Recognizing Silo Protection System Issues

Recognizing Silo Protection System Issues

When silo protection systems are not installed properly, or they are not maintained adequately and routinely checked, they are at risk for failure. These failures will not only cause operational disruption and production loss, but they also pose a safety concern for the entire organization, as well as the environment.

What are the warning signs of silo protection system failure? Knowing what the signs are can help you avoid catastrophic consequences – and save you time, money and productivity along the way.

Blowing Dust

One of the earliest signs of silo failure is easily seen, even from the ground. Look out for a silo blowing dust out of the PRV, or Pressure Relief Valve, during a fill. The video below shows what this may look like.

Blocked, Leaking, Damaged PRV

Blocked, Leaking, Damaged PRV

One of the most common misconceptions in the powder-based industry is that pressure relief valves expel product when functioning correctly. In reality, the opposite is true—this occurrence signals a potential failure in the system. If product is being released, it indicates that the pressure relief valve is experiencing pressure, typically due to a malfunction in the monitoring and control system.

Damaged or Faulty Pressure Sensor

Damaged, or Faulty, Pressure Sensor

Pressure sensors are essential for preventing silo over-pressurization. It takes as little as 1 psi to rupture a silo or blow the filter unit off the roof. Your silo protection system should be detecting pressures as low as 40 millibar (0.5 psi). Unfortunately, these sensors are rarely tested. In addition, they are often incorrectly set by applying hand pressure to the sensitive rubber diaphragm, a force 50 times greater than the required set point, leaving it unsuitable for safety application.

Blocked Air Filter

Blocked Air Filter

When operating correctly, comprehensive silo protection systems indicate when filter cartridges are degrading and/or air is not being vented quickly enough. Poor filtration, where particles cause congestion, traps pressure inside the vessel and increases risk. A high number of over-pressurization events would typically indicate blocked filters or poor driver delivery behavior, illustrating why a pressure sensor and a system that records pressure events are both essential.

Silo safety cannot be treated as insignificant; it requires comprehensive, failsafe and testable solutions and maintenance. Learn more about the benefits of silo protection, and which system is right for your operation.

Explore Resources

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