Knowing how much mix is in your silo is a critical component to the overall efficiency of your entire plant. Without constant and accurate monitoring a catastrophic event could be in the making. For example, there was a contractor who had a six silo system that consisted of two rows of three silos in each row. One of the plant operators had some concern about the level of mix in one of the silos. This concern was well warranted. There was approximately 100 tons of material that had cooled off and had built up to a solid mass from the bottom gates well above the cones. Not a good situation.

This same operator got the idea that he would just loosen up the mix. His solution was to start pouring five gallon buckets of diesel fuel in the drag. After awhile this procedure turned into pretty hard work. To make his workload easier he decided to use a pump that had been installed for a release agent in the plant. He hooked the pump from the tank on the front-end loader over to the drag slat to pump up the volume of material needed and have the drag slat convey it up.

After waiting what he considered a long enough period of time, the material was still not loosening up. His next step was to take an extension pole (like one would use on a paint roller) and hook a rosebud with a hose clamp on the end. He stuck this contraption up into the silo.

That’s when things really took a turn for the worse. The diesel fuel ignited and caught the entire silo system on fire! To make matters worse, there were two other plant men on the second row of silos going up to perform maintenance. The fire trapped them and they could not get back to the main conveyor and access the ladder up to the top. It took three fire departments almost four hours to put the fire out. The heat generated cooked the paint off all of the silos and ruined the silo that contained the 100 tons. The only recourse was to throw the silo out and move an existing one over. The only good new to this story is the two men on top of the silos did survive and the plant operator with this brilliant idea is no longer employed at the company.

There are several other safe and effective ways to clean out silos but that’s a topic for another time. The real message here is to be aware of the amount of material in your silos at all times. The Hotmix Parts Accu-Level will tell you the level within 1 1/2 %. There is no need to guess. You can avoid this kind of accident and we would love to tell you how. That’s why the only call you need to make is to Stansteel. We help your plant run better!