Thursday, December 1, 2016

Steel Grain Bins: Construction

(Update: steel bins sometimes do collapse.  Big bins require big cranes. A 550t and 600t crane is used to install the conveyor that loads a new million bushel bin.)

I came across the following video on Facebook. Unfortunately, they don't mention how many bushels this bin can hold nor does their website.

They do provide a video that shows how the pad is built. I was surprised they didn't install an auger in the pad so that you can unload the bin from the center. This video shows a concrete pump in action.

Pouring an 82' pad  for a 78 foot bin. It says 200 bushel. It must mean 200k bushel. Again, it appears there is no auger from a central hole. That rules out being able to use a "sweep auger" to empty the bin.

I was hoping to find a list of bin sizes that Wall Grain sells. But they want me to contact their sales representative instead. That is not going to happen. They do make at least 108' diameter bins.

"How Farms Work" has a series of videos on the building of their 20k bushel bin. For example, building the roof. ("How Farms Work" is one of two farm channels I follow. "The Farming Life" is the other channel. When I did a search for the channel name, I happened to find a "tour" video, which was of interest to me. I do skip the tobacco farming videos.)

Sukup does provide dimensional data and bushel capacity. Evidently ASCE7-05 Code is a standard for bin designs and it specifies a snow load of 40 psf (pounds per square foot, I presume) and 90 mph winds. They distinguish between Farm Bins and Commercial Bins. Farm Bins are smaller and are designed to handle additional forces caused by drying (heated air circulation) and stirring the grain. Commercial Bins are designed to just store grain. Their biggest Farm Bin is 48' in diameter and 58'9" high with a max capacity of 73,711 bushels. Their biggest Commercial Bin is 156' in diameter and 123'3" high with a bushel capacity of 1,522,863. They also have Hopper Bins, but farmers use those for supplements rather than for bulk grain storage.

GSI characterizes its product line in terms of construction technique.
Sioux Steel has farm (max 48x37 or 60,690bu), farm/commercial (max 66x51 or 174,656bu), and commercial (max 132x77 or 1,022,336bu).

Sioux Commercial Features
Sioux makes a big deal about grain weights increasing "due to new hybrids and genetics. An average of 60 lb. per bushel corn, 60 lb. per bushel wheat and soybeans range in the 55 lb. to 60 lb. range." They have a 64lb/bu series and a new 70lb/bu series. [Sioux]

Brock also distinguishes between farm (max 54x30 or 65,879bu) and commercial. They have three series of commercial bins, of which the M series seems to have the biggest bin (max 156x70 or 1,338,574bu).

A formula for converting from dimensions to bushels is BU = 0.6288*D^2*H. [cropwatch] The actual figure is higher because that formula assumes the top of the grain pile is level. For a more accurate computation that includes the peak you have to specify the type of grain and its moisture content: bin calculator.

Of course, capacity doesn't mean anything until you see cost figures.


[bushels in a 3-bay covered hopper]

It turns out this video is a compilation of "farm equipment fails." But this was the "click bate" picture and I though it was a neat demonstration of the strength of steel bins. I assume it is full and that is where much of the strength comes from. This is also a good demonstration that when you are backing up, you should be looking backwards!

While studying covered hoppers for grain hauling, I learned that wheat is heavier than corn. "Wheat tares out and cubes out in a 4750 cube, 286K Trinity car, whereas corn tares out and cubes out in a 5161 cube, 286K Trinity car. There are some 4750 cube 286K Trinity cars out there in the fleets, but they're a definite minority." [Trains20090310, msg Railway Man] The industry switched to the bigger cars for standardization and only partially fills them when carrying wheat.

The steel bin collapses even though it was only partially full. The article says "elevator" when it should say "bin." I wonder if this was "first fill." I also wonder how windy it was at the time of the collapse.

35,000 tons is 1.25 million bushels of corn.

The Farmer's Life posted three photos of the construction of a new bin with the comment:
Bin progress. A few more rings taller on this one yet. Third pic is the jacks inside that lift it to add the next ring. Bins are built from the top down and lifted as you go.
1, cropped


The Farmer's Life posted
Take two!
The Farmer's Life 22,000 each
The Farmer's Life The other bin will attach to that same platform at the top. Two bins, one stairs.
[First bin is done and they are starting the second one that he is building this year.[
Big bins need a big crane:
Chad McComas posted
JJ Curran and their GMK6400 setting a 42,000lbs drag conveyor in Jeddo, Mi.
[Instead of using ropes to guide the load, it looks like they are using a manlift on each end. Both lifts have a very high center of gravity compared to the size of their platform. I'm glad I'm not up there. Also, there are a couple of workers "riding" the load.]
Redfield LLC posted nine photos with the comment:
Happy Monday! Sharing some pics from a job we’re working on in Iowa. This job is tied for the largest constructed grain bin in the USA. 4th of its size. 156’ diameter. They call it the “2 million bushel bin”. Go BIG or go home right?!
UPDATE: Despite the 100 degree heat index they finished the pour! That’s 578 yards today folks!
Homeland energy solutions LLC
Brenda Raffelson Where in Iowa?
Jessica Rodeberg Brenda Raffelson Lawler, Iowa.
Michael Krambeer Is that at Homeland Ethanol?
Redfield LLC Michael Krambeer yes it is!








[This image is already two bins behind.]

Redfield LLC posted
Despite the heat, progress continues on the job in Lawler, Iowa. Yesterday with a heat index of 105 degrees the ring walls were poured!

Three years of bumper crops is making a market for some serious grain storage. They are calling the big ones 2 million bushels, but one of the comments on the sixth photo in an album of 15 photos indicated that they are severely rounding up because he computed the capacity from the bin's dimensions and got 1.63m bushels. Below is a photo comment on that 6th photo.
Sukup Manufacturing Co. Perspective can be deceiving! Here is a picture of the first pair of 156' bins we manufactured next to two 105' bins. These ones were only 24 rings tall, 1.5 M bushels.
Comments on the eighth photo:
Chad Stessman-Riesenberg Question... so the first 100000 bushel that falls from the top of the bin, wouldn't it be destroyed after it falls 150' and hit concrete? Just asking
Tony Eickman I wondered about that too. I wonder if they use something like bean scoops in the middle of the bin.

I got the album link from a Facebook posting that commented: "To put this project in perspective I’d be able to fill one of those after 6-7 years of crops planted and harvested." And I think he has a big farm.
Jacob Bell It would take us 40 years to fill just one with corn. That’s a big bin.

Another way to put the capacity of this bin in perspective is that a Calumet River ship loading elevator held just 1 million bushels.

Sukup Manufacturing Co. posted
Huge news…
Sukup has designed and manufactured the largest free span grain bin in the world (again)!
165’ diameter
2.2 million bushels
30 rings
155’7” peak height
“Sukup constantly strives push the boundaries of innovation, while maintaining the excellent customer service and high quality that the agriculture industry has come to expect of us as a family-owned company,” said Steve Sukup, President and CEO of Sukup Manufacturing. “We are thrilled to again have achieved the mile stone of designing and manufacturing the largest freestanding grain bin in the world.”
Celebrated at the recent groundbreaking ceremony at
Golden Grain Energy, LLC
with partners in the project
Buresh Building Systems, Inc.
and McGough & Company
More information here:
[The bin will hold 2.2. million bushels. The comments indicate that around 45 truck loads will be needed to deliver the materials and it can hold the contents of 2,500 grain trucks.]
Steve Nichols shared
It’s going to be something when this thing unzips.

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