A&G Guide to Stainless Steel Tank Supports 

Stainless steel tanks find extensive application across industries due to their durability, corrosion resistance, and hygienic properties. However, the efficient support of these tanks is crucial to ensure safety, stability, and longevity. In this article, we delve into the most common types of supports used for stainless steel tanks: skirt supports, leg supports, lug supports, ring beam supports, and plinth supports. For each type, we will discuss their typical applications, design considerations, advantages, and limitations. 


One of the most prevalent support methods for vertical cylindrical tanks is the skirt support. This mechanism involves a vertical extension of the tank’s bottom, creating a supportive perimeter. Typically attached through welding or bolts, the skirt provides stability by evenly distributing the weight of the tank. This method is particularly suitable for applications where a robust support structure is essential while minimising the need for elevated structures. 


  • Offer uniform support around the tank circumference 
  • Can be designed to accommodate thermal expansion and contraction 
  • Suitable for tanks with larger diameters or irregular shapes 


  • Require careful design to prevent localised stress concentrations 
  • May necessitate additional insulation or protective measures for tanks in harsh environments 


For smaller tanks or installations in areas where a skirt may be impractical, leg supports come into play. Leg supports are commonly used for elevated stainless-steel tanks, providing stability and facilitating access for maintenance and cleaning. These supports act as pillars distributing the tank’s weight to the ground. The simplicity and versatility of leg supports make them a practical choice for a range of tank sizes and installation environments. 


  • Easily adjustable height to accommodate uneven surfaces 
  • Distribute the tank’s weight evenly to the ground 
  • Simplify installation and relocation of the tank 


  • Require adequate foundation for stability 
  • May not be suitable for seismic-prone areas without additional reinforcement 


Lug supports, in the form of brackets or projections on the tank, provide versatile attachment points for support structures. These are often used in combination with other support methods, offering flexibility in design and installation. The strategic placement of lugs enhances the tank’s structural integrity and facilitates secure support connections. Lug supports are used for smaller stainless-steel tanks or vessels requiring support without extensive structural frameworks. 


  • Provide localised support at specific attachment points 
  • Simplify installation and maintenance compared to full structural supports 
  • Ideal for portable or temporary tank installations 


  • Limited load-bearing capacity compared to other support types 
  • Require careful consideration of attachment strength and weld integrity 


Ring beam supports are structural systems used to provide robust support and stability for large stainless-steel tanks. They typically consist of a circular or polygonal beam that encircles the base of the tank, distributing its weight over a broader area. Ring beam supports are particularly suitable for tanks requiring elevated support with minimal ground contact, offering excellent resistance against seismic forces, wind loads, and other environmental factors. 


A ring beam with legs combines the functionality of a ring beam support with additional vertical support elements known as legs. This configuration provides elevated support for the tank while maintaining stability and load distribution. Ring beams with legs are commonly used for large stainless-steel tanks located in areas with uneven terrain or seismic activity. They offer enhanced stability and load-bearing capacity compared to traditional ring beam supports. 


  • Superior stability, especially in regions prone to seismic activity 
  • Even distribution of weight over a broader area minimises ground pressure 
  • By accommodating various tank sizes and configurations, they are suitable for a wide range of applications 


  • Designing and constructing ring beams with legs require careful engineering to ensure proper load distribution and stability 
  • The additional materials involved in constructing legs may increase the overall cost of the support system 
  • Regular inspection and maintenance are necessary to ensure the integrity of the ring beam and legs, particularly in corrosive environments 


A ring beam frame structure consists of a ring beam supported by a network of vertical and horizontal members, forming a sturdy framework around the tank’s base. This configuration provides comprehensive support and reinforcement for the tank, ensuring stability and structural integrity. Ring beam frame structures are utilised for large stainless-steel tanks subjected to significant loads, such as those used in industrial processing, storage, or wastewater treatment facilities. 


  • The interconnected network of vertical and horizontal members provides robust support and stability for the tank, even under heavy loads or dynamic forces 
  • Ring beam frame structures can be tailored to accommodate various tank configurations, foundation conditions, and site-specific requirements 
  • Structural steel or reinforced concrete components offer exceptional durability and resistance to corrosion, ensuring long-term performance and reliability 
  • The rigid frame design enhances the structure’s ability to withstand seismic forces, making it suitable for installations in earthquake-prone regions 


  • Designing and constructing ring beam frame structures require advanced engineering expertise and careful coordination to ensure proper alignment, load distribution, and structural integrity 
  • The materials, labour, and engineering resources required for constructing a ring beam frame structure can result in higher upfront costs compared to simpler support systems 
  • The footprint of the frame structure may occupy a larger area around the tank’s base, requiring adequate space for installation and maintenance activities 


A plinth or concrete slab support consists of a reinforced concrete foundation structure designed to accommodate the weight of the tank and transmit it to the ground. They are often utilised to provide stable and robust support for stainless steel tanks, particularly those with ground-level installations. Plinth supports are suitable for tanks of moderate size and load capacity where elevation is not required and offer a straightforward and cost-effective solution for smaller to medium-sized tanks, ensuring proper alignment, stability, and load-bearing capacity. 


  • Plinth or concrete slab supports provide stable and secure support for stainless steel tanks, minimising the risk of settlement or shifting. 
  • The broad base of the plinth or slab distributes the tank’s weight evenly and reduces the risk of localised pressure points. 
  • Compared to elevated support structures, plinth supports are generally more economical to construct and require less material and labour. 
  • Plinth or concrete slab supports can accommodate various tank sizes, shapes, and configurations, making them suitable for a wide range of applications. 


  • The suitability of plinth supports depends on the soil characteristics, groundwater levels, and site-specific factors. Proper site investigation and soil analysis are essential to ensure adequate support and stability 
  • Plinth supports are typically limited to ground-level installations and may not be suitable for tanks requiring elevation or vertical clearance 
  • Regular inspection and maintenance of the concrete foundation are necessary to address any deterioration, settlement, or cracking over time. Proper drainage and waterproofing measures may also be required to protect the foundation from moisture-related damage. 


In conclusion, the selection of an appropriate support method for stainless steel tanks is a critical aspect of their design and installation. When making recommendations, A&G engineers will consider factors such as tank size, shape, contents, environmental conditions and relevant standards and codes to ensure the safety, integrity, and compliance of proposed installations.  

A&G Engineering have been manufacturing stainless steel storage tanks and pressure vessels for 60 years. The unmatched combination of experience, flexibility, expertise, and technology combine for every A&G project to minimise production and operational risk and ensure on-time, on-budget, and as-specified delivery.     


If you have a technical query or want to find out how A&G can help you with your next project, talk to our expert team by calling us on (02) 6964 3422 or email sales@agengineering.com.au with your inquiry.    


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