SMART Containers vs. Silos: Four Advantages

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Tall, vertical silos are the go-to technology for storing large volumes of material. However, they aren’t the best solution for every application, and recent innovations in competing technologies make the alternatives worth considering. Horizontal silos—SMART Containers from BE&E in specific—offer advantages over traditional silos. We’ve highlighted four of these here.

SMART Containers are horizontal silos built from used, intermodal shipping containers. We place a push-pull, wedged floor system that meters material from an outfeed slot into the floor of these. We can stack them up to three units high for increased capacity.

The first advantage of SMART Containers is their ease of maintenance. Reclaim arms in traditional silos have a habit of breaking when operators employ them in non-flowable materials like biomass. What makes things worse when this happens is that crews cannot get to the reclaim arms without emptying the silo. This situation creates massive downtime and material loss. With SMART Containers, however, crews needn’t empty the units to access the reclaim hydraulic system because it’s housed separately from the material.

The second advantage is that the conveyor feeding the silo mustn’t rise as high as it would for a comparatively sized, traditional silo. This can potentially save costs on supports and conveyors.

The third advantage is the system’s ability to segregate material. By stacking SMART Containers side by side, manufacturers can store material with different properties in what is essentially one storage unit. Manufacturers can thus blend the materials upon discharge.

This was a reason a client chose these containers instead of traditional silos. SMART Containers give our customers the ability to accept feedstocks with varying characteristics and store them separately from their primary feedstock. They could then blend a specialty feedstock with the primary feedstock as needed and produce a consistent final product.

Segregation relates to the containers’ fourth advantage over traditional silos: their modular design. Unlike traditional silos, SMART Containers can sit directly next to each other to form a continuous unit fed by a single conveyor. When the need for additional storage arises, operations personnel can add more containers to the line.

We could say more about SMART Containers, like the fact that they don’t need pilings in the foundations or that we can build them to operate without air permits. But we won’t go into these details. Suffice it to say, there are many reasons to go with SMART Containers instead of traditional silos for non-flowable materials. And after experiencing their performance, they may well become your new go-to storage technology.

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