Science of silo storage

naveeCan you please share the history of more than a decade old Indian storage & milling industry? How has the industry evolved over the years?
Silo’s storage technology came to Indian industry more than 3 decades back, but the growth was very slow in early years. It started with soya industry which stored soy bean before crushing. Feed milling industry followed thereafter to set-up the silo storage plants for the storage of the corn. The paddy-rice and flour milling industry started adopting this technology in the last decade. However, it was the wheat storage project of 650,000 tons capacity by Food Corporation of India, commissioned in the Year 2007-08, which really revolutionized the silo based storage technology in India.
For the last one decade, this technology is seeing a double digit growth every year. It is not only the milling Industry which is converting their warehousing storage to the silo storage, but the Government sector (Central as well as State government) are also coming up with the wheat storage projects on regular intervals. However, while the current production of grains viz. wheat, paddy, maize, soy bean, barley, pulses etc. in India is more than 250 Million Tons, the present installed capacity of grain storage silos is not more that 3 Million Tons. This shows that there is a huge scope for growth of storage sector in India.
What are the competitive advantages of silo storage over warehouse storage? What are the challenges that customer face in the silo storage? Please brief about its economics?
There are multiple advantages of silos over warehousing, some of them are listed below:
a. Silo storage requires just 1/4th of area required for warehousing
b. The grain wastage is minimal comparatively
c. The quality of stored grain would be better through silo storage, because of pre-cleaning and drying
d. The overall cost of grain handling through silo storage is also lower
Silo storage is a science which must be learnt, if followed correctly the ROI can be much better. Some of the points which must be considered while investing in silo storage are as follows:
a. The grain to be stored in silos must be dry (having less than 12 % moisture), if the storage period is more than a month. However, for a storage period of less than a month, it can be stored around 13-14% moisture . Grain storage at higher moisture for long term will not only lead to infestation of grain but also affect the quality of the galvanized wall sheets of silos.
b. The warehouse are much easier to build, whereas silos require experience to build as well as to run, as there are other equipments like elevators and chain conveyors are also involved, which are integral part of a grain silo project.
c. If the storage capacity requirement is less than 10000 tons, it may be cheaper to build up a warehouse but beyond 10000 tons of grain storage, silo storage will be more economical to build-up.
d. Conventional warehouse can be operated by support staff with lot of manpower requirement at the time of unloading & loading of grain, whereas for running a silo storage plant it requires a few skilled technical personal with no major requirement of manpower.
Could you please elaborate on the role of pre-cleaning, drying and other processes for feed grain storage?
The pre-cleaning and drying play a very relevant role in silo storage, especially while designing the plants for a country like India wherein the major harvesting is being done using conventional methods and the grain harvested from the field at higher moisture have higher percentage of impurities like sand, dust, chaff, stones, etc. Processes like pre-cleaning and drying reduce the wear and tear of milling and handling machinery, prevent grain spoilage, reduces the aeration cost which all lead to economical and better quality end-product.
Please list the maintenance tips that you would like to share with end users?
As mentioned earlier, silo storage is more about understanding the science of storage. There are various factors which should be in check while operating the silos. Following are the tips for better maintenance:
a). Level sensor should be in working condition
b}. Silo should be sealed properly to avoid water seepage from base
c). Aeration should be performed continuously after complete coverage of aeration floor sheets or at
least first ring completion during filling
d). Temperature of the stored grain should be checked on regular interval
e). Aeration should be avoided in humid weather
f). Firstly, the grain should be unloaded by gravity from the central outlet, thereafter with outlets next to the center and so on till the grain stops coming out. Finally the remaining grain has to be discharged using sweep auger
g). Safety procedure like use of safety harness while entering the silo should be strictly followed
soy beanGSI has always been a preferred supplier for the silos globally, considering their manufacturing quality standard and the safety features incorporated in its silo design. The company came to India in the year 2003-04, when it build-up its first paddy silo storage project for around 60,000 tons storage capacity near Gurgaon. Since that time the company has started its operations in India, having supplied silos to the most prominent players of the milling industry like ADM, Cargill, Japfa, Godrej Agrovet, Venky’s, Suguna etc. Five year back, GSI established its operations in India and build-up a strong team of professionals which believe in serving the customer with best quality.