Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Steel Grain Bins: vs. Concrete Silos

See Steel Grain Bin Construction for the evolution of the "world's largest." Steel Grain bins: Emptying has more information about steel bins.

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.
The first concrete bin was designed by Charles Haglin and built outside of Minneapolis, MN, in 1899. By 1899, wooden elevators were storing over a million bushes. [Facebook]

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.






Joe Harker now has several postings showing the progress of slip forming new elevators. I pick this one in particular because of the comments concerning safety.
Fifth photo posted by Joe Harker
Fromm foods, end of first shift
John Harker Using a concrete pump, you came along way from my day of a single line for steel and a double line for concrete. Work smarter, not harder.Joe Harker Work saferJohn Harker I worked for Jarvis, safe meant, "Don't fall" Makes a mess and slows down the process.Marc Mcclure Mel would doc your pay if you fell.John Harker Or fire you before you hit the ground.

I'm surprised that such a small elevator is being built with concrete instead of steel bins.
Phohl Martin posted two photos with the comment: "'Six Pack' going up in a field just south of Eaton, CO. 8/10/18"

The grain elevator in Moccasin, MT, is another example of a modern concrete grain elevator. Specifically, I learned that Todd & Sargent specializes in slipform silo construction.

Joe Olscamp posted
I thought this would be of particular interest to some in this group who wondered why the grain silos are still intact downtown. In the explosion in Beirut yesterday, approx 2700 tons of ammonium nitrate went off doing damage not seen outside of a nuclear bomb. Here’s the before & after photo. Note the silos directly next to the building where the explosion took place.
(The comments have more "after" photos and information on the Texas City explosion.)

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.

Prairie Central Co-op is building a greenfield elevator near Chenoa, IL and they are using just steel bins. On the other hand, at 2.6 million bushels, it is rather small for a new grain elevator.

Melvin, IA, has an elevator with a 750,000 bushel bin added in 2019.

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.]

Marc Mcclure posted four photos of a silo collapse in Lamoni, IA.
These look like Star bins. This contractor built many of these jump form bins in Iowa and Minnesota. I have inspected many of them. When they were built, calcium chloride was used as an accelerant on the concrete mix which weakened the concrete and corrodes the reinforcing steel.
Ultimately this leads to breaks and failures, unless they are structurally lined.

Andrew Tuttle shared
Combines Harvesters Threshers post
Sandra Hicks What a waste....think of all the food it could have provided, either by humans or animals.....This is not funny.....I also think of all the work from the farmers.....so sad.
Rodney Heinen There wasn't any grain lost. It will be sucked up and blended off to destroy the us corn farmers reputation.
Ben Kaeb Asked a bin salesman/support man once about this. He commented this is most common when a bin is specified (and bought for) for dry corn/beans and is instead used as a overflow wet bin which is outside the loads that it can handle.
Tommy Schales It looks like another possibility that the grain in the bin go super hot the stir all's wouldn't doing their job and the grain swelled from heat and blew the bin apart.
Bernd Fanghanel So who would stand beside the road with camera ready to take this perfect shot of a grain bin colapsing? How many days did they have to stand there to capture this photo. Photo-shopped maybe?
Ed Strathman what brand of bin,,looks like a foundation failure with the bottom busting first
.Rob Eberhardt No brace bands every 12 feet.
Ed Strathman Rob Eberhardt sometime the wind rings are on the inside,,sad when this happens almost always not the bins fault,,either construction or cement.
Jason Conn Look like soybeans or wheat to me. Lol [I do not understand why he would be laughing. Corn is the heaviest grain.]
Pat Keckler More like a floor failure
[This is another bin collapse that blocked a road. And we learned above that you can't assume a small town
has a rural area has a convenient alternate road.]

David Daruszka posted this link and commented:
When I first started working at the railroad it was at Proviso Yard. The C&NW was shipping grain in 40' boxcars that leaked like sieves. Cars would come rolling down the hump smashing into cars in various and sundry tracks. Their resting spot would result in a trickle or stream of grain everywhere. Rain and sun would bake the surface of this "grain pie" crusty, while the inside was rendered gooey. Not only was it gooey but it was rank. Stepping into one while making up trains would cause you to be banished to the platform outside of the comfort of the locomotive cab, regardless of weather conditions. We have here an image of what may rank as the world's largest grain pie.
Robert Turek posted
[According to some comments, no one was injured. It happened in La Grange, MO]
Lisa N Mike Johnson That’s the third large grain bin around here that’s collapsed!! Two owned by chem grow I’m thinking maybe they are needing a little more engineering and inspections before people are killed.
Krissi Dierking Hollrah Lisa N Mike Johnson I know one was in Albany, where was the other?
Lisa N Mike Johnson Adrian Illinois in 2018 and Hillsboro Iowa in 2007 trapping a family.
[850,000 bushel bin [WGEM]]
Robert Leamont posted
LaGrange, MO as it looked prior to its expansion across the road and into the river. 4-13-2018.

The bigger they are...

...the harder they fall.

On Aug 10th, 2020, a derecho went from Nebraska to Indiana. It appears this storm was particularly strong in Iowa. In the Chicagoland area, over 650,000 lost power. We were one of them. Our outage was a big neighborhood and lasted about 12 hours. During a walk, my wife saw three big trees had been blown down. Most grain bins in corn and beans country are empty in August in anticipation of the harvest season.

Mike Gibbons posted eight photos with the comment: "4 different Locations in Iowa."
Bob Summers Empty steel grain bins are the most vulnerable to wind damage. Some of these damaged bins appear to have had some grain in them, but were not full. I would expect that the bins remaining standing with little evidence of damage were virtually full of grain.
John Blankenship I'm amazed the horizontal conveyor held up.
Jerry Krug Mike Gibbons: Thanks for sharing. I hope these bins can be rebuilt.
Bob Summers If the steel sheets do not come from China these elevators can be rebuilt very quickly. The concrete foundations should be ok, so if the bin manufacturing plants are current on orders they can corrugate and roll the panels for the diameters needed possibly as quick as the sites can be cleared of the storm debris and cleaned. The big problem on being back for the fall harvest this year is the large number of elevators that were damaged. This was not an isolated storm system that just took down just one or two facilities.

Heartland Coop Luther,IA
Siouxland Severe Weather Network posted
Paul Huffman Came past a house in the country, and it’s roof was lying across the highway in a bean field.
Brian Martindale Not good. Wonder what the corn fields look like.
Paula Sitzmann McCaulley Brian Martindale they are flattened.
Paul Huffman Brian Martindale most are flattened. And full of debris.
Amanda D. Davis These bins were new as of a few years ago, 3 of the 4 new bins are fully collapsed. It’s going to be a very frustrating harvest.
Donald Potter Zebarth I heard one place in eastern Iowa had a reported wind gust of 112mph!
Paul Huffman Donald Potter Zebarth Cedar Rapids had 112 mph winds, that area had very severe damage, was down that way in Iowa City working and was caught in it. Very tough getting back to Waterloo as pretty much every road was closed due to blown over trucks, trees or downed wires.
[The comments include photos of downed corn.]
Alan Smith shared
Dorothea Sturges I am surprised the telephone posts withstood a wind of 100 MPH.
Heartland Coop Luther,IA

Heartland Coop Luther,IA

Heartland Coop, Minburn,IA

Heartland Coop, Minburn,IA
Heartland Coop, Panora,IA

Heartland Coop, Rippey,IA
Heartland Coop, Rippey,IA

One of sixteen photos posted by Marc Mcclure.
I too made a trip through part of Central Iowa. These are coop locations in Story and Marshall counties. 100% of the cornfields I saw were severely damaged or wiped out. Lots of farm grain bins, buildings and trees were
[I selected this photo because it shows that the wood elevator is still standing! Maybe it was downwind from the concrete bin.
My first reaction when I started seeing all of these destroyed bins was "where will they store the 2020 harvest?" Then I begin to realize that there won't be much of a corn harvest in 2020 to store.]

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.]
John Booth posted three photos with the comment: "This grain can blew a gasket a few months ago and is still sitting there with the wheat all over. The guy working there was on the other cans working, maybe taking the chutes off and prep work. Who knows, but I go check on occasion, W Limon."



John Booth posted three photos with the comment: "The grain can with the blowout, finally got cleaned up, West Limon, CO."
Richard Miller A blowout in that vintage and brand of bin is not too unusual!! Probably also something to do with the footings!!
Kyler Kalbaugh They going to put another one up


2, cropped


(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

Matthew Vickinovac posted three photos with the comment: "January or February 1992, Murphy NE, between Aurora and Grand Island. Elevator suffered a structural failure. The hopper car is one of several that were spotted there when it ripped open. The elevator was repaired, still in use."



Dallas Buchholz posted two photos with the comment: "
Built about 7 years ago and recently sprung a leak. 
United Grain, Bucyrus, ND
(Second hand pictures to me)"
This elevator was new enough that I could not find it on a satellite image.



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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