Your plan to modify or upgrade a corrugated steel grain bin may have been born from good intentions, but it’s important you take the necessary steps to ensure all planned modifications don’t put your business and people’s lives in danger.
Before beginning any project that involves structural changes, equipment modifications or updates, always consult with the bin manufacturer first. Any and all proposed changes must be approved by the bin manufacturer before any cutting or alterations can take place. And it’s always a good idea to seek the advice and counsel of qualified licensed professionals. This is a job that should be left for the professionals.
Too often, our engineers are called out to investigate grain storage accidents resulting from improper structural modifications. It’s not uncommon to see these unsafe scenarios:
Scenario #1: A grain bin is modified with a side wall discharge outlet.
Problem: Due to the lack of flow baffles, grain movement creates eccentric pressure on bin walls resulting in sidewall failure and potential collapse.
Solution: Install sidewall discharges that contain the bin manufacturer’s designed flow baffles to properly channel the grain from the top of the pile to the discharge.
Scenario #2: A doorway is cut into the side of a steel bin to allow equipment access.
Problem: The new doorway compromises the bin’s hoop tension – making for an unsafe, unreliable structure. This leads to catastrophic failure, expensive downtime and potential for personnel injury.
Solution: Only install doorways in conjunction with the bin manufacturer or recommended professional engineer to ensure a safe and reliable grain storage structure.
Scenario #3: A state-of-the-art electrical motor is installed to accommodate the addition of a larger bucket elevator.
Problem: The electrical service and branch circuits are not adequate for carrying the added electrical load of the new motor and equipment.
Solution: While the addition of a larger electric motor appears to be a justified improvement, it’s important to first consult with the bin manufacturer and a professional electrician to review your facility’s entire electrical system.