Wednesday August 18 2021
Silos are designed to store bulk materials and keep them secure and away from the elements. They are used in a range of industries to store many different types of material.
The size and shape of a silo is generally dictated by the type of industry it is employed in and the type, weight and size of the contents.
Agriculture, construction, food manufacturing and chemicals are the sectors where silos are most commonly used due to the amount of bulk raw materials needed by businesses in these industries.
In this article, we take a close look at each.
There are many areas in farming where silos are the preferred storage solution.
On livestock farms, they are commonly used to store feed concentrates for cattle and sheep, pigs and poultry, and are then customised to fit seamlessly into a farmer’s feeding system.
For example, in dairy farming, a popular set up is having cake (pelleted concentrate) transported from the silo through a feeding system to the parlour using an auger as this is a very efficient way to feed.
A set up like this not only keeps the contents clean and extends their life, it is highly efficient for the farmer and keeps valuable feed away from pests such as rats or birds.
Silos are also popular with poultry farmers who use them to store chicken feed and bedding. As with dairy cattle, the silo can be tailored to a feeding system to maximise the efficiency of a farm business.
As well as livestock farming, arable farmers also utilise silos extensively, as grain stores. Grain silos tend to be much larger than those used to house animal feed and grain can be stored for long periods of time in well managed silos.
Storing grain in this way ensures that there is no transfer of materials that affect the taste of the product. Also, by having the product in a sealed container, there is no need to fumigate it, which reduces the use of chemical preservatives.
Silos are also an efficient and useful option for larger farms for storing fertiliser. Often, fertiliser is simply stored in bags, but these can become exposed to the weather or tear which results in a loss of product. By storing fertiliser in a silo, not only is the product kept secure and dry, the farmer can measure exactly how much they need to dispense and how much they have left, leading to efficient reordering and less wastage.
Silos are used extensively in the construction industry to store a range of materials needed to build houses and commercial buildings. Their use reduces the number of vehicle movements on site, making the construction site safer, and with the relevant silo management system in place such as MySilo, they bring tremendous efficiencies to the site operations.
The most common material construction site silos are used to store is cement. It is essential that cement is protected from the elements because if it is exposed to liquid, it will solidify and become extremely hard to remove. Storing this in a silo not only means the amount of cement on site can be effectively monitored, it also prevents contamination by rain water or any other materials.
Sand is another material commonly stored silos on construction sites. Doing this prevents it from being blown away by strong winds and protects it from rain. This is important because dry sand is far easier to manage than wet sand, and mixes with cement powder more easily.
Coal ash is often stored in silos as it is vitally important it is kept dry, otherwise it won’t function as required.
The food industry is another sector where silos are extensively used due to the high levels of hygiene required, and the number of different ingredients food manufacturers require.
Often, large-scale manufacturers use huge silos, some capable of containing thousands of tons of ingredients, all waiting to go into production to become the foods we know and love.
Silos used in the food industry are usually custom-built for a specific purpose and ingredient, and are not generally used for any other types of food stuff.
Food manufacturers have to be extremely precise in how they measure the contents of their silos to ensure they use exactly the right amount of ingredients in their recipes, as well as knowing when to reorder ingredients so production can continue. This can be effectively facilitated by systems such as MySilo.
Flour, sugarandsaltare commonly stored in metal silos as it is important these ingredients do not become contaminated with anything, particularly moisture. Such silos are also temperature controlled, ensuring ingredients are stored in the optimum conditions to keep them fresher for longer.
Metal silos do not affect the flavour of the ingredients in any way, which is another advantage of using them.
Other raw materials kept in silos include meat, fish mealand milk. Silos used to store such ingredients tend to be custom built as the environment in which the products are kept must be closely controlled. The climate, moisture levels and a range of other environmental factors are continually monitored to ensure they are kept within tight parameters so that the products within do not spoil. Such silos also have to be extremely secure, ensuring no cross contamination between ingredients can take place.
By having silos in the food production line, food manufacturers utilise space in the most efficient and effective way. They also enable raw materials to be tracked and traced throughout the entire production process, which is essential when dealing with food for human consumption.
Continual monitoring also means manufacturers always know when they need to buy in more raw materials, so production should never cease due to a lack of ingredients.
Safely storing hazardous and unstable substances has always been a challenge for the chemical industry. To meet this challenge, most companies invest in large, custom-built silos that ensure no leaks or slippages can occur.
Common chemicals stored in silos include carbon black, activated carbon, calcined petroleum coke and aluminium oxide, although almost every type of chemical has been stored in a silo at some point or other.
Well built, well managed silos provide a very safe way to store hazardous substances for long periods of time, which make them the best solutions for protecting the people working with and around such chemicals.
Whatever is being stored in a silo, one thing that they all need is an effective monitoring system that enables the operator to quickly and accurately assess the level of content inside and then reorder product in sufficient time to ensure operations can continue uninterrupted.
MySilo is an online portal that allows you to monitor the amount of material in one or multiple silos remotely to better track when they need to be refilled.
It brings significant efficiencies to a business by enabling silo operators and business managers to be in complete control of their silo levels, making for better forecasting, less deliveries and less vehicle movements on site.
Silo operators, other relevant staff and even suppliers can sign into the portal to check levels and ensure there is enough material to keep all projects ongoing.
It can also be set to send customisable notifications by text or email and online when re-ordering needs to take place.
MySilo enables companies to safely record data and measure contents without having to check it manually. The inventory data recorded by the sensors enables operators and managers to make more informed and accurate decisions, as they are able to plan the projects easily through real time monitoring.
To find out more about MySilo, get in touch.