Nowadays, steel silos are used in many industrial and agricultural sectors due to their versatility. Proper grain silo maintenance and regular repairs can not only ensure their long-term safe use and reduce maintenance costs, but also extend their service life and maximise their storage properties. This week, Prado Silos suggests some basic tips for detecting the main maintenance problems in grain silos.
Grain silos are indispensable for the proper storage of grain or any bulk material. However, when using steel silos, if some details are neglected, problems are likely to occur, ultimately resulting in higher costs both in terms of repairs and loss of the stored crop. Regular cleaning and maintenance of grain silos are essential to ensure they remain in good condition throughout their service life, whilst improving accident prevention.
Inadequate utilisation, impacts on the steel sheets and other contingencies can lead to damage and corrosion of grain storage silos. If not regularly maintained, silos will not be able to fulfil their function properly, and may even become a safety hazard if the main rules of maintenance for these facilities are disregarded.
As part of its commitment to success, Prado Silos must therefore remind its clients and partners about the importance of regular inspection and maintenance of their steel silos.
First of all, it is important to note that these tips are generic and apply to most steel silos, but they do not constitute a guide to periodic maintenance for grain silos. Each silo requires specific maintenance depending on its model, type, content… but above all depending on its location and the regulations in force at each site. For any questions about the maintenance of your silo, please do not hesitate to contact Prado Silos or your grain silo manufacturer.
Starting with the basics: no changes should be made to the silo structure, especially not without prior consultation with the specialists at Prado Silos.
The main requirement for an operational silo consists in not losing the stored grain. Therefore, the first thing to do is to check the appropriate sealing of the silo. Leaks may appear in grain storage silos for several reasons, especially in junction areas. It is therefore necessary to frequently check these points of the silos for proper sealing. Prado Silos works with special self-locking screws and joint caulking to maintain the joints in perfect condition, but checking the tightness of the screws after the first filling is important.
The structural elements of the silo, its walls and bolted joints should be checked periodically to ensure that everything is in perfect conditions. In case of detecting damaged bolts, signs of deformation and cracking, etc., please contact Prado Silos and take the appropriate measures to solve the problem.
The accessories mounted on a silo are crucial to guarantee an optimal exploitation and to ensure safety. If not properly maintained, they can be useless and even harmful. For example, the silo should not be overloaded, therefore the level gauge must be in optimum operating conditions. Some silos are equipped with vents and aeration systems. Stairs, platforms, handrails and dangerous areas should be in good condition and clearly indicated.
Aeration domes and fans are essential parts of a grain silo, and any malfunctioning should be corrected as soon as possible.
Sun, ice, sea spray… Bad weather conditions deteriorate the silo in the long term. Prado Silos prevents the effects of weather conditions by using galvanised steel with the highest performance (ZM310 in roofs; Z600 in ferrules and reinforcements; hot-dip galvanising for welded parts; JS1000 screws, the most resistant on the market). However, an impact or a bad operation can damage the protective coating. To prevent the external surface of the silo from losing its qualities and its coating, it should be regularly inspected and treated in time whenever signs of corrosion are detected.
Every time the grain silo is emptied, the interior of the silo body must be thoroughly examined. On the one hand, it is necessary to check for cracks around the silo openings. Also, the sealing of the silo, the joints, the connecting parts, etc. must be inspected.
Before starting any silo maintenance work, the silo must be completely empty. Do not enter a loaded silo: the grain may be compacted or loose in certain areas and could collapse completely burying a person. No silo maintenance work should be carried out in the event of a thunderstorm.
Check the conditions of the silo and the necessary protective equipment before accessing the silo. Only those who are properly equipped and trained may enter the silo. To avoid accidents, it is necessary to ensure that any power supply to the silo or its accessories is completely disconnected.
The seal ring around the bottom of the silo must be carefully inspected, as it will be subjected to extreme stress when the grain silo is fully loaded. Damaged seals lead to moisture intrusion and possible deterioration of the crop, as well as shortening the silo’s service life.
In grain hopper bottom silos, recommendations are similar, but special attention should be paid to the hopper legs and the hopper sections, with specific checking of the connections with the mechanical parts.
These tips are generic and apply to most steel silos, but they do not constitute a guide to periodic maintenance for grain silos. For any questions about the maintenance of your silo, please do not hesitate to contact Prado Silos or your grain silo manufacturer.