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Storage Structure Problems

Storage structures of all kinds require regular maintenance and attention. Regular maintenance lessens the risk of encountering problems, but they could still arise even if you are up to date with maintenance. The most common problems encountered are material buildup, flow issues, fires, and ratholing. If you’re experiencing any of these issues, call Industrial Access Bulk Materials. No job is too severe for us as we’re trained and equipped to complete jobs over 14 different tools and methodologies. We can quickly get your facility back to operating smoothly.

The most common problems you may encounter are explained below:

material build up in hopper or siloMaterial Buildup

The longer that bulk material sits in a silo or vessel, the more likely it is to cake and buildup on the walls inside. This cacking restricts the flow of your company’s valuable assets. Regular maintenance can minimize this risk of build-up, so it is a valuable investment for your company. Several different types of buildup may occur, such as funneling, plugging, bridging, doming, caking, and scale. Buildup can lead to many different levels of blockage of your assets. We have different solutions for any buildup we encounter. Call us today to see how we can get you running as normal again.

Flow Issues

Storage structure flow issues happen for several reasons. One popular cause is the weather outside or temperature control in plants. But the cause for flow issues can trace back to the way your rotary valve is configured. Flow issues can also develop if the material buildup is present inside a storage structure and not taken care of. This type can lead to arching or ratholing: two common flow issues. An additional factor to consider is hopper discharge patterns. Correct discharge patterns (funnel flow pattern, mass flow, or expanded flow) could mean the difference for your company’s storage vessel flow.

If you’re experiencing any of the abovementioned issues and need help getting production back to normal, call Industrial Access Bulk Materials. We will create a personalized plan to get you back to normal as soon as possible.

grain fire from siloFires

Unfortunately, there are occurrences of fires in storage structures as well. Most times these fires are slow-burning and frustrating to everyone involved; although, some cases can lead to raging fires and explosions. Several factors can contribute to fires occurring in storage structures. Sometimes it’s related to unloading equipment but at times spontaneous ignition inside the silage. However, proper maintenance and procedures to ensure proper safety measures and moisture levels are met can prevent most of these occurrences. To learn more about how to best protect your storage structures from a fire, call Industrial Access Bulk Materials.


Ratholing is another common problem encountered in storage structures. It directly affects the flow and is caused by compacted materials on the storage structures’ sidewalls. This is especially an issue for cohesive materials, such as soil with high clay content. If storage structures’ side walls aren’t smooth or steep enough, insufficient friction is created and can lead to this problem. This issue is an example of the “funnel flow” effect, meaning once the center materials are discharged, the side materials stay caked to the walls. If this sounds like a problem you are encountering, call Industrial Access Bulk Materials to get back to the regular, undisrupted flow of your company’s assets.

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