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Silo cleaning. At first glance, the task might seem like something a concrete company could put off for later. After all, how dirty can the inside of a cement silo really get? The truth is, silo cleaning is about more than appearances. It’s about ensuring your crew can easily — and, more importantly, safely — access the cement it needs to carry out its work. Read on for a general rundown of issues that can lead to clumps and clogs, what exactly silo cleaning is — and why you should never attempt it on your own.

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Moisture Does Your Cement Silos No Favors

In order to ensure the material inside your cement silos flows easily, it must remain dry. Excess moisture creates clumping that can lead to subpar concrete blends, or to clogs can slow your pours and, in extreme circumstances, stop those pours altogether. (And no concrete means no ability to serve your clients.)

How does moisture get inside a cement silo? Of course, there’s always the possibility that leaks and punctures might allow rainwater in. But, even the most secure cement silos can fall victim to moisture. Changing temperatures and excessive outdoor humidity often lead to condensation buildup along the walls of a cement silo. Thus, as the moisture collects and, eventually makes its way to the material stored inside, those clumps begin to form.

Silo Cleaning Keeps Clumps Away and Cement Flowing

So, what exactly is silo cleaning? It’s a process during which trained crews with proper personal protective equipment (PPE) enter cement silos to clear out hardened material. Crew members enter the silo from above, locate clumped material that is causing trouble — or which could cause trouble soon — and break it into sizes that can be easily removed. From there, they urge the clumped cement out the bottom of the silo, while leaving the dry, usable material inside for use in future jobs.

It should be noted that construction and concrete companies don’t have to wait for clogs to appear in order to take advantage of silo cleaning. Regular maintenance by a trained silo cleaning company can ward off trouble before it even begins. At General Chipping, our silo cleaning experts recommend booking appointments every three months or so, at the same time you schedule concrete chipping appointments for your redi mix truck drums and central mixers.

Untrained Crews Should Never Attempt Silo Cleaning

Although encouraging your crew to take on the silo cleaning work might appear to make financial sense, such tasks should only be carried out by a trained professional. Why? Silo cleaning can be incredibly dangerous. Crew members who attempt to prod at cement silos from beneath to release clogs can release an avalanche of dry cement, potentially burying both themselves and those around them. Even those who take the safer approach of going in from the top can suffer from deadly falls or asphyxiation. Reports on the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) website illustrate the dangers associated with cement and other storage silos. Simply put, it’s not worth it to put lives at risk.

A professional silo cleaning company will ensure its crew undergoes regular training to remain up to date on the latest trends, and that safe practices remain top of mind. You can learn more about silo cleaning safety on the General Chipping blog.

See What Our Customers Have to Say!

“We’re in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, and it helps that I just work with one guy for all of our facilities. It makes things less confusing, and scheduling is a lot easier.”
– Joe Wallace, Hanson Ready Mix

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