5 Uses for Metal Bulk Material Storage Silos

Over the years, bulk material storage silos made of metal have played an important role in the storage and conservation of key natural resources in both the developed world and the developing world.

Bulk material storage silos allow people to store materials that would otherwise perish — such as food, livestock feed, and organic farming materials — for long periods of time. This helps prevent people from going hungry, as well as stockpile commodities to hedge their bets against the fluctuations of local and global economic conditions.

Materials You Can Store in Metal Bulk Storage Silos

Understanding the importance of bulk material storage silos — and how to make the best silos out of metal — starts with understanding which materials are eligible for storage in metal silos.

Grain

![Corn Storage Silos](../../../uploads/2017/01/Corn_Storage_Silos.jpg)*Corn storage silos with flat bottoms*
Grain is one of the most common materials stored in bulk material storage silos made of metal and farmers everywhere depend on them to store grain for long periods of time.

Metal silos have a few key advantages for storing grain, starting with the preservation of quality. A metal silo with an airtight structure will ensure that grain is kept fresh for an extended period of time. Because it is airtight, it eliminates the need for fumigation. And with so many people today worried about the chemicals that are being used to keep food fresh, the ability to forego insecticides makes grain stored in airtight metal storage silos more valuable.

Second, metal silos prevent animals, pests, and other rodents from eating the crop and infecting it with bacteria.

Metal silos provide these benefits in a relatively easy and cost-effective manner since they can be fabricated in sections that are then shipped to their destination for easy installation.

Wood Chips

People use wood chips for a variety of applications, such as biomass power generation and grinding them into wood pulp for paper mills. These materials can also be used in restoration projects, landscaping jobs, and routine gardening.

Metal silos allow people to store large amounts of these useful woodchips in a relatively compact space since the walls of a silo enable vertical stacking, as opposed to horizontal spreading of an open-air pile of woodchips. Bulk material storage silos also protect wood chips from the elements, which can quickly cause them to rot or otherwise become unusable due to moisture or discoloration.

Silage

![Silage Storage Silos](../../../uploads/2017/01/Silage_Storage_Silos.jpg)*Silage storage silos with conical bottoms*
Silage, or undried plant material that is stored and used for livestock feed, can be stored in metal silos.

When devising a bulk storage solution for silage, it’s important to make sure that the structure will foster the proper moisture content to preserve the integrity of the silage. Too much moisture can lead to fermentation and seepage whereas too little can encourage mold growth. Both forms of degradation remove nutrients from the silage and endanger feeding animals.

Cement

![Metal Silos at Cement Plant](../../../uploads/2017/01/Cement_Silos.jpg)*Metal Silos at Cement Plant*
Metal bulk material storage silos are crucial for the storage of cement, making it readily available in cement distributor yards or construction sites.

Depending on the size of the silo needed, storage silos built for cement applications can be fabricated using shop-welded construction (smaller units), bolted RTP (rolled, tapered panel) designs that assemble quickly in the field and benefit from in-shop finishing, or field-welded construction (for really big units).

Sand

Storing sand in a silo makes perfect sense. For one, it prevents sand from blowing around. Second, it keeps sand — which has a tendency to flow like a liquid — contained.

Because sand also has a tendency to absorb moisture, it’s important to store sand in an airtight silo that doesn’t admit any dampness. This is especially the case for sand used in the production of concrete, where wet sand can have a negative effect on the quality of the product.

Why You May Want to Consider Custom Bulk Material Storage Silos

With so many different applications for metal silos and the inevitable space limitations and specific requirements faced by any modern facility, it’s unlikely that an out-of-the-box solution will readily present itself. In which case, it’s a good idea to consider a custom-fabricated bulk storage solution that will meet all your needs and be built to your exact specifications.

If you think you might need a custom metal storage silo, or just want some guidance from an experienced silo fabricator, please contact us here at Southern Metal Fabricators. We’ll be happy to help.