Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Steel Grain Bins: vs. Concrete Silos

See Steel Grain Bin Construction for the evolution of the "world's largest."

G3 photo from manitobacooperator from a posting
A rendering of what G3’s proposed Vancouver grain terminal on the north shore of Burrard Inlet, will look like, if the project goes ahead.
Since all of the big grain elevators I have seen have added steel bins to their concrete silo core, I had assumed that steel bins have made slip-form concrete silos obsolete. But I see above that for green-field construction of big elevators, concrete silos are still used sometimes.

I came across an example of concrete silos also being used for an expansion. Joe Harker posted photos of assembling the tower crane in anticipation of starting the slip operation.







A Flickr photo of a TP&W train reminded me that most grain elevators now grow their capacity by adding steel bins. You have to look carefully at the bottom of the satellite view to see that this elevator did start out with concrete silos. (I wonder what the pipe at the end of the left line of bins is for.) A street view shows the silos are taller, but can't compete on diameter.
Street View
Another street view shows that even the concrete part has gone through phases of growth before steel bin technology was developed well enough that it could be used for commercial elevators.
Street View
Note there is a stub track on which they park their own switcher that is on the right in the image.

I wonder how strong a tornado is needed to destroy an elevator made with concrete. (I assume the slip form silos used reinforcement bars.) On the other hand, concrete silos with head houses can be damaged by grain dust explosions.

Pathway Family Farms posted two photos with the comment: "Thank you to everyone for your support and prayers following the tornado. We are working on plans to rebuild our grain bin system."
Christopher Vermillion We had something similar happen to us on the farm last March. Completely destroyed our half million bushel grain setup including 3 legs, 7 bins, our overheads, the roof on our machine shed and damaged our farm shop.
Travis Bahan I had an insurance agent once ask me what are the odds of loosing all my bins at once 😳😳😳
[Another comment raised the issue of how much corn got blown away after the bins were compromised. It is interesting to note that the liquid storage tanks look intact. Of course, the contents might be much more toxic than corn so they are probably made stronger. It looks like the big bin may have protected the dryer. I hope the bin tops did not cause damage somewhere else. Fortunately, there is a lot of fields downwind of here for the steel to safely fall back to earth.]

And that was a recently built complex! Bing's satellite view shows a bare field.

Google's 2012 street views have just the leg, dryer, one supplement bin and one corn bin. There are no liquid storage tanks.
Google's satellite view looks recent.
Sue Lani Madsen / The Spokesman-Review
"Sue Lani Madsen, a freelance columnist with The Spokesman-Review, said trains were slowing to a crawl as they passed through Edwall, likely out of concern of the next bin over that was hit top and bottom in the collapse."
[The track that is bent is a siding. The mainline track is OK. The article does not mention a storm or high winds.]
KFGO 790 AM posted
South of Breckenridge...aerial views of storm damage at the grain elevator in Tenney, Minn.
Doug Ellingson The cement one is still standing you get what you pay for
[But so are the steel bins next to them.  It think it is more a demonstration of how fickle tornado winds can be. Note that the bins appear to be about 7/8 empty. That would be about right for June.  Satellite. This town used to have three streets of houses. Now it has almost no houses. A vivid illustration of how big tractors and combines can devastate the population of rural towns.]
[KFGO news article. The fall protector indicates it is still rail served and the article indicates it is CP track.]
Charles Jonutis posted
It's strange when you get tornadic winds empty grain bins collapse inward as pictured.
My neighbor was very unlucky with his grain bins.There were 10 in a row.
Year one-most were damaged as shown.
Year two-all were damaged or totally blown away.
Two big sheds suffered same fate.
Mother nature had her way.D Earl Graham interior sucktion failure ........... tornado sucked all the air out of it ..

Bradley Williams commented on the above posting
Rural American History Captured shared
Grain Elevators of North America shared
Seed Consultants posted
Collapsed bin in New Carlisle, Ohio spills 10,000 tons of corn onto State Route 571.
Jerry Elder Lol about 375,000 bu [That doesn't strike me as a "laughing out loud."]
Jenny Bunch Just a block from our home! It's created a lot of excitement around here but at least no one got hurt. So sorry for the owners and those involved.
[3D Satellite I don't see any side streets for the OH-571 traffic to take around that pile. More pictures are in Bin Collapse.]

I had saved a video of an auxiliary bin collapsing at a grain elevator. But when I went to add it to this post, it had been removed.

(new window)

(new window) This is a failure mode of grain storage of which I was not aware.

Edward Duke shared NebraskaTV
Mark Olson Actually around here in corn country - they pile a lot of it outside on purpose when the harvest is going strong - you don't want to know what they do to your food before you get it. I am sure they will salvage 90% of that. What they can't salvage for human will go to animal feed. http://www.agriculture.com/.../tempary-grain-stage...
[The railroad locomotive industry discovered that 6000hp was too much and backed off to 4400hp. Maybe a million bushels is too much for steel.]
(new window) (source)

A video of a broken bin eventually playing dominoes with other bins.
Steve Sillers Whoever built this failed epicly...notice the wall stiffiners only go as high as the break? Notice the bins in the background have stiffiners going allllll the way to the roof? Nothing to to with failed bolts or weak Chinese steal.

Nelson Welles Yea I'd say the bin was constructed wrong .. she settled and gave out at the top of the stiffeners.

Ben Eastley Many thickness of steel, when building a bin. I bet they used the lighter stuff in the wrong place.

Jacob Rohr Id say someone either got a defective box of bolts when it was built or THANKS CHINA FOR THAT HIGH QUALITY STEEL

Nathan Hampton I took this video. I guess they found it on YouTube. My account is grainbinboy.

And now for the other side of the debate, videos of a concrete silo cracking, breaking, and grain continuing to pour out. The largest concrete silo built during WWI, Concrete Central, held just 4.5 million bushels. [Wikipedia]

The surprise in Canyon, Texas, is how the Tillotson elevator survived a blowout
Actually, even steel bins are becoming obsolete. The Cargill elevator in Gilman, IL holds 8.5 million bushels. But about half of the storage capacity of that elevator is in the long building across the tracks.

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