Inspections/Failure Analysis

Investigation of Silo or Equipment Failures

Jenike & Johanson is prepared to assist you with inspecting silo or other bulk material handling equipment failures.  Our team of highly experienced engineers have the knowledge, unique skills, and state-of-the-art analytical tools required for root cause failure investigations, as well as capabilities to design solids handling equipment to prevent failure.

Hundreds of silos, bins and hoppers used in a wide variety of industries experience some degree of failure each year.  In fact, these structures fail with a frequency that is much higher than almost any other industrial equipment.

 Common Failures

  • Catastrophic collapse of silo, bunker, or hopper
  • Buckling, bending, denting of steel or aluminum silo wall
  • Vertical or horizontal cracking, spalling, or delamination of concrete silo wall
  • Damage to bin due to gas over-pressurization or vacuum (suction) effects
  • Wall thickness loss due to corrosion or abrasive wear effects
  • Failure of screw feeder or reclaimer in flat-bottomed silo

These failures are all important danger signals, indicating that corrective measures are probably required.  The economic cost of a silo failure is never small.  The owner faces the immediate costs of lost production and repairs, personnel in the vicinity are exposed to significant danger, and the designer and builder face possible litigation because of their liability exposure.

 Project Examples

  • Severe cracking in two of the largest reinforced concrete coal silos in South America through which 100% of the plant’s production is exported
  • Massive thumping of a 10,000 ton capacity steel silo filled with fine sand at a high throughput LCD glass plant
  • Extensive cracking in several large, inter-connected reinforced concrete grain silos at ethanol plants soon after being put into operation
  • Complete collapse of a 9,000 ton capacity bolted steel silo storing fly ash the first time it was filled with hot material
  • Failure of an 800 ton capacity, multi-compartment welded steel bin that shut down production at a concrete products plant
  • Failure of a 1,200 ton capacity steel bin storing stone at a quarry that resulted in the death of several workers
  • Screw feeder and rotary plow failures at a sewage treatment plant

What's Next?

Contact us to discuss your equipment failure investigation needs. Jenike & Johanson engineers can provide timely on-site inspection services and analytical modeling capabilities to accurately determine the cause of equipment failure. We can also recommend cost-effective repair strategies and structural engineering services for new equipment to ensure reliable operation and longevity.