Key factors in bin usage by Kirk Nelson, Director of Marketing and Sales, Behlen Mfg. Co.
In the second of a four part series, Milling and Grain take a closer look at the essential elements of bin maintenance. The way you carry out the initial filling of a bin can have long-term effects over the rest of its life. And any accidents during the process could severely shorten yours. Preparation and initial execution are thus critical.
verything must be in place - before you even think about putting anything inside the bin, the bin itself must be completely finished. Absolutely everything must be securely in place. First, the bin itself must be properly anchored to its foundation, with all bolts where they should be and properly tightened. Guards and shields exist for a reason, and it’s not to annoy you. It’s to save your life. So put them where they should be. Stick safety decals in the right places too, making sure they’re legible. If people can’t read them, there’s absolutely no point. You don’t know when you’re going to need to access any part of the structure, so all ladders, handrails, platforms, stair and steps need to be securely in place right from the start. And again: With all bolts where they should be and properly tightened.
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Function and access are vital
It is also vital to be sure everything is working properly and prepared for any eventuality that might occur when filling the bin for the first time. The unloading equipment and unload gates must function correctly and they must be closed. The working areas surrounding the bin need to be clean and clear of clutter. Electrical performance must be checked and lockouts installed (if needed) on equipment. Any temperature cables must be fastened to the floor according to the manufacturer’s recommendations to prevent displacement during filling. And it may sound obvious, but make certain that everyone is out of the bin before filling it.
Plan for the worst
Whatever you do, know exactly who or where to call for immediate help in case of an emergency or injury. And make sure they’ll be available and able to reach you quickly.
On larger bins, filling in several stages may be required by the manufacturer to prevent uneven settlement. Many manufacturers require, or at least suggest, stage loading to prevent excessive uneven differential settlement during the initial fill. Behlen Mfg. Co. recommends that for the first stage the grain bin be filled to 1/3 of eave height. It will then take 10 days for the desired