When it comes to industrial facilities, a functional storage or processing tank can make a big difference in ensuring that liquids are kept safe from contamination. Of course, every facility has different usage needs and storage capacities, and this means that when the time comes to purchase a new tank, choosing an option that is the right size is absolutely essential. But how do you calculate tank size?

Regardless of whether you need to process water or petroleum, following a few basic principles will help you accurately calculate the correct tank size for your facility’s needs.

Before you get around to calculating the capacity of the tank itself, it’s important to consider how much space you have available for this industrial equipment. You will need to take specific height, width, and length measurements to ensure that you limit your search to tanks that will actually fit in your available space. After all, it won’t do you much good to purchase a tank that provides the storage capacity to meet your needs but is too tall to fit into your facility. And of course, you will also need to account for space around the tanks that will need to be left empty. These measurements can help you determine which style of tank will work best with your facility -- be it a smaller horizontal tank or a larger vertical tank.

Next, you’ll need to determine how much liquid you will need to store in the tank. This will differ depending on the purpose for the tank. After all, a processing tank will have fluid cycling in and out throughout the day, while a storage tank may only be refilled periodically.

A common rule of thumb is to keep at least a four week’s supply of liquids in a storage tank to help you prepare for unexpected supply chain issues and other variables. Processing tanks should be large enough that they can efficiently process liquid even during times of peak demand. Either way, this means you will need to calculate your daily fluid use.

Naturally, the exact use of various liquids (such as water or gasoline) will vary from one business to another. For example, an agricultural facility would need to calculate how much water is used for irrigating crops, washing animals, and of course, giving those animals something to drink. These totals could dramatically vary from one facility to another, based on the number and types of crops and animals being raised.

For processing tanks, you need to determine how many gallons per minute are used during times of peak demand, and then use this number to determine what size tank you need. In many facilities, multiple processing tanks may be necessary to fully meet this demand. For storage tanks, after calculating your daily liquid usage, you can then multiply this number to determine how much storage capacity you should ideally plan for (with an ideal being enough to meet your needs for four weeks).

Once you’ve gone through all this number crunching, you’re ready to shop around for the actual tank. While tank manufacturers make this relatively easy by providing overall dimensions and storage capacity measurements, there are still a few nuances buyers should be aware of.

Vital statistics, such as required venting capacity, maximum test and operating pressure, and maximum operating vacuum will also need to be considered when storing more volatile liquids. It’s also worth noting that dimension measurements for some vertical tanks only account for the storage cylinder itself, which means that you may need to manually adapt the measurements (such as for extra height added by the bottom end slope area).

While it may require a lot of math to calculate tank size, the extra preparation that goes into determining your own needs and facility capacity will ensure that your storage tank purchases will perfectly fulfill your facility’s requirements.