One Secret Silo Design Tip Overcome Space Limitations

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Making more dough while spending less “dough” — in so many words this is the goal of growing manufacturers in the ingredient-handling industry. A common issue businesses have run into in recent years is a limitation of space in relation to their business objectives. Operational efficiencies allow for plants to produce more but there is still only so much space a plant can operate in. In response to this, we've developed a unique silo design method that allows plants to overcome limited space, while still remaining within their current equipment set up.

The operational longevity and sheer growth of a company depend on that company being able to make large amounts of product (enough to gain a profit) while avoiding costly decisions and unnecessary purchases along the way. When it comes to capital equipment (and especially silos), investing in an entirely new unit is a decision that isn’t taken lightly and with good reason. 

We have featured blog articles pertaining to the cost of cyclone screeners, bulk bag unloaders and even how to ascertain the right moment for a manufacturer to upgrade their material unloading capabilities, and today we’d like to speak to a silo-related setup that can wind up saving a company exponentially (under the right conditions). 

In this AZO blog post, we’ll describe a unique setup for silos that might solve some pertinent questions surrounding the desire for a company to grow and the requirement to adhere to a budget (one that isn’t exactly flexible enough for the purchase of a new silo just yet). First, we’ll detail the specific problem companies can look to solve by implementing this specific method.

The problem: Plant aspirations clashing with space limitations

Let’s say that you want to manufacture much more product than you do currently, but simply do not have space for a new silo. Theoretically, if you did have that kind of space, large amounts of your separate ingredients could all meet at respective receivers to then be put in the same mixer. 

Still, through that method, you are required to have multiple receivers and multiple silos — all taking up valuable floor space and all coming with their own respective price tags to boot. What is the cheaper and more cost-effective solution? How can you enjoy the best of both worlds?

One clever solution: Dosing screws attached to separate lines

In order to circumnavigate the cost of an entirely new silo (and avoid making room for one), AZO is familiar with a method that utilizes multiple dosing screws. Essentially, while feeding devices like rotary valves only have one single outlet, dosing screws can have multiple. This means that you can feed two or even three lines out of a single silo and therefore send the same ingredient in separate directions to multiple mixers. 

Ultimately, this kind of feed control comes at a large fraction of the cost for a new silo and also the cost for installing a new silo (not to mention building a structure to support one). Through this method, there is ultimately less invested in capital equipment and not nearly as many headaches during the set-up of what you do need to include. 

As a result, growing as a company becomes much more attainable when compared to saving up for an entirely new silo. This is typically a more achievable method for gradual growth. Still, there are some considerations to account for. 

Further considerations for this silo set-up

Let’s recap: the addition of multiple dosing screws beneath the vibration bottom (VB) of a singular silo can feed the same ingredient to multiple mixers. If not an entirely new silo, then what pieces of equipment do you need to take into account for this set-up? In order to pull this off, you would be required to buy another mixer (if you don’t have multiple already), but you would also need multiple convey lines and multiple receivers as well. Beyond accounting for what pales in comparison to the costs of implementing a separate silo, are there any other possible detractors? 

It is important to take note that now, with multiple mixers, refilling those mixers is a more frequent process. Properly planning for this change can keep it from unexpectedly eating into your worker’s time on the job, so speaking with engineers and sales representatives from whoever you do decide to help you achieve this kind of set-up is a smart move.

It’s also important to note that this option is not for everyone. Your discharge flange will need to be appropriately designed to meet the specifications of this set-up before pursuing this method. This setup does increase stack-up height as well. Simply put, there are specific setup requirements that should be consulted with a professional before pursuing this setup, but we have more than a few sales representatives at AZO ready to speak with (and more importantly listen to) various ingredient handlers about this unique setup as well as a host of other topics. 

Feel free to contact our team today in order to discuss any and all ingredient-handling-related queries you may have. We also have a few free guides available for download to help you navigate topics like pneumatic conveying, bulk bag unloading, screening and even how “hybrid” manufacturing operations are helping more than a few companies face economic uncertainties in the material handling world

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