During Tuesday's GEAPS Exchange Online Conference, Michael Blough, project engineer with Clear Creek & Associates, Goshen, IN, gave some tips for what to look for during your annual pre-season bin inspection.
Some items to look for:
- Steel bin corrosion, which can occur along the base of the bin where moisture and material builds, buckling of stiffeners, loss of grout pad
- Any repairs on stiffener sections should match so load energy is transferred effectively
- Stiffener overlap which can cause sheet buckling
- Anchors in concrete should be away from the edge, preferably in the center on stem wall; look for cracks around anchor bolts
- Exposed thread minimums on a new bolted connection should have two threads exposed
- Thread engagement -- if the anchor bolts are not long enough during construction, it may require a replacement
- Loose or missing anchor nuts
- Uplift anchors should not pull out; test the uplift anchors by pulling or kicking them to see if they move
Other items to inspect:
- Sheet failures including bolted connections, bearings, tension rupture/tearing and shearing of bolts
- How the grain bin is filled -- watch for off-center loading which can cause protruding walls, buckled stiffeners and even bin collapse
- Peak loading -- be mindful of peak capacity when adding new components. When wind or snow loads are added, damage can occur from the additional peak loads
- Concrete -- look for exposed steel, cracking, moisture infiltration and delamination
- Guy wires to equipment should be anchored to the most proper component, not just the nearest component
- Structural members, including interference with flow, modifications made during the season that need proper attention, damaged flanges, buckled members on towers, structural integrity
"These recommendations are designed for a first-level assessment -- to catch things before they get worse," says Blough. "You may need a qualified engineer to know how to repair the the issues you find."
Michael Blough, project engineer with Clear Creek & Associates was raised in northern Indiana and attended Purdue University to study civil engineering. He holds both a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in civil engineering with an emphasis in structural engineering from Purdue. Michael started working for Clear Creek in 2011. Clear Creek & Associates has two main services – manufacturing support and commercial grain facility design.