Thursday 18th Aug, 2022

AGI silos master the elements

By using its global resources, agricultural infrastructure company Ag Growth International (AGI) has designed a new line of environmentally resistant silos.

By using its global resources, agricultural infrastructure company Ag Growth International (AGI) has designed a new line of environmentally resistant silos.

When AGI began designing its latest line of silos, it needed to take into account the different environments they would likely be used in – searing Australian summers, harsh Canadian tundra and the tropical humidity of Indonesia.

As an international company, AGI operates across six continents and was able to draw on the experience of its engineers to build a product that would serve its customers’ purposes, no matter where in the world that was.

“When selecting a silo for your next project, consider what goes into the design, the quality of the product, and the experience of the company,” says Peter Forster, Business Manager at AGI Australia and New Zealand.

“By taking into account all manner of conditions that could occur, it means the design of the silo is more considered and able to handle whatever the elements can throw at it.

“These three things will serve you well and will pave the way to a silo facility that is fit for purpose and will meet your requirements.”

At the heart of the design is the silo structure. AGI’s engineers use the codes established for calculating grain loads, snow, wind, and seismic loads and pair them with the required steel strengths, calculated by corresponding steel codes. Finite element analysis can help direct the design and how the silo sheets, stiffeners, wind rings, roof sheets and reinforcements will interact.

AGI analyses the horizontal pressures, vertical loads and the stability of the silo shell, as well as the effects of liner forces and natural frequency conditions. This is currently being used to review the seismic effects on grain bins.

To ensure the silos can stand up to seismic conditions AGI tests them at the Shakelab Eucentre. The facility can recreate any seismic event that has been measured to date, such as earthquakes.

The silo models are then customised for each project, taking the environmental conditions such as wind, corrosion and seismic factors into account. The modelling considers the materials being stored and the effects of filling and emptying on the silo structure. Armed with the information gathered from prior experience and the modelling process, the designers used corrugated wall sheets with larger steel gauges and external stiffeners, and durable high tensile bolts to improve the silo’s strength.

Steel quality is key to the construction of the silo. As such, AGI ensures all steel procured is tested to confirm the silo’s structure is long lasting and uncompromised. AGI galvanises its steels to ensure its silos can stand up to corrosive environments, such as near the ocean.

In the Australian context, AGI has taken heat into account, equipping the silo with appropriately-sized fans to keep the product in good condition. Protection from insects was also a focus, making it harder for pests to get into the structure.

Mr Forster says AGI’s partnerships in Australia are key to understanding the agricultural industry’s needs globally.

“The Australian market continues to be a major growth opportunity for AGI and we are excited to deliver high-quality, well-designed infrastructure that will support it.”