Concrete Products

AUG 2014

Concrete Products covers the issues that attract producers of ready mixed and manufactured concrete focusing on equipment and material technology, market development and management topics.

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36 • August 2014 A central Illinois ready mixed concrete pro- ducer has resolved material build-up issues in three storage silos where accumulation had slowed production and increased inter- nal pressures, eventually damaging the vessel walls and forcing a shutdown. By enlisting the Martin Engineering silo-clean- ing crew, the Commercial Acres RMC facility, whic is owned by Stark Excavating, was able to have the vessels safely emptied and ready for repair in 10 working hours—without confined space entry. Commercial Acres runs a Treyco model capable of producing more than 200 yards per hour. The plant includes three 125-ton storage silos measuring 30- x 30- x 57-ft., two for cement storage and one for fy ash/pozzolan. "Over time, material dust in the three pneumatically-loaded silos gradually built up, frst on walls and ridges and eventu- ally clinging to all the interior surfaces," says Concrete Production Manager Jeff Jackson. "As a result, the air fow became constricted, raising the pressure within the silos and exerting greater force on the structure, connections and piping." The compacted material build-up con- tinued to collect particles, effectively shrinking the internal space as the pneu- matic blower forced more material through the silos. The severity of the problem be- came apparent to system operators when they noticed the walls of the silos were actually starting to bulge outward. During a shutdown and inspection, staff observed interior damage and determined that over-pressurization had compromised the three vessels' structural integrity. The need for repairs was clear and im- mediate, but the material build-up pre- sented a serious obstacle. Mindful of Mar- tin Engineering's silo-cleaning service, and familiar with its conveyor belt cleaners and related components, Jackson contacted the manufacturer about the problem. WHIPPED INTO SHAPE After a Martin field supervisor visually assessed the silos' material build up, a two- man crew was dispatched ready to deploy a Martin Heavy Duty Whip, one of several technologies that make up the company's Silo Solutions product line. A portable, remote-controlled tool that can be lowered into storage containers through a manhole opening, the whip is powered by compressed air and bears a proprietary motor that can use a variety of different flails and cutting edges to knock down accumulated mate- rial without damaging vessel walls. Abra- sion-resistant steel chain is best suited for most applications; urethane flails can also be employed to protect lined vessels that could be susceptible to damage from metal tools. Martin's top-access cleaning technology eliminates the need to send a crew member inside a storage vessel and risk potential injury. The equipment is set up outside the silo, and is portable enough to maneuver around various bin sizes and shapes. The whip's modular boom extends up to 28 feet and can clean vessels up to 60 feet across from a central, 18-in. diameter opening. The air hose is protected with double wire braid, and the pneumatic motor delivers powerful cleaning action from the rotating head to remove buildup. "Part of the success of the Whip is its straightforward, air-driven design," notes Martin Silo Supervisor Gregg Pickering. "Competing systems that run on hydraulics INNOVATIONS REPORT READY MIXED Silo maintenance method averts confined space entry The Commercial Acres ready mixed plant is located in Normal, Ill., adjacent to the Blooming- ton home base of owner Stark Excavating Inc.

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