Meccanno sets allow builders to make models and devices with simple strips and bolts. Silo manufacturer Scutti is using a similar method to provide cost effective, transportable silos for the bulk handling industry.
In 1898, Frank Hornby created the Meccano model construction system. Small metal strips, plates, wheels and gears are connected together using nuts and bolts to build working models and mechanical devices.
The toys went on to be a great success, finding popularity around the globe for more than a century, with annual exhibitions showcasing some of the engineering feats its users have built.
However, this method of bolted construction can be used for more than just toys. The Italian silo manufacturer Scutti has developed a range of silos that are built entirely through bolted construction.
According to Damian Thorpe, Product Manager for Reagent Plants & Silos at Transmin, the silos can be constructed safely, with minimal welding and without sacrificing strength or durability.
“In fact, the Scutti silos can even be assembled on the ground and then lifted as modules for construction, meaning there is no need to work at heights or complete hot-works (welding/grinding) on site,” 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 heavy vehicles.
Transmin, the exclusive distributor of Scutti products for the Asia Pacific region, was attracted to this unique method of manufacturing and shipping. Scutti 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.
The flexibility and ease of manufacturer makes the silos cost effective and easy to set up in some of the most remote sites.
To ensure the silos are fit for purpose in Australian conditions, the company modifies the silo design to meet the Australian Standards. This often includes additional handrails and guarding.
Thorpe says Transmin can further customise to meet a site’s needs, whether that’s improved safety features, additional equipment or specific sizing.
“We can increase the wall thickness of the silos to prevent abrasion and corrosion and can use a higher grade of paint to withstand the harsh Australian sun or tropical rains,” he says.
Originally built for the cement and lime industries, the silos can store most bulk solids, including, soda ash, sand, crushed glass, sugar or grain. Transmin have found the silos to be popular in the mining and minerals processing industries with a smaller portion from water and wastewater treatment.
Thorpe says these industries are risk averse and will often ask for additional features to keep employees safe.
“Most customers in other sectors, like the cement industry, would use a basic cage ladder to access the roof of the silo. However, in the minerals sector, we have been asked to provide a stair tower to reach the roof,” he says.
“Not only is this safer, but we have designed the stair towers to also use a bolted construction format, reducing the need for welding to reach heights.”
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.
Thorpe says level and pressure instrumentation have become popular add-ons in the Australian market, as they allow operators to access information without needing to physically visit the silo.
“We can also supply all instrumentation for level and pressure as well as incorporate static weighing of the silos via a load cell system, as well as have dynamic weighing on the discharge equipment such as loss-in-weight feeders or weigh screw feeders,” he says.
To support companies during and after installation, Transmin also operate 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.
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 flocculant preparation facility or an agricultural lime silo,” he says.