11 January, 2019
Storage silos: What they are, types, advantages and disadvantages
There are many industries that require silos for the storage of any material or substance. That is why according to its use, not only there are several types of silos, but many conditions that must be taken into account to get the most out of them. But what do we mean when we talk about storage silos?
What is a Storage Silo
Storage silos are structures designed to store grain and other material in bulk or powder. They are also used for storing other elements such as cement, calcium oxide, calcium hydroxide, activated carbon or plastic resins, among others.
The most common storage silos are cylindrical with a metal support although there are also rectangular and square ones. They are similar to a tower and the material with which they are built can be metal, stainless steel, reinforced concrete, wood, reinforced plastic, fiberglass, etc.
Generally speaking, they are made to measure, taking into account the product to be stored, the environmental conditions or their location. They can be closed or open, and the interior surface is smooth and lined with special coatings.
Types of Storage Silos
Depending on the raw material to be stored, the types of silos vary and are classified into 3 types: tower silos, bunker silos, and bag silos.
They are the most common structures and can measure from 4 to 48 meters in diameter and 3 to 40 meters in height. They can be constructed of wood, cement, concrete or steel, among other materials.
Silos storing grain, cement and woodchips are typically unloaded with air slides or augers. Silos can be unloaded into rail cars, trucks or conveyors. Tower silos containing silage are usually unloaded from the top of the pile using mechanical unloaders.
Bunker silos are trenches, usually with concrete walls, that are filled and packed with tractors and loaders. The filled trench is covered with a plastic tarp to make it airtight. These silos are usually unloaded with a tractor and loader.
They are recommended when large quantities of material have to be stored and are used in agriculture and in other types of industries. In fact, nowadays, the military has also adopted the use of this type of silos for the deposit and handling of missiles.
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They are plastic and hermetic bags or tubes that are used for the storage of grains and fodder in the field. They usually measure from 2 to 21 meters in diameter. The length varies according to the material that is going to be stored.
They are usually very heavy and they are compacted using a machine made for the purpose, and sealed on both ends. These silos are also the most economical.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Storage Silos
The use of storage silos presents several advantages:
– They need less area to store the same amount of material than if it were stored in a horizontal warehouse.
– Products are stored in optimal conditions.
– Its cost is lower than that of other storage systems.
One of the biggest disadvantages of storage silos is that when it comes to handling them, there are many risks involved. The most common are:
– The risk of fire and explosion, unfortunately very common in grain elevators.
– Accidents due to suffocation and risks of poisoning. This circumstance occurs when inhaling the flammable vapors that are generated with the decomposition of grains.
– Risk of intoxication due to the use of fumigants and pesticides.
– Risk of suffocation when opening the silos by accumulation of carbon dioxide.
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That is why at the time of filling and unloading it is necessary to take all mandatory precautions. The safest way to handle the silos is by using the elebia automatic lifting hooks that allow the remote engage and release of the load.
Thanks to this feature, operators do not have to climb the silo to hook or release the slings, avoiding risks and accidents. In addition to increasing safety, the use of elebia automatic hooks allows an increase in productivity by reducing the effort of the operator in loading and unloading, as well as a marked improvement in working conditions.