All silos should be regularly inspected whether they are old or new, rarely or frequently used. Identifying potential problems early on through routine inspection can save you big. Silo issues that need to be remediated only become more costly to repair and more dangerous the longer you wait.
Silo Inspection Cost Savings:
- Planned downtime is always far more economical than unplanned downtime.
- Routine repair of a silo will cost you much less than an emergency repair.
- Small repairs are quicker and cheaper than a silo failure.
Ideally, silos should be professionally inspected a minimum of every two to five years. There are, however, conditions that may require more frequent silo inspection, so it's important to know when to schedule a silo inspection
Professional silo inspection
covers more areas of the silo than an in-house inspection. Trained silo inspectors or silo engineers examine your silo(s) in-depth to look for serious issues and provide preventive maintenance suggestions that can help keep your silo in the best shape possible.
When combined with silo cleaning, the inside of the silo structure, including roof beams and beam pockets, cones, floors, shelves and tunnels, can be thoroughly examined for signs of wear or damage.
Sticking to a regular inspection schedule with a trusted professional silo inspection
company pays for itself. Through inspection and maintenance, you increase the useful life of your silo, reduce unplanned downtime, and uphold production goals. What's more, the lack of silo maintenance is a leading cause of failure. The costs of keeping up with preventive maintenance are significantly lower than the price of major repairs or construction after a structural failure.
Steel silo construction is widely applicable to both industry and agricultural uses. Whether storing grain or fly ash, steel silos — like all storage silos — must keep stored materials safe until they are needed for use. As with other silo designs and stored materials, steel silos are likewise susceptible to material flow issues, leaking or other failure and require regular, routine maintenance.
When it comes to maintaining your bolted steel silo, it's essential to check for corrosion and leaking issues. Over time, all steel silos are susceptible to corrosion. When evaluating your steel silo, it's important to check the amount of corrosion on the wall at the joints to identify potential leaking. Because moisture can accelerate corrosion, it's also important to examine the silo foundation or base for signs of stagnant, sitting water.
Leaking steel silo joints can also be caused by weak spots in the seam as a result of an aging gasket. The gasket, located between the flanges on bolted steel silos, tanks or vessels can become dry and brittle over time, allowing moisture in or stored material out. Temperature and pressure differential from pneumatic loading or negative pressure from dust collection systems can also compromise the integrity of the seam.
When you have corrosion and leaking issues present, it's essential to have the bolted seams professionally repaired. Following inspection, Marietta Silos' repair consists of caulking all the seams, both vertical and horizontal. Once the caulking has dried, a rubberized coating material is sprayed over the caulking at the joints. This resilient coating bonds directly to the steel to restore the efficacy of your storage silo. Unlike other coatings that act as a floating membrane, the rubberized coating withstands the normal fluctuations encountered at silo seams, protects against corrosion and withstands temperature and weather extremes. The repair process offered by Marietta Silos reduces or eliminates leaks in bolted panel seams.
To learn more, be sure to check out our full library of silo videos
on silo maintenance, inspection and repair on
Storage silos are used in almost every industry to store materials safely until they are needed for use, but no matter the design or the materials stored, silos are susceptible to material flow issues caused by blockages.
Blockages not only lead to a reduced storage capacity and disrupted or slowed operations, they also promote bad flow characteristics. When material flow is off, delamination, exterior concrete cracking and structural failure can result. There are numerous blockage types possible in storage silos, two common flow issues are bridging or caking.
If there is a blockage and your silo is plugged, here's how to know whether it's related to bridging or caking.
When material is poured into the storage silo it exerts pressure on the material under and around it, and with some materials, this surrounding pressure can cause a structural bond. This bond results in a bridging effect, where the bottom of the bridge empties but a dome arch remains, preventing any further material from flowing. As more material is dumped on top of the bridge the pressure exerted increases and the bonds holding the bridge together will actually become stronger.
Caking occurs when powder, such as detergents, fertilizers and salts, become cohesive after storage, forming agglomerates comprised of individual particles that are bonded together. Caking results when the magnitude of interparticle forces increase over time. The most common cause of caking is moisture migration due to temperature changes with materials that are soluble. Caking creates resistance to flow in silos and can result in residue on walls.
You can help reduce the likelihood of material build-up through a number of ways, click here
to watch and learn more. Depending on how easily stored material compacts or hydrates, your silo may need to be completely emptied on a regular schedule as often as once a month or as little as every year.
Silos that are regularly emptied and refilled are less likely to experience build-up issues than in those kept topped off. Regularly emptied silos need professional cleaning
less frequently in comparison. They are also less likely to experience issues like compacting and hydrating. Hydration occurs when moisture mixes with stored materials and causes them to solidify within the silo. When this happens, materials can expand and cause added wall pressure, increasing the likelihood of structural failure.
The routine examination of your silo is only effective in increasing facility safety and ensuring smooth operations when it is conducted in conjunction with professional cleaning
services as part of a regular preventive maintenance
Whether you have bridging, caking or plugging of any stored material, it’s essential to contact USA Silo Service
, a division of the Marietta Group, which includes Marietta Silos and Marietta Inspection Services, to have the build-up removed quickly. This recent case study
shows USA Silo Service using their proprietary equipment and cleaning methods
to remove coal build-up in a silo and greatly improve material flow.