- Inspection of meal silo interior and exterior
- Administering Cardox CO2 shots to blast off material buildup
- Clearing buildup debris with BinWhip devices and hand tools
A soybean meal silo in an agricultural plant was experiencing severe material buildup causing blockage to the auger equipment inside the silo, halting its operation. Industrial Access was the only contractor available for emergency mobilization and fully equipped to handle a blockage of such large scale. Industrial Access inspected the structure and successfully removed 380 tons of material using pneumatic whips and Cardox CO2 blasting devices.
Cardox blasting maximizes work efficiency
No plant outage was required
Cardox blasting takes place outside the structure which eliminates safety risks to workers
An agricultural plant in the southeastern United States was in urgent need of cleanout services for their 100’ tall soybean meal silo. The soybean meal had hardened inside the structure and became stuck, interfering with the operation of the moving auger mechanism at the bottom of the silo. In order to repair the blockage and retrieve the congealed material, Industrial Access (IA) was contracted to inspect the condition of the structure, develop the most effective strategy for the removal of hardened material, and perform the cleanout services. It was determined that the safest and most effective buildup removal approach would be the Cardox blasting solution.
The soybean meal silo
IA mobilized on the roof of the silo, and the team was able to view the silo internals from access ports on top of the structure. The interior work was carried out utilizing rope access techniques which allowed IA’s highly trained technicians to inspect the blockage issue from up-close and administer cleanout solutions with necessary precision.
Setting up interior Cardox shots with rope access
Cardox shots drilled into the material
Firstly, the crew performed a visual inspection to the silo exterior, interior, platforms and other appurtenances to assess the condition of the structure and document any anomalies. Schmidt Hammer readings were also carried out to measure the elastic properties of exterior concrete. The inspection allowed IA to quantify the location and type of material blockage issue and assign the Cardox blasting solution.
Cardox tubes are filled with liquid carbon dioxide, like a fire extinguisher. When energized by the application of a small electrical charge, the chemical heater instantly converts the liquid CO2 into a gas. The conversion expands the CO2 volume and builds up pressure inside the tube until it causes a disc, located at the end of the tube to burst, which releases CO2 through directional discharge nozzles. This creates a powerful force of pressure, up to 40,000 psi, strong enough to safely blast buildup off the walls in closed structures. This process can dislodge more than 3 tons of buildup in milliseconds.
In order to administer Cardox shots, strategic holes were drilled through the silo’s concrete wall to install Cardox ports and place Cardox tubes. Once activated, the Cardox system blasted off loose debris and dislodged congealed soybean meal stuck to the interior walls of the silo. Eventually the team was able to safely enter the silo with rope access and installed more Cardox shots inside the silo, drilled into the hardened buildup material to break it apart. The Cardox method allows blasting work to be performed remotely without directly exposing workers to unsafe conditions. BinWhip pneumatic whipping system was also utilized to scrape and break up the material. Once sufficient progress was made, the team was able to enter the silo again and hand shovel out the remaining debris.
Breaking up material with a pneumatic whip
Making progress with a pneumatic whip
Silo cleanup complete
The blockage of nearly 380 tons was successfully cleared over the course of several weeks. Following the cleanout, a basic inspection of silo interior was carried out to ensure the structure could safely resume operation. Based on the observed field conditions, additional repairs were agreed on and performed during the same mobilization, such as installing a new cable climb system to the ladder and sealing the cracks in the silo’s roof. Considering the scale of the silo and its blockage, Industrial Access was the right contractor for this project, fully equipped to empty out a clogged industrial storage vessel of any kind.