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Whether silos are used for intermediate storage, bottleneck management, material blending or final product storage; their effective management is very important to ensure the smooth running of industrial processes.

This essentially because, silo material build-ups and other bulk storage vessels are prone to developing and accumulating dead material. Over time this may result in several challenges, including loss of capacity, system inventory discrepancies, fluctuations in material flow rates and complete system blockages.

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Below is a list of some simple yet critical points that may assist plant managers to effectively manage their silo systems and avoid the numerous inconveniences linked blockages and losses in silo capacity:

  • Ensure comprehensive material quality analysis is always done before loading material into silos.

  • Ensure that silo agitation systems use dry air; the use of root blowers as opposed to compressed air is strongly recommend.

  • Avoid overfilling standing silos; in fact, we recommend that a silo be emptied to less than 75% of its capacity if it is going to be left idle.

  • In the case of redundant silo systems, ensure regular rotations between vessels and avoid leaving any silo idle for too long.

  • Ensure that any openings (e.g. side doors, roof access) are always tightly sealed.

  • Closely monitor any cracks, and conduct proper root cause analysis.

  • Timeously attend to any issues at silo extraction points; blockages tend to be easier to address earlier.

  • Schedule regular silo operation procedure awareness and trainings for all users.

  • Completely empty silos at least once every three years to monitor build-up and recalibrate sensors.

  • Whenever possible have dedicated silos for different materials, should there be a need to load different material, ensure proper cleaning is done before new material is loaded.

  • Conduct regular silo system audits with reputable consultants to ensure that the system operates optimally and identify bottlenecks.

  • Establish proper silo cleaning schedules and ensure they are always adhered to.

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