Silos were invented back in 1873 and they’re still just as useful today. Without them, modern farmers wouldn’t be able to store the quantities of grain required to meet constantly rising food demand, and packaging and shipping what grain products are produced would be much more difficult.
Despite their popularity and convenience, grain silos do have one potential drawback. As farmers add new grain to the top of their reserves, it releases dust particles and other residue and allows them to adhere to the sides of the silo. Because these particles can become a breeding ground for bacteria, removing the residue is very much a necessity. Read on to find out how to do so effectively and efficiently.
One of the most popular ways of cleaning your silo involves using what’s known as a hydraulic whipset. Also referred to as binwhips, these cleaning tools feature two sets of chains, which can be made from steel, bronze, or nylon rope, that spin in opposite directions to generate counter-rotational force. The operator can drop the binwhip into the silo without having to enter it, which helps to improve safety, and the two sets of chains both stabilize the equipment and help to shear off hung-up material.
Pneumatic cleaning involves applying high-pressure air from the top or bottom of the silo to clean its walls. Air cannons are the most popular form of high-pressure air cleaning since they can be applied from the bottom of the silo and run by just a few people. However, they won’t always be able to cover every part of the silo’s interior, so there may be some residue leftover that will have to be cleaned by hand or using other methods.
Vibration cleaning involves applying pads in and around a silo then using them to generate high-frequency noise that creates powerful vibrations and loosens particles attached to the sides of the silo. The frequencies used for vibration cleaning vary from 1 to 50 Hz, so it’s important to choose the right one since applying vibration at too high of a frequency can cause structural damage. When performed correctly, this technique is both safe and effective.
While vibration cleaning uses high-frequency sound waves, acoustic cleaning uses much lower-frequently sound waves, usually well below 40 Hz. To work well, acoustic cleaning must be performed over a long period. It may also be necessary to combine acoustic cleaning with the vibration cleaning methods by applying higher frequencies to address hard-to-release debris.
Why Can’t Silos Be Cleaned By Hand?
Before the development of the more advanced, entry-free cleaning methods described above, farmers had to enter silos to clean the walls. Unfortunately, this created dangerous situations for the workers tasked with silo cleaning. They were exposed to potentially lethal hazards such as silo gas and almost always experienced respiratory distress as a result of dust inhalation. Though some cleaning methods still involve entering silos to remove particularly stubborn materials, workers are now provided with personal protective equipment and are only asked to enter silos after another cleaning method has been used.
Don’t Put Off Silo Cleaning
Farmers shouldn’t put off silo cleaning. The process doesn’t just remove buildup from the walls. It also helps to recover lost materials, improve safety, extend the lifespan of the silo, and avoid costly blockages. It’s worth investing in and using high-quality silo cleaning equipment and learning how to use it.