Climate issues affecting Silos & Hoppers

According to statistics issued by Nasa, since 1980 global temperatures have increased by 1.7 degrees fahrenheit, with 16 of the 17 warmest years on record, all occurring after 2001. It is therefore clear that climate climate change has already had a significant global impact and this is only going to intensify. Now, is the time to find out how climate issues are affecting you and your business and invest in a solution to minimise them.

How do climate issues affect Silos and Hoppers?

Humidity and temperature can have a significant influence upon the flow properties of bulk materials, particularly powders. Increasing temperature fluctuations and adverse weather conditions caused by climate change, can thus leave silos and hoppers prone to developing ratholing and material bridging issues. These issues can cause major inefficiencies in material production, costing you time, money and potentially structural damage.


If the materials stored in silos and hoppers are ill-suited to the humidity levels of their storage environment, even the smallest increase in moisture can have an adverse effect upon the properties of a material. In humid environments, powders will absorb moisture and as a result their cohesive strength will increase.

This will therefore increase particles susceptibility to bonding together, which will cause caking and unwanted buildup. Not only with this hinder the flowability of materials but will additionally leave silos and hoppers more likely to develop ratholing and bridging issues


An increase in temperature can cause metal silos to become damp on their interior walls and then transfer this moisture to the materials which they store. As mentioned above, powders readily absorb moisture, but in addition to caking and flowability issues, this can also have a structural impact.

The absorption of moisture by stagnant materials will cause these masses of material to expand, which can impose a significant amount of pressure upon silo and hopper walls. Applying stress to interior walls has the potential to propagate cracks and signs of wear in equipment.

Furthermore, if metal silos and hoppers are stored outside, additional structural stresses will be caused when metal walls expand during the day, as temperatures increase and contact at night, as temperatures cool. As climate change will cause these fluctuations in temperature to become more severe, the damage they can cause will also increase.

What are the disadvantages of traditional climate issue solutions?

An effective method of dealing with climate issues should be a process that maximises the efficiency of silos and maintain the quality of their working form into the future.However, the few traditional solutions that are available, only target specific and current problems, meaning they do not prevent problems from reoccurring in the future, and in some cases can exasperate them.

  • Silo Dehumidification Systems are designed to expel moisture and prevent the build up of condensation. However, whilst to a certain extent they’re effective, this method is costly, energy intrusive and only deals with the one problem. Additional expenditure will therefore be needed to invest in further solutions for preventing ratholing and material bridging, as humidity is not the only cause of material build up.
  • Vibrators offer a high impact method, in which vibrations are transmitted through silo walls to promote mass flow. However, whilst vibrators are easy to fit into empty silos and can provide a time and cost efficient solution, the structural damage they can cause is long-lasting. Unless silo’s are built to withstand powerful vibrations, vibrators therefore risk working to intensify climate issues and add additional stresses to silo and hopper walls. This could result in metal fractures, mechanical failure and ultimately plant shutdown.

What are the benefits of using Acoustic cleaners to deal with climate issues?

Acoustic Cleaning is a non intrusive technology, which provides a long-term solution to problems intensified by climate change. Not only do Acoustic Cleaners efficiently eradicate material build up, ratholes and bridging issues, more importantly, they prevent them from occurring again.

Primasonics Acoustic cleaners create a series of high energy- low frequency sound waves, which penetrate stagnant masses of materials with rapid pressure fluctuations. By using alternating frequencies, acoustic cleaners are able to target particles that have different masses and therefore travel at different speeds.As a result, the compacted materials will vibrate at different rates to their surrounding environment, causing them to debond from each other and dislodge from surfaces.

  • Economical

Unlike traditional hopper and silo solutions, acoustic cleaners can tailor their frequency to deal appropriately with different issues, thus providing an incredibly valuable investment.The appropriate frequency is determined by the amount of product build up, its adhesiveness, the natural vibration frequency of the compacted material and the distances needed to reach.Acoustic Cleaners can therefore adapt to deal with the continuing fluctuations in temperatures and humidity levels caused by climate change over time, eradicating the need to invest in multiple units and solutions.

  • Non Intrusive

Acoustic Cleaners are designed to reflect sound from solid surfaces. Therefore, the powerful sound waves that they transmit can only penetrate the targeted materials and not the silo and hopper side walls.Therefore, unlike vibrators and explosive cleaning methods, acoustic cleaners will not contribute to any stress or pressure on silo and hopper walls and only work to maintain their working efficiency.