A silo blockage isn’t just an operational inconvenience; it can have a direct effect on all aspects of your plant’s profitability. A plugged silo decreases the plant’s ability to cycle material, reduces overall storage capacity, and limits production. Further financial losses are characterized by lower product quality and the cost of abandoned raw material left in the vessel.
The serious financial consequences of silo blockages can be compounded by the fact that valuable maintenance and personnel resources – on sometimes already tight budgets – are required to service the plugged silo.
Maintenance and general plant operators do not typically have the specific training required to safely unclog and clean a silo, raising serious safety concerns and exponentially increasing the potential for one of your team to get hurt.
Mole•Master Services Corporation technicians are silo cleaning experts with many having over 30 years of experience on a global scale. We have expertise in servicing nearly every type of silo blockage in a wide array of bulk storage vessels throughout all major industries. Our silo cleaning approach is systematic, ensuring that our team can safely, efficiently, and effectively clean your plugged or clogged silo.
Our professional project management approach hinges on understanding your blockage, evaluating the best cleaning options to suit your needs, and then devising a plan of action to complete the cleaning.
Silo Blockage Identification
Understanding the type of blockage is an important first step in deciding the best plan forward.
Common types of silo blockages include:
Despite the wide variety of names, most problems fall into one of the following categories:
Ratholes occur when material clings to the sides of the silo, leaving only a small flow channel, which the built-up material won’t flow through.
Bridges refer to an accumulation of material that completely blocks flow through the hopper outlet. A bridge is usually described as either mechanical (meaning the particles interlock with each other to form the blockage) or cohesive (meaning the particles are compressed together). In either case, the material binds together until an arch-shaped obstruction forms.
Caking occurs in silos where material is allowed to stagnate or hydrate and form into clumps.
Silo Cleaning Classification
Once we assess the type of blockage, Mole•Master gathers additional information about your silo, conveyance systems, and material to determine the most appropriate method of cleaning for your project.
Mole•Master has developed a general classification system for silo cleaning projects based on level of difficulty:
- Low degree of difficulty (LDD)
- Medium degree of difficulty (MDD)
- High degree of difficulty (HDD)
The degree of difficulty that your silo cleaning project falls into can vary depending on a wide variety of factors, however we have found that approximately 60% of silo cleanings will be considered MDD projects with LDD and HDD projects splitting the remaining 40%. These classifications can help us quantify the scope of work and determine the best approach to your project, but do not necessarily directly relate to cost or length of time required for the cleaning.
We have a variety of cleaning methods to employ for your cleanout project, which allows us to customize our approach to your specific needs. Our techniques are the most advanced in the industry and include a variety of engineered solutions – such as the Junior 360° whip system or Arch•Master – as well as contract cleaning crews that employ our trademarked Big•Mole™ system.
“BIG•MOLE” Silo Cleaning System
Many Silo cleanout projects require the ultimate level of experience and safety that can only be accomplished by highly trained technicians who have a breadth of experience and specialized training. Mole•Master’s Big•Mole Service™ is the most complete turnkey service available designed specifically to handle silo cleaning projects safely, reliably, and consistently, regardless of the degree of difficulty.
Benefits of the Big•Mole™ System include:
- Versatility: works in any type of bulk storage vessel and with any material.
- No Human Entry Required: Equipment is controlled remotely from the silo roof.
- Total Material Recovery: Material is freed and readied for further processing or loadout.
- Recovered Storage Capacity: Storage vessels are restored to 100% of their planned capacity.
- Minimal Downtime: Jobs that previously took weeks or months now take only days.
- 100% Dry Process: No water or other liquids are used.
- Non-Sparking: The Big•Mole™ System is safe to use in potentially hazardous environments such as grain and coal storage facilities.
Regardless of the scope of work for your project, Mole•Master Services will devote our full attention and expertise to your specific cleanout challenge.