Silo Inspection Blogs
Following a regular inspection schedule ensures the optimal performance of your silo and can help reduce the liability of unexpected failures. It also helps prevent unplanned downtime from unaddressed issues that slow down production, so you keep to your production schedules.
Regular silo inspections can help identify issues to be addressed before they cause irreparable damage. Larger or more extensive silo damage is inherently more costly, and a silo failure can not only impact neighboring silos it can also lead to loss of life. That's why it's essential to get a regular inspection and then follow through with the recommended repairs.
A professional silo inspection examines several areas that are prone to failure. Depending on the level selected, inspection includes an examination of the silo walls, foundation, cones, and roof, concrete sounding to check for signs of delamination, interior inspection, and, if necessary, services of a senior silo design engineer. It's important to make sure your review is performed by a trained professional as they can identify problems missed by the untrained eye.
The Marietta Silos inspection program is designed to meet the needs of any industry. Our three inspection levels, basic, augmented, and comprehensive, can be combined with our latest supplemental inspection service to give you the highest level of flexibility. The AI Supplemental Inspection service can also be used as a standalone service between regular inspections. Using this service annually, you get an accurate, comprehensive portfolio to better track silo defect changes. The AI Supplemental Inspection service brings silo inspection into the 21st-century through the use of drone capture technology, proprietary software, and artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms that identify even the smallest defects, map precise locations, and rank issues in order of severity. It's also the only service of its kind in the U.S., offered exclusively by Marietta Silos.
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.
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 and inspection services as part of a regular preventive maintenance schedule.
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.