Silo Inspection: What Professional Inspectors Check For


Preventive maintenance and care is the most effective method of ensuring the structural integrity of concrete and steel silos. To extend the life of your silo and uphold the safety of people working around it, it is critical to implement a proactive inspection program. 

During a regular inspection, a professional engineer experienced in silo design will examine the exterior of the silo with both their naked eye and binoculars to assess its condition. On more detailed inspection the engineer will “sound” the wall at various points to determine its condition. A “dead” or muffled sound is detected during this audio portion of the examination, suggesting delamination in certain areas. If there are any especially troublesome regions, the engineer may decide to extract a core sample to conduct an in-depth examination along with the layers. 

If you’re wondering what potential problems silo inspections may uncover, here are a few of the most common examples:

Problems with the Silo Cone

Silo cone failures are a common occurrence that may be readily avoided by performing regular inspections and maintenance. Cone inspections, in particular, should be left to the experts since the building, design, and usage of the silo must be taken into consideration. Along with this are the stored materials, current best practices, and material flow. When a professional inspection is performed, inspectors may do thickness testing and detect possible problems with current cone designs. 

The design and construction of the cone have an impact on the safety and performance of the silo.  Each type of cone and cone support needs to be reviewed and verified.  A few cone supports have proven to be ineffective over time and could possibly need to be fixed to avoid failures. 

Roof Problems Due to Structural Failure

A silo roof’s structural integrity can be jeopardized by a number of problems, such as the exceeding of maximum capacity,. It is also possible for structural failure to damage roof beams or roof beam pockets, which a specialist should examine.  Damage to roof beam pockets is very common on older silos. 

Problems with Material Flow

The accumulation of material in the silo implies ratholing and, possibly, asymmetric flow, both of which may result in increased pressure loads within the silo’s walls. Because of the weight accumulation in the silo, the loads associated with the asymmetric flow may be harmful to the structural integrity of the silo, as they can cause wall collapse and complete silo failure when there is a buildup. Any modifications made to the silo equipment since the original construction can also affect the silo and cause issues that were not accounted for in the original silo design.

Final Thoughts

Regular silo inspections and cleanings are equally important components of your overall maintenance program, just as they are for routine silo inspections. Cleaning your silo regularly may assist in keeping it running effectively and reduce the risk of possible liabilities. Regular cleanings may also help extend the usable life of your silo and reduce the need for costly repairs and cleanings in the future. While silos emptied and refilled regularly may not have the same accumulation problems as silos maintained topped up, any silo can benefit from a regular cleaning program. 

If you are looking for reliable silo contractors that provides experienced silo inspection and repair, Borton is an excellent option. We offer a variety of products and designs like concrete silo design, silo repair, and more. Request an estimate from us today, and let us perform your next inspection!

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