Just as routine silo inspections are an essential component of your maintenance program, so too are routine cleanings. Regularly cleaning your silo can help keep it operating efficiently and limit potential liabilities. Regular cleanings also increase your silo’s usable lifespan, minimize big ticket repairs, and avoid more costly cleaning expenses. Silos that are emptied regularly and refilled will not have the same buildup issues as silos that are kept topped off, but every silo can benefit from a regular cleaning schedule.
Cleaning your silo can save you money in several ways. The primary savings are in recovering stagnant material that has built up inside your silo. This prevents losing that material and the resources — time, energy, labor — that went into storing it. Depending on your material, cleaning also can help prevent degradation or contamination that occurs when material sits too long, thus reducing or destroying its value.
Routine cleaning is necessary to remove the residue buildup inside the silo that reduces the volume of new material that the filled silo can hold. In all silos, cleaning removes old material residue which, in turn, helps maintain the freshness and concentration of the newly introduced material. Every silo, no matter the design or whether it’s steel or concrete, will benefit from a regular cleaning schedule. The benefits of a professional cleaning every year far outweigh the initial costs as this maintenance step keeps your silo running at full capacity, allowing maximum efficiency and leading to more consistent production schedules with no unplanned downtime.
Construction, cone angles, and the type of stored material are all factors that influence how material moves through storage silos.
Funnel flow silos are usually more cost effective to construct, costing between 20-30% less than mass flow silos, but are not suitable for all materials.
The flow channel drains material in the middle first. As the silo empties, side material flows into the middle channel. Because of this flow pattern, funnel flow silos that are not emptied completely on a regular basis keep stagnant, or dead, material against the silos walls. Without scheduled emptying, this causes material to build up along the silos walls and leads to issues like ratholing or irregular flow.
Taken together, these factors can enhance particle segregation, limit your live capacity, and cause silo failure. Generally, a funnel flow pattern is only suitable for coarse, free flowing, non-degrading solids when segregation is minimal.
Learn more about Funnel Flow Silos.
Mass flow silos do not experience the same material flow issues as funnel flow silos. Stored materials move down the silo as a column, with no flow channels and the first materials in are the first materials out, providing for a uniform flow.
Mass flow is ideal for materials that are susceptible to segregation based on particle size or density, minimized by the first in, first out flow sequence, with the segregated particles remixing as they discharge. It is an ideal flow pattern for coal or other materials that are combustible or perishable.
Learn more about Mass Flow Silos.
Funnel flow and mass flow are common silo flow patterns. In addition to these two are expanded flow and fluidized flow patterns. Find out more about the different types of concrete silo flow patterns.
To learn more, be sure to check out our full library of videos on silo maintenance, inspection and repair on