In the manufacturing sector of the cement industry, smooth operational flow is essential for success. Operational interruptions due to material blockages in the silo can be a nuisance for the facility operator. In the worst case scenario, a complete blockage can lead to several days of downtime, resulting in significant revenue losses that become evident at the end of the fiscal year. So, how can a material blockage be quickly addressed, and is there a possibility to take preventive action?
This article aims to explore ways to protect against material blockages up to complete blockages. NT Service GmbH is your professional and reliable partner for silo cleaning in the cement industry. Fig. 1 - Material Blockage in the Discharge Area of the Anhydrite Storage Facility
What conventional method is employed in the event of a material blockage in the silo?The silo system tapers down towards the discharge area, where the contents must pass through the narrowest point to exit. Agglomerated material increasingly compacts, blocking the flow. Manual poking from the discharge point inward to clear the blockage is a commonly used method. Facility personnel attempt, with significant time and effort, to remove the blockage. This approach incurs additional costs for the facility operator, who must divert employees from other tasks. Moreover, this method is not highly effective, as new material blockages are likely to form in the silo shortly after.
How can modern blasting technology serve as an intelligent solution to eliminate material blockages?
NT Service GmbH specializes in the application of targeted blasting technology for cleaning and troubleshooting silo systems in the cement industry. We have developed procedures that offer significant advantages compared to conventional measures:
• Rapid and efficient removal of material blockages
• Targeted explosions protect the delicate silo walls during cleaning
• Minimal time spent on blasting cleaning saves labor costs
• Cost advantages for the facility operator over traditional measures
• Regular silo cleanings pay off in the long run
An important aspect for the facility operator is that both material blockage and silo cleaning are carried out by us as specialists. Therefore, there is no need to assign in-house personnel to tasks that would be missed elsewhere in production. Fig. 2 - Impact of Blasting on Dislodged Material Fragments
How do our experts proceed with blasting cleaning?
A prerequisite for deployment is the exemplary safety concept, discussed and documented by the team leadership with all involved personnel. This concept comprehensively covers the period from exploring the situation in the silo system to the final approval of the work by the facility operator. Fig. 3 - Semtex is a brand name for a type of plastic explosive
Trained specialists use extensively practiced rope access techniques to navigate the interior of the silo system. Working on ropes allows experts to precisely reach every point, which would not be technically feasible or cost-effective with scaffolding in the silo. The locations for blasting are accurately identified, and corresponding boreholes are set. The blasting master then selects the appropriate explosive, and the boreholes are filled.
After the personnel have left the silo, the pre-calculated detonation of individual charges occurs at intervals predetermined by the blasting master. The silo blockage is resolved in the first attempt, and the crushed material can be suctioned out or naturally exit the silo. During blasting, we conduct vibration measurements as evidence that the delicate silo walls, the silo ring, and the fittings have not sustained any damage.
What are the advantages for the silo operator in the cement industry? Fig. 4 - skilled worker performing blasting charge
Blasting cleaning performed by trained experts is faster and more effective than conventional measures for cleaning and resolving material blockages in silos. These advantages are significant for the silo operator:
• Shorter downtime of the facility• Reduced production loss• Less time required for problem resolution• Lower labor costs for in-house personnel• Improved overall efficiency of the silo system
Regular cleaning cycles of the entire silo system prevent production losses due to material blockages. In the long run, it is cost-effective for the facility operator to have a continuously operational facility through regular maintenance and cleaning. Regular blasting cleaning carried out by specialists reduces operating costs and leads to higher operational results in the cement industry.
In conclusion, a special consideration:
Every operation entails some risk to people and materials. Only experts with decades of experience and the know-how for these operations should face these challenges.
The NT Service GmbH team is familiar with all safety regulations and standards and undergoes continuous training based on the latest insights. Safety always takes precedence in our work!