Monday 28th Sep, 2020

Flatpack silos: saving cash without compromise

Building a silo from scratch can be expensive and time consuming, which is why bulk equipment manufacturer Transmin became the distributor of a fully containerised, bolted silo solution.

Building a silo from scratch can be expensive and time consuming, which is why bulk equipment manufacturer Transmin became the distributor of a fully containerised, bolted silo solution.

Typically, constructing or installing a silo requires welding equipment and associated specialists to join the steel components together. Often, this must also be done at height, adding potential safety risks to the process.

While this is an effective method for building durable silos, it can lead to higher installation costs than might be necessary.

To avoid this, Italian silo manufacturer Scutti has developed its range of silos to be built entirely through bolted construction.

According to Damian Thorpe, Product Manager for Reagent Plants & Silos at Transmin, these silos can be constructed like a Mecanno set, without sacrificing strength or durability.

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“In fact, the Scutti silos can even be assembled on the ground and then lifted as modules for construction, meaning there is a reduced need to work at heights or use specialised hot equipment,” he says.

Scutti’s silos are manufactured in Italy, designed to be containerised and shipped anywhere in the world. This allows the shipments to be made using existing supply chains and infrastructure, avoiding the need for specialised over-width or heavy vehicles.

Transmin, the exclusive distributor of Scutti products for the Australian market and can supply to the rest of the world, was attracted to this unique method of manufacturing and shipping.

“It was something the Australian mining and bulk handling industry hadn’t seen a lot of,” Aron Nicholson, Transmin’s Head of Supply Chain says.

“Scutti had also been developing the silos for more than 50 years at the time, and had been able to perfect its manufacturing process to build silos that would be suited for almost any situation, whether it was cold Arctic conditions, heat of the Pilbara or on fault lines in New Zealand.”

Transmin found the amount of flexibility valuable to its mining and heavy industry customer base. The silos can be set up in some of the most remote mine sites and installed by engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) companies that prefer to perform their own installations.

One thing that makes it easier for these teams is the amount of information and documentation provided by Scutti. Building the silos doesn’t require specialists from Scutti or Transmin, with the economic benefits of on-site assembly making them cost competitive in the market.

Scutti also standardises its products, taking advantage of an economy of scale within its own manufacturing process and quality control, using Industry 4.0 technologies such as robotics.

Nicholson says Transmin and Scutti worked closely to develop a product that was suitable for the Australian market, modifying the silos to meet the Australian Standards.

“We’ve set up the silos so they meet all the wind loading, seismic, access and safety requirements to comply with the Australian standards by fine tuning and tweaking the designs,” he says.

“There are even incorporated designs for within industries and can provide different access points for specific plants or configurations if required. If a more customised silo is required, Transmin can also offer its own in-house engineering.”

Originally built for the cement and lime industries, the silos can store most bulk solids, including, soda ash, sand, crushed glass, sugar or grain. Scutti’s silos have already been put to use in the Australian cement industry for many years. They are used to store and then load trucks with cement, assist with water purification on mining sites and store sugar for refining into confectionary ingredients. Others have been installed at port facilities, using the modularised design of the silos to build square silos that make the most of the space available on the wharves.

Scutti and Transmin also offer additional equipment, such as screw conveyors, dust filters and powder valves along with the silo. In addition, the silos can be equipped with Scutti’s own condition monitoring system, WICOMSILO.

Thorpe says the condition monitoring system is as easy to use and install as the rest of the silo and comes with plenty of “smarts”.

“The system is equipped to monitor dust filtration and has radar sensors to get an accurate indication of the levels within the silo,” he says.

“More importantly, they also come with an accurate and effective pressure monitoring system to ensure the silos are not over-pressurised or under-pressurised.

To support companies during and after installation, Transmin also operates an aftermarket team made up of spare parts specialists, on-site service technicians and off-site engineers, based in Perth. These specialists are sent out to sites around the world to ensure any issues can be cleared up as quickly as possible.

In addition to the Scutti silos, Transmin is an original equipment manufacturer for the bulk material handing industry, with equipment ranging from rock breakers to low profile feeders, and the supply of conveyor parts via ConveyorPro, its conveyor business unit.

Thorpe says the range of equipment available to the company allows it to design fully-engineered turnkey solutions.

“Our product offering means we can provide the equipment for most bulk handling projects, whether it is for a lime preparation facility or a grain silo,” he says.