Without engineering experience and expertise, silos are only bent sheet. Engineering is the key when transforming grain terminals into perpetual motion microcosms.

According to official estimates, about one third of the grain produced for food purposes is lost during post-harvest processes such as storing, drying, cleaning or milling. This corresponds to approximately 1.3 billion tonnes with a value of US$1 trillion per year, as Deepak Kumar and Prasanta Kalita summarised in their report in the "Foods" magazine 6 (1) 2017. Inappropriate storage contributes considerable to these losses.

In addition, not only grain is lost, but also return on investment diminishes when the scope of investment is short-sighted planned and engineered, neglecting subsequent costs of a plant.

"The scope is the project engineering and not the single components", says Luca Celeghini, CEO of PETKUS Engineering GmbH. "It includes evaluation of the soil conditions and the possible load capacity and thus, issues with regard to foundation; it also includes seismic area evaluation and calculation as well as layout and design optimisation. Proper understanding of customer needs leads to choosing the appropriate components and technologies which best fits their requirements."

Therefore, the PETKUS Group has a silo solution claim. "This claim in combination with elaborate customer approaches turn simple technology into charming offers", says Celeghini.

Is a grain terminal more than silos, conveyors and cleaners? Indeed, it is a network of know-how, precision engineering, customised design and high-quality technology. A fact that has been clearly recognised by leading food processing companies which take special care on grain quality and food safety. That is one of the reasons, the Spanish silo systems" manufacturer Simeza, a member of the PETKUS Group, has established itself as a reliable partner in the international food processing market.

To connect the grain storage division with the commodity grain processing plant is not like a plug and a socket. There is no DIN norm for smooth transfer unless the experience of the engineers know the tricky details. Some companies tend to choose an all-in-one-hand provider for their commodity grain processing plant. But both divisions, storage and processing, have different premises. The question is whether you pick the cherries or you pick a cherry and a withered sour cherry – to go for two expert providers or a one-hand provider? The cherry for silo plants is Simeza. The company offers a combination of professional engineering and product quality.

Several large international projects in the area of commodity grain processing were done recently, showing the increasing trust of millers or brewers. Bakexs Millers Ltd., a leader in flour milling in East Africa and based in Kenya, expanded its silo plant for wheat in large scale with SIMEZA. Five flat bottom silos with a total storage capacity of app. 18,000 t with a volume of 23,000 m³ and an intake capacity of 80 t/h were built including all necessary accessories. Whereas the storage facility was entirely designed, engineered, delivered and commissioned by Simeza, the mill plant itself was done by a large Swiss milling technology company.

In addition, La Zaragozana S.A., a leader for brewery plants in West Europe and based in Spain, has awarded the expansion of a storage silo plant for malt, broken corn and rice in a design of growth which sees qualified supplier for other parts of the plant. 10 galvanised corrugated hopper silos with app. 3,400 t storage capacity and a volume of 5,000 m³ were built. The complexity of storing different products, loading and unloading logistics as well as preserving and retracing product quality has to be well understood and thus, engineered by the experts.


by Dr Heike Knoerzer, Head of Knowledge Management, Petkus, Germany

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