Can thinking smart beat thinking big? TSC’S square silos around the world
by Vaughn Entwistle, Managing Editor, Milling and Grain
Top Silo Constructions (TSC) is a Dutch company which supplies and installs silos for both feed and food supply chains. On July 7th, 2020, they hosted a twenty-minute webinar entitled 'Storage: Can thinking smart beat thinking big?' The webinar was hosted by Lars Oostveen who explained that storage is a fundamental and necessary part of any food or feed mill.
Approaches to storage planning
The webinar provided practical examples of how a thoughtful, reasoned approach to storage design provides a more flexible approach to storage planning and produces more economical and efficient results that also allow for future expansion.
The first example involved a case study of a Klaramill, a Dutch veal producer that operates its own feed mill using TSC square silos in its design. Rober-Jan Klaranbeek of Klaramill explains that veal is a premium product and customers expect that feed will likewise include premium ingredients. Customers expect their veal to be a pure white colour. If there is any dust in the feed silo it can affect the colour of the veal and make it less than pure white.
Therefore, dust prevention in the feed silo is very important. Preventing dust in the silo requires precision building as Sven Konings, Commercial Manager at TSC, explains,
'TSC is very accurate in building silos which provides a good connection between silo walls and floors, as it prevents dust from accumulating on floors.'
The advantages of square silos
The webinar continued by exploring the advantages of square bins versus round silos for both feed and food. While storage has always been about maximising storage volume for the minimum cost in the feed and food processing industry, recent trends and world events have reinforced the importance of efficient storage.
TSC specialises in square silo systems to customers around the world. Their square silo designs provide numerous advantages: modular, integrated, efficient, versatile, hygienic and, of increasing importance in our uncertain times, flexibility. In the case of feed deliveries, the square design's space efficiency, allowing square units to be concentrated on a small footprint, maximises land use.
Swiss experience of smooth-sided silos
Christian Lütolf, Manager of Firma Lütolf A.G. Switzerland provided another practical example of the advantages of TSC's modular design utilising square smooth-sided silos. This Swiss company supplies raw materials for the food and feed industry. They began with single concrete silo back in the 1970s. In 1990, they added a silo for grains. In 2020, the company purchased a huge TSC steel silo block with 31 large cells and a number of smaller cells for small batches. The smooth-sided silo block is used for difficult flowing products where output capacity is important.
Lütolf explained that he chose to work with TSC for a number of reasons, 'Flexibility is important to our business because our different customers have different requirements. We chose to go with TSC because we enjoyed working with them and they offered the best combination of experience, advice, and the best price.'
Contractor's choose TSC for many reasons
Hans Olssen is an expert who designs storage systems across Sweden and Norway.
'The outlet interface must work smoothly with no interruptions,' Olssen explains. 'You need to have efficient flow out of the silo. Square silos can be built close together for the most efficient use of land. To decide on how much storage space is required is a key consideration. You must design the flow through the system during the design process. If you don't plan flow-through you might wind up with you have wrong shape of silo. Or maybe too many small silos. During the planning process we sit down with customers and talk about converter lines inside and out and remind them that they need to plan for the future. Planning can be difficult especially when it's a brand-new installation.'
The sentiment is echoed by TSC's Sven Konings. 'We place a huge emphasis on storage planning with our customers (whether contractors or the mill itself) to ensure they have the right system for their needs with the correct layout, capacity and compatibility with the products being stored.' He adds that because square silos are modular, they provide a flexible solution since they can easily be expanded to provide mill owners with added capacity. This 'buffer storage' mitigates against any disruption to the supply chain.
Supply chain disruption
Just how important this ability to flexibly add storage capacity was dramatically demonstrated recently, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. No one in the industry had foreseen a situation where it would be impossible to transport material between EU countries, but that exact scenario played out as borders were closed to prevent the spread of corona virus. Luckily, most places already had sufficient storage, but the prospect of unforeseen border closings in the future caused by coronavirus-like scenarios will likely be a factor when companies plan their storage capacity in the years going forward.
Q&A and final considerations
For the Q & A section of the webinar, the co-presenters were joined by Dennis Tijdink, Area Sales Manager of Ottevanger Milling Engineers for the Russian market. Dennis explained how regional considerations must also be taken into consideration when choosing the type of silo. Square silo blocks intended for countries like Switzerland must take into consideration their unique seismic requirements. Likewise, square silos perform well in extreme weather, such as ice and snow in countries like Russia, must also be taken into consideration. Snow and wind loads must be taken into consideration.
During the Q&A, someone asked if silos were only suitable for new installations? The reply was that they can be perfectly added to present installation. And when planning a new installation, it is helpful to try to keep one wall free to allow for future extensions.
That concluded the internet webinar, although the Q&A continued on social media with people emailing in their questions.