For any silo owner, a silo inspection is a very important process. It is an essential part of protecting your investment and prolonging the life of your silo. A major part of an inspection is the visual inspection. A quality silo inspection will typically consist of two phases. The first is a visual examination of all areas of the silo, and the second is an inspection of the interior of the silo.
Benefits of a Silo Inspection
There are many benefits of having these inspections. A quality silo inspection will detect any issues with the structure, including any structural issues that could pose a hazard to the public if left unchecked. A qualified silo inspection can also help thwart such occurrences as silo fires. A thorough silo inspection also includes up-close visual inspection of selected areas of the silo wall with magnification and/or binoculars from the ground or other near-by structures.
Silos are designed to be durable and withstand the test of time. Unfortunately, there are a number of factors that contribute to a greater risk of damage or deterioration to these highly valuable structures. The most common factor in the overall deterioration of industrial silos is poor maintenance. Industrial silos that have been neglected are more prone to elemental corrosion, moisture infiltration, and accelerated deterioration due to the passage of time. As you may, or may not know, silos built before 1960 typically have a higher percentage of structural deterioration compared to those constructed recently.
How an inspection could save major deterioration to your Silo?
In addition to structural deterioration, a silo inspection also identifies possible material build-up. Inland or on-site concrete silos are most susceptible to material build-up as these areas usually contain the most weight. Any material build-up can compromise the stability of a silo and increase the amount of stress placed on the structure. It can also cause the roof to sag or cave in. It has been determined that poor roofing design can be one of the leading causes for silo failure, so it is recommended that you perform periodic inspections.
Poorly maintained concrete areas are more likely to cave in or collapse due to weather conditions, earthquakes, and shifts in the earth’s surface. The silos located in earthquake-prone regions or areas that experience significant water movement are especially at risk due to the higher potential for internal migration of liquids. Silos are commonly positioned under high pressure areas such as in on-site concrete plants or in saltwater piers that experience high subsidence rates.
In order to identify problems with your silos prior to their scheduled inspection or when you first notice signs of wear or structural integrity issues, a structural silo inspection is the best option. Silos inspected after they have reached the expected life expectancy will most likely need to be replaced. If you are not planning to replace your existing silos, it is recommended that you schedule annual inspections to detect problems before they become significant enough to eliminate the possibility of purchasing new silos. If your structures need to be replaced, you should schedule a structural integrity examination for each individual silo to determine if the equipment model needs to be replaced, if any structural integrity concerns should be addressed, or if there may be other areas of concern.
The reason behind pacing the Silo below ground level
Many silos are positioned below ground level and are usually surrounded by a fence, which can cause many unexpected problems during an inspection. Silo inspections should be performed around the perimeter of all stacked silos, but also at ground level. This will give you a better view of any voids or void areas in the interior of the structure. This will help you determine where any leaking silos may be located.
A qualified structural engineer with experience in evaluating and diagnosing confined space applications can make a valuable part of your team when managing a silo maintenance schedule. You will be able to maintain the best inventory levels by making sure that you are regularly reviewing the status of your silos and have the necessary tools to address any issues as soon as they arise. By avoiding costly mistakes and allowing your qualified engineers to handle the evaluation of your confined space equipment you will be increasing your company’s operational efficiency and reducing your risk to your operational cost budget. One can hire inspectional firms like infrastructurepc.com for a great inspection to their silos.