader or tracked machine is required to push or pull the tank, making it possible to squeeze into the tightest of spots.

 The system moves the tank with deliberate precision, there is no herky jerky motion as the tank is moved, it just smooth and easy, and it stops and starts exactly where you want it to every time.

 The system continues to prove itself to be even more and more versatile with every move. It is best suited to in plant moves, but with each use MTS is discovering that it is more and more practical to move tanks farther and farther.

MTS says that of all of the innovative things MTS has brought into the industry, the Tank Turtles™ have proved to be the most perfect right out of the box. The only refinement MTS has found to be needed was to add more horsepower to increase speed, and to build more Turtles to increase capacity.

 The Tank Turtles™ are a stackable system, the more you have, and the larger and the more tanks can be moved at one time. MTS can move even the largest of tanks over 300’ in diameter with the MTS system.
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                 Multi System Moving Projects


 Any type of tank move can be done using the MTS Tank Turtle ™ system, however on moves of over a couple of miles, it might be practical to integrate another type of moving system like one of those mentioned above to travel the bulk of the distance; provided you have a suitable path to do so. But if you need to travel across a field where the soil support may not allow wheels to travel over without getting stuck, or the environmental damage required to install a leapfrog track system is not acceptable; then the Tank Turtles™ are the way to go all the way.

 If conditions are not suitable for a wheeled approach, the Tank Turtles™ can move large distances, it just might mean bringing more horsepower to make them move a little faster.
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