Cleaning your silo is a tall order

If you look at the average farming or agricultural facility, the tallest structure is likely to be a silo -these are used to store bulk materials like flour, sugar, maize, grain and animal feed.

With structures as tall and complex as these, it can be easy for products being stored in them to accumulate in hard-to-reach places. This poses a significant problem for those working in the agricultural industry, who need to keep the silo clean from spoilage and pest-free in order to conform to the stringent food safety requirements associated with housing food products for potential human consumption.

A silo deep cleaning strategy should feature high on the radar for all agricultural managers who use them during their production process and is a powerful tool in preventing infestations from rodents or Stored Product Insects (e.g. grain or rice weevils). It also plays an important role in ensuring a silo is kept operational all year round.


Skills, equipment and expertise

Cleaning a silo is no mean feat and requires a lengthy and detailed process that can interrupt everyday operations. To keep disruption to a minimum, it is recommended that a specialist hygiene team is brought in to carry out the cleaning.

Due to the mammoth size of these structures and their potential danger, specialist technicians will often use winching equipment in order to be lowered into the silo. As a result, the team tackling a silo clean must be fully trained in confined space entry, emergency rescue, and in the use of specific access and safety equipment, such as gas monitors and escape kits.

Using the correct ATEX-rated equipment is also of paramount importance, especially when working with dusty food stuffs like flour. Any spark from electrical equipment has the potential to ignite dust and cause an explosion - a very real possibility which is unfortunately realised every year across the world.

Rentokil Specialist Hygiene’s silo cleaning service uses dry methods, such as vacuum, brushes and scrapers, to clean the interior surfaces of silos as well as the top and sides of the silo.


No ‘one size fits all’ solution

Rentokil Specialist Hygiene Technicians are trained to know how to clean structures, depending on what they contain. Sugar, for example, can set like concrete, while flour is prone to clinging onto the side of the silo. In some instances, a thick layer of flour can become suspended or ‘bridged’ in mid-air, when the top layer has set and the flour beneath is emptied out. Each scenario requires slightly different methods of cleaning, which specialist technicians will be able to implement.


The benefits

Ensuring silos are regularly cleaned will help to protect agricultural farming operations from several issues. Preventing build-up of food stuffs will ensure regulatory compliance and minimise the risk of product spoilage. Deep silo cleaning also means the structure will remain productive all year round, avoiding the potential financial and reputational costs associated with unclean silos.

Silo managers and specialist cleaning teams should work together to implement this thorough cleaning routine. If you would like to find out more about how Rentokil Specialist Hygiene can help, get in touch or book in a free survey today.


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