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Cleaning and refurbing a pair of silos

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  • Cleaning and refurbing a pair of silos

    Howdy,
    We're moving into an old building which once operated as a brewery.
    There's a pair of silos sitting outside (not sure how large) and an auger tied to both running into a mill room.
    One of the silos is 90% filled with very old grain, while the other is only 5% filled.
    (sounds like one of those terrible word problems so far, right?)

    The motor attached to the auger works, but it keeps binding up and breaking loose the seals on the auger casing.
    We've got an idea that either the nearly full silo has a bind in it (clumped up malt) or the auger has snapped somewhere.
    Since we're not yet able to move the grain in this manner, we are at a loss as to how to clean these silos and prepare them for use.
    We've had an environmental waste company come and bid on hooking up a vacuum truck and dispose of the grain, but we're wondering if there's another solution.
    Does anyone have any experience in this or any elegant solutions for getting rid of this grain ourselves?
    We'd appreciate any tips.
    Cheers,
    Michael

  • #2
    If you can find a portable auger to use, you may be able to place its inlet in a receiving bin below the silo. At my last brewing job, we used an old chemical drum with its top removed and a hole cut in its side (which the auger slid into) to move spent grain. If you can restrict the flowrate of grain from the silo, the grain can free-fall into the bin.

    Joe

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    • #3
      Michael--Are there any farmers/ranchers in your area? Grain, even old grain (as long as it's not moldy) is valuable feed, and you might find someone who'd be happy to clean those bins out for free.

      As for the auger, you'll probably have to pull the motor and tailpiece off and remove the auger itself. These critters are very sensitive to clogging and jamming, even a small scrap of plastic wrap will jam them. If the auger is broken, it's not too hard to weld it back together, and you probably won't even have to add length. Just overlap the two pieces at the break by about 1" (after cleaning and prepping) and weld with phosphor/bronze rod. I've done this a couple of times.
      Last edited by TGTimm; 02-17-2014, 04:47 PM.
      Timm Turrentine

      Brewerywright,
      Terminal Gravity Brewing,
      Enterprise. Oregon.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by TGTimm View Post
        Michael--Are there any farmers/ranchers in your area? Grain, even old grain (as long as it's not moldy) is valuable feed, and you might find someone who'd be happy to clean those bins out for free.
        Old bulk grain will undoubtedly mold and/or harbor bugs, rodents, etc. I wouldn't risk the relationship with farmers (who will gladly take your future spent grain) by trying to pawn off the old stuff as feed.

        I also wouldn't use it as compost at this point. You could end up cultivating a nasty mold that may attack grass, trees, or crops. Just get it hauled off to trash.

        How do you plan to clean/refurbish the silos once they're empty? Are they still in decent shape?
        Kyle Kohlmorgen
        Process/Automation Consultant
        St. Louis, MO

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