Silo cleaning and chemical application Cobalt/cadmium silo damage

Silo cleaning and chemical application Cobalt/cadmium silo damage

Silo cleaning with exceptional commitment to people and materials

Our specialists were commissioned to carry out a special order for silo cleaning and inspection in accordance with BetrSichV, for which there is actually no conventional maintenance concept. Challenges for which other companies in the industry no longer have a solution spur our experts on to tackle the problem anyway.

Conditions on site on the day of use:

The technically demanding, high-risk operation took place on one of the hottest days of the year with outside temperatures of 38 degrees Celsius. In addition to the heat, the hot and humid air made it increasingly difficult for the employees to breathe. Dressed in a Cat. II full chemical protection suit, this extreme operation was a particular challenge for man and material.

What was our mission?

We were asked for help because a production-disturbing patina had formed on the inner walls of a silo with a V4A stainless steel coating. This cobalt/cadmium satin patina, also known as a rough layer, is rare in conjunction with V4A stainless steel and is “considered by experts to be a vacant irreversible entry”. This is where the know-how of our experts is required.

Our job was to remedy the existing patina effect by means of a unique chemical-physical reaction so that no damage to the silo system would occur.

Unfortunately, we can only give a rough description of the scope of the job in our news section, as the operator of the plant asked us to exercise the utmost discretion. We have issued a comprehensive confidentiality agreement, which we will of course abide by. In addition to the legal significance of this declaration, keeping this promise is a matter of honor.

Fig. 1 – Damaged area

How was the order carried out by our employees?

As an expert surveyor, this work was carried out and supervised personally by our Managing Director Matthias Natusch. This was necessary due to the explosive nature of the job, as the work inside the silo was a high-risk job in addition to the challenging outside temperatures. Even the rope access activities at the silo facility are difficult in a Cat. II full chemical protection suit is a challenge. However, thanks to the safety concept and emergency plan that had been drawn up, there was never an uncalculated risk.

The cleaning of the deposits inside the silo was carried out safely and gently by our experts. The basis for successful order processing is a chemical principle that we developed together with the operator of the plant. This made it possible to eliminate all damage to the silo system without leaving any residue in a relatively short time. Due to the confidentiality of the method used, we are unfortunately unable to publish any further details of the operation. In summary, the job was carried out by our employees cleanly, competently and, above all, accident-free.

Fig. 2 – Completion image shows silo cone area

What was relevant in terms of safety during the work?

The expertise of the incident commander and medical staff was in high demand here. Constant monitoring of blood sugar, heart rate monitor and lactate measurement is essential in such a dangerous operation. The health of our specialists at work is our company’s greatest asset. For this reason, the relevant values were meticulously checked during order processing and documented in the safety protocol.

An exemplary safety concept was developed for these challenges before work began as part of the site inspection:

  • Extreme temperature of the external environment and inside the silo
  • Chemical volatility and reaction speed when applying the measure
  • Fatigue of personnel during use under extreme conditions
  • Problem organizing break and recovery times on site
  • Chemical and physical application hazards for people and materials

All work was carried out in strict compliance with the applicable safety regulations and thermobiological safety criteria. This issue is currently being clearly brought to the attention of the companies concerned by the employers’ liability insurance associations.

What special features had to be taken into account during the operation?

The exceptional nature of this work in the high-risk area should be emphasized. The operator of the silo system manufactures a patented product that is unique. Similar difficulties in order processing are not to be expected from other manufacturers in Germany. The extreme external conditions during the operation must be mentioned again and again. The implementation was only possible due to the well thought-out safety concept of the team leader and managing director.


The team will remember this challenging high-risk mission for a long time. Due to the complex risk situation, the work was very demanding. It is a tribute to the expertise of the operations team, which carried out the work reliably, safely, routinely and with the utmost care.

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