Innovative Tank Anchoring Design Protects People and Product from Potentially Devastating Earthquake Loss

Onguard Tank Anchors3

According to Will Lomax, most people are fatalistic about the possibility of a destructive earthquake happening sometime in their lives. They cross their fingers, hope for the best and figure if the big one comes, there’s nothing they can do about it anyway.

But they’re wrong, Lomax believes. People can get prepared. And he should know.

Lomax is the Founder and President of Onguard seismic systems, a company dedicated to providing engineered solutions for controlled and dependable protection of liquid storage tanks during an earthquake event.

As a structural engineer working in the New Zealand wine industry for more than 15 years, Lomax had long been seriously concerned about the ability of storage tanks to withstand the powerful shaking caused by seismic shifting.

His fears were realized in 2013 when a strong earthquake hit Marlborough, wreaking havoc in several of the facilities he was working in.

“Sauvignon Blanc was spraying all over the wineries from tanks that had been ruptured,” Lomax reminisces. “I saw all this business literally going down the drain. I decided to do something about it.”

The Onguard system Lomax developed as a result works through a series of energy dissipaters that connect a storage tank to its foundation or supporting structure. In the event of an earthquake, the energy is absorbed through the anchor system, keeping the wine in the tank and sparing the tank itself from damage.

“We have a range of sizes of dissipaters,” Lomax explains. “We can adapt the size and quantity of the anchors to any particular tank or site.”

Two years after Lomax rolled out Onguard in New Zealand, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake again struck the region, causing two full minutes of shaking.

Lomax says that the 300 or so tanks his company had fitted with his Onguard system revealed no damage anywhere.

“Pretty much every other tank with wine in fell over,” he reports. “It was a great endorsement.”

The benefits of the Onguard seismic system are compelling. It protects:

  • Product – the lifeblood of a business
  • People – through reduced risk of injury or death caused by rupture
  • Position in market – guaranteeing a sustainable business future
  • Profit – essential to a business’s entire feasibility
  • Place – provides infrastructure safety, minimizing the risk of damage and downtown
  • Platform – keeps business interruption to a minimum

The insurance industry recognizes this risk reduction and offers benefits to those who invest in the system. Onguard is actively working with re-insurers to provide preferential insurance terms that will encourage owners to reduce earthquake risk.

Onguard has also released a new software system to its U.S. customers, which was created to make the design of the system even easier. Called “Mohawk,” the software allows users to design the Onguard system of tank shell, anchors and foundation to their own site specifications in-house.

In addition, a telemetric monitoring system called “Tygr Eye” is currently under testing in New Zealand. Tygr Eye will enable the precise monitoring of Onguard’s sacrificial dissipaters after a seismic event to determine if they need replacement to ensure complete efficacy and safety into the future. Replacement is cheap, fast and easy.

For more information and videos on how it works and orders go to: