Build my Feed Mill 7: Storage solutions
by John Bowes, International Sales Director, Sukup Manufacturing Co
Founded in 1963, Sukup Manufacturing Co. is known worldwide for its impressive range of storage solutions for grain and other raw materials, including numerous sizes and designs of storage and hopper bins.
During my presentation at the Build my Feed Mill Conference at VIV Asia in March, I discussed these solutions and the different advantages of each one. There is certainly a great deal to consider when choosing the right storage solution for your facility. Conducting thorough research is crucial to finding the ideal solution for your needs.
Silos, bins and hoppers- Which to choose?
Those searching for an optimal storage solution must first know the essential differences between silos, hoppers and grain bins. They might look somewhat similar, but there are crucial differences that can determine their effectiveness for your facility.
Silos are usually recognized by their tall, slender shape and usually feature a domed roof. Silos can be used to store grain, coal, silage, sawdust and woodchips, among other materials.
Bins are often considered better solutions for feed when compared to silos. Bins are generally shorter and wider than silos. Bins are typically a good choice for storing a large amount of raw material safely. Over the past few years, Sukup has expanded its product range to include bins that store very large quantities of materials.
Bins are also better suited to storing powders, soybeans, shelled corn, oats and a variety of seeds. As shorter structures, bins are often a lot safer than silos for workers to check and maintain contents and the structure itself.
Hoppers are generally smaller structures that are designed for easy unloading into conveyors or into truck or rail cars. If your facility has minimal space and there is a need to unload materials with ease and speed, hopper bins are ideal solutions.
Sukup offers a variety of commercial bins for customers to safely store large quantities of raw materials. Commercial bins are available in sizes up to 156 feet in diameter. These are currently the largest free-span bins in the world, with capacity of up to two million bushels.
A one-million-bushel bin is also available. It is135 feet in diameter. Both the 156-foot and 135-foot bins are equipped with flat decking at the peak for mounting of catwalks and conveyors and for improved safety when servicing the bin.
Sukup commercial bins use double-ended stud bolts to eliminate water infiltration between layers of laminated sidewall sheets. They keep grain dry better than traditional fasteners.
Bin bolts come in a variety of sizes and qualities, graded from 2 upwards. The higher the grade, the better the bolt. Sukup commercial bins use Grade 8.0 bolts, with a tensile strength of 150,000 pounds per square inch (psi) and yield strength of 130,000 psi.
It is also worth studying the psi of stiffeners used in commercial bins. Not all stiffeners are alike. Standard Sukup stiffeners are made of at least 70,000psi tensile strength galvanized steel. Wind rings are used to provide improved rigidity to the exterior frame.
Sukup offers hopper bins in a variety of sizes and strengths. There are two categories, medium-duty and heavy-duty. Constructed with galvanized steel, wide corrugations and extra-strong stiffeners, hopper bins are excellent for storing smaller quantities of raw materials weighing up to 52 lbs. per ft3.
A crucial feature of hopper bins is the legs used to support the structure. Sukup medium duty hopper bins of 12-, 15- and 18-foot diameter have three support legs per sidewall sheet, while the 21-foot models have four legs per sheet. Sukup hopper bins can be mounted on substructures for easy loading of trucks or train cars. Substructures are customized depending on the size of the hopper bin and unique characteristics of the site, but as standard come with bases starting at 70,000psi tensile strength steel.
Keeping safe while checking and maintaining product
The best storage solutions are ones that allow users to easily check and maintain their stored materials. Bins should be cleaned out annually to remove build-up of residue and should be checked for any potential problems in the materials.
Sukup prioritizes ease of maintenance and checking of materials. There are various storage options available to ensure clients can easily check and maintain their stored goods. Bins are equipped with ladders as standard equipment. Ladders are securely fastened to bins, with rounded rails and rungs to limit injuries from sharp edges. Cages and landing platforms on outside ladders provide added safety. Stairs are another option.
Doors are an essential feature of any commercial bin. Sukup offer two standard sizes of bin doors, 44-inch and 66-inch, but doors big enough for a small loader are also available. Outer 'skins' of 44-inch and 66-inch doors feature reversible hinges that allow the doors to open either to the left or right depending on what is best for the site.
A bin roof can be potentially dangerous to climb up, but sometimes it's necessary in order to conduct thorough cleaning or to check on the material inside. Sukup bin roofs are designed with user safety as the top priority.