Silo Inspections Should Include Preventive Maintenance

silo inspections

The benefits of annual silo inspections far outweigh the cost of the inspection. Annual inspections, commonly called a ‘dry run’ allow engineers and silo owners to check things like the fluid levels in the walls of the silos, the condition of the interior of the walls, performing the valves, the coating thicknesses of the walls and a host of other issues. This information is important when it comes time to qualify for insurance coverage or to request financing from banks and lending institutions. Not only does it provide valuable information regarding structural health, but it can also reveal many problems that will require substantial repair and attention down the line. I recommend a dry run conducted by a professional inspection service to help ensure that the silo owners are receiving a true value for their investment.

silo inspections

The option of various companies that offer inspection services

Many companies offer their own silo inspections, however, most professionals will spot many material flow issues in just one inspection. The flow issue refers to the difference between the actual physical movement of the silo contents and the amount of fluid movement that occur with no human effort. These inspections can identify material movement issues such as ‘wavy’ or ‘jittery’ movement which occurs without warning and can significantly increase safety hazards. These movements may indicate a flotation hazard, latent flotation, loose bolted connections, general wall buckling or an unstable foundation.

It can also identify material buildup issues through a thorough inspection of the walls. Silo owners who neglect their yearly inspections or cannot clean their silos once they have been established may find that their property suffers from a host of different problems, such as improper weight distribution, poor ceiling stability, moisture build-up because of insufficient cleaning and condensation on the roof and flooring, sagging chimneys and leaks. While we can correct many of these issues through the addition of new flashing, waterproofing, coatings or other protection, I will only reveal most of these potential problems with regular cleaning.

silo inspections

Understand the manufacturing of the silos

When silos are built, there are usually a concrete foundation and a wooden frame at the top. I designed these structures to withstand the rigors of the environment, however, when silos are stored over time, they can begin to weaken and become in need of additional support. This can occur for several reasons, from improper construction to a lack of space at the bottom of the silo. If your silo experiences any of these issues, it is important to address these issues before they cause the structure to collapse.

The inspection of silos should include an evaluation of all equipment, and machinery within the structure. They should inspect every inch of the silo, including any mechanical components such as access points, doors, windows and gates. Besides the mechanical components, every inch of the interior of the silo should be considered, from the floor to the ceiling. We should also test the interior for water intrusion, as well as any other threats to the integrity of the structure.

If the inspection reveals that there are issues with the equipment or mechanical components, there should be a thorough investigation as to the cause of the issue. This would include draining any standing water, whether by accident or intentionally. Professional cleaning services can easily accomplish this task, saving the company money in the long run. The purpose of the periodic inspections is to prevent potential issues from occurring, which can probably harm the surrounding environment. It is always important to remember that prevention is always better than cure. If you are looking for silo inspection services, then you can check out websites like infrastructurepc.com.

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