Metal vs Concrete Silos

The right storage system for your needs depends on what you need to store, what environmental conditions your silo needs to withstand, and your specific goals for the project. Deciding which type of silo to invest in, steel or concrete, is easy once you understand the advantages steel offers. If you are unsure which material is right for your storage solution, consider these key facts:

Steel Manufacturing Guarantees Quality Control

Companies can fully control the steel manufacturing process, ensuring high-quality products with consistency. Concrete manufacturing, on the other hand, has many variables during production that can affect the final product. Factories manufacture all-steel silo components in a quality-controlled setting, using set techniques and methods to guarantee a stable final product. Cast-in-place concrete silos rely on good weather, timely concrete delivery, and other variables for structural soundness. For instance, concrete has less than two to three hours of useful life before it begins to lose its optimal characteristics. A delayed concrete delivery can, therefore, compromise the entire silo.

Steel is More Cost-Effective

Concrete silos may seem cheaper than steel upon initial investment, but a look into the life span of a steel silo will tell a different story. Steel silos can last much longer than concrete without cracking or needing reinforcement. Steel silos also deliver greater storage capacity, giving the user more value for the cost. During the construction of a concrete silo, you may pay more for additional people working on site, longer time frame due to poor weather, and other unfavorable variables you avoid with steel construction. If you’re looking for a silo that can store bulk feed, hay, coal, powder products, food products, or other items safely and securely, steel is the more cost-effective option.

Steel Enables More-Efficient Silo Designs

There is only so much silo manufacturers can do with concrete. Concrete does not bend or adapt to changes in pressure like steel. Slip-frame concrete processes are continuous, meaning that rebar placement, timing, and quality of concrete will affect the final product. With steel, a silo can have a smaller diameter, taking up less room and providing greater storage capacity. Concrete silos are only more desirable if there is very limited space. It is easier, faster, and cheaper to build steel silos and install accessories.

Steel Provides Better Grain Aeration

If you’re storing grains, opt for a steel silo for better content aeration. It is easier and more effective to aerate grains in steel silos compared to concrete. Providing airflow in a tall, concrete silo is unreasonable compared to providing the same for shorter and wider steel silos. Steel silos also do not depend as much on outside temperatures to achieve the proper grain temperature, as lower grain depth leads to lower heat of compression in the aeration system, and thus no need for lower outside temperatures.

Steel Has Fewer Foundation Constraints

Building a concrete silo requires firm, solid soil to support the immense weight of the structure. Steel silos are lighter and more dynamic, and do not need soil to be a strong, stable structure. If you don’t have the load-bearing capacity to support concrete, steel might be your answer. Building a silo is a delicate process that requires special knowledge and tools. Farmyard to build your steel or hybrid silo according to your exact needs and custom specifications. Contact us today for more detailed information on structural steel fabrication and how it can meet the needs of your business

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