Onguard's Seismic System stands up to 7.8 Earthquake

earthquake tanks

Image: Post earthquake photo showing undamaged tanks and anchors in Marlborough

Wineries withstand 7.8 earthquake thanks to the Onguard Seismic System

A number of New Zealand’s world-class wineries in Marlborough can thank their recently installed Onguard Seismic Systems for preventing product loss and damage following the 7.8 earthquake on November 14 and subsequent aftershocks.

The Onguard seismic anchors, developed by the Christchurch-based company following the Marlborough earthquakes of 2013, have proved their worth where they have been installed in wineries in the quake-damaged region.

Typically, tanks are prone to buckle and rupture in earthquakes, potentially losing thousands of gallons of wine. However, as Will Lomax, Founder and Managing Director of Onguard, found when he went to Marlborough immediately after the earthquakes to check on the wineries, the Onguard Seismic System had performed exceptionally well, “exactly as we’d hoped it would.”

“It was a 7.8 magnitude earthquake that caused a lot of damage but for us, the good news is that there was no damage at all to the tanks with the Onguard system. It worked exactly as we expected it would, and the sacrificial fuses within the anchors performed perfectly. All the inspections we’ve conducted on eight or nine wineries so far show the fuses have yielded as expected and we’re now in the process of installing replacement fuses wherever needed.

“There has been no loss of wine, no damage to tanks and the structural performance has been exactly as intended. We’re thrilled with the result.”

The Onguard Seismic System, which is placed around the base of wine tanks, provides security and stability in the event of an earthquake, preventing damage to the tanks, protecting the wine held in the tanks, and safeguarding people working in and around them. The stainless steel devices are welded around the bottom of wine tanks and anchored into the concrete base. The system is the first of its kind to protect both people and the liquid contents of a tank during an earthquake.

Lomax said that several wineries are installing new tanks fitted with the Onguard anchors to replace the non-Onguard Seismic System tanks that had failed. Others are having tanks retro-fitted with the Onguard Seismic System.

Andrew Horton, General Manager of Crown Sheetmetal who manufacture the tanks, said certain pockets of the region were hit really hard.
“We’ve produced different designs over the years, but definitely the new Onguard system we’ve been using since 2014 has performed brilliantly. We can’t find any damage to those tanks. It’s amazing when you consider the volume of liquid – 60,000 gallons (230,000 litres) of wine in one tank 45 feet (14 meters) off the ground.”