Though silos now regularly dot both agricultural and industrial landscapes throughout North America, they have only been in use since the late 19th century. From their origins as silo cellars that were dug into the ground to the first vertical silo developed in the early 1880s, silo construction
methods have changed a great deal over time.
Early tower-style silos lacked their now-signature round shape and were often constructed of either wood or stone. Structural issues with these rectangular designs, including corner air pockets that allowed for spoilage, high susceptibility to bowing from internal pressure, and susceptibility to wind damage, quickly lead to developments. Silos constructed with a round design were found to withstand pressure from stored materials better.
By the 1900s, concrete became a common construction material and opened the doors to concrete stave silo construction
methods still used today. Since developing the technology used for concrete stave silos in 1920, Marietta Silos has remained an industry leader in construction, inspection, and restoration. Concrete stave silos are constructed using precast concrete blocks, or staves, that are at least 2" thick and interlock. These staves are reinforced with exterior galvanized steel hoops that provide the necessary tension to compress silo walls and ensure structural integrity.
Marietta Silos relies on more than 100 years of concrete stave silo construction experience to design and build superior stave silos. We're also the only company in the U.S. that produces staves that are 5 ¾" thick for increased durability. Concrete stave silos from Marietta Silos offer versatility and flexibility, as well as economy. We can design concrete stave silos with many discharge types, including cone, flat floor, side discharge, and tunnel discharge.
Jumpform silo construction
is a newer construction method that has been used for the last 30 to 40 years. While it is a more economical solution to silo construction
, the end result is also one of the strongest construction types available.
The system relies on a Jumpform machine, or rig, consisting of a form and scaffolding system. This reusable silo framework is set up in just a few days. The system is available in a variety of diameter sizes, from 10' to 65'. Once the desired diameter is selected, the system is assembled on site. Once in place, reinforcement steel is set, quality control is checked, and the inside form is created. Concrete is then poured into this frame in a slow, controlled process in 4' tall intervals until the desired height is reached.
The ability to ensure the quality of the reinforcement steel placement and equipment before pouring the concrete directly results in a high-quality concrete silo. Once completed, the silo will retain a grid-like pattern on the exterior where the form had been in place.
What makes Jumpform silo construction
so economical? In addition to the reusable frame, the incremental schedule, rather than the continuous schedule used in Slipform construction, reduces costs by approximately 20%.
- The construction process is not adversely affected by weather events. Since the silo is constructed in 4' segments, it is easy to halt construction and pick up where it left off.
- The incremental process also allows staggered delivery of construction materials. This keeps the construction area smaller.
To learn the step-by-step Jumpform process and to understand its efficiencies, watch our Jumpform silo video
The two most common systems for constructing a concrete silo are Jumpform and Slipform. Concrete storage silos from 10' to 65' in diameter can be built using the Jumpform technique, while Slipform silos are best for construction projects over 65' in diameter.
Jumpform construction is one of the most flexible silo construction methods available in the industry today. So is the Slipform method. There are absolutely no shortcuts to either method because safety and performance remain at the forefront of every silo project. So, what determines the construction approach?
Jumpform construction is not as time sensitive as Slipform. Jumpform is completed in stages, offering some economies of scale associated with equipment installation, reinforcing steel assembly, rebar inspection and concrete pour to cure.
Jumpform can be the most economical construction choice. The form can be set-up and ready to make the first pour of concrete within a week. Because Jumpform is poured in increments, pour costs can be reduced by as much as 20% over Slipform construction where a continuous pour is required.
The Jumpform silo framework is reusable. It takes just a few days to set up after delivery to the job site. This form provides a safe, circular deck to access and erect the silo from the interior, creating a smaller job site footprint. When construction is finished, the form is quickly removed from the job site.
Marietta Silos' standard Jumpform horizontal construction joint detail creates a leak-proof joint system and is the best choice for concrete storage silos less than 65’ in diameter. Jumpform silos are poured in multiple sequences as opposed to a single sequence in the Slipform method. Therefore, an allowance in the time schedule permits a thorough quality control inspections of the Jumpform, steel reinforcements and embedments. Only then is the concrete segment poured.
Marietta Silos is the only Jumpform manufacturer in the country that complies with OSHA 125' scaffolding requirements.
While Jumpform is an ideal method for building concrete silos less than 65' in diameter, Slipform construction offers many advantages in larger scale silo design and construction; these are described separately.
To learn the step-by-step Jumpform process and to understand its efficiencies, watch our Jumpform silo video.
Check out our full library of silo inspection videos on silo maintenance, inspection and repair on our .