Structural Engineering with Dennis
|Employed at TSC||Since November 2013|
From parameters to silo
The development of square silos. How exciting can this be? It is a question that TSC Silos staff members are frequently asked. This is sufficient reason to delve deeper into our world. In this article, Structural Engineer Dennis Bossink describes his profession; calculating solid silo constructions. A wonderfully dynamic job full of challenges, according to the enthusiastic professional.
More than a silo
At the start of the conversation, Dennis makes it instantly clear: “Many people think a silo is only the cylindrical storage of bulk goods. However, our square silos go much further than that. We build entire constructions as an integrated component of factories all over the whole world. Thanks to our knowledge of various norms and location-specific parameters we can design and calculate constructions that can resist all types of weather conditions, meet the architectural points of departure and naturally also the wishes of the client.”
“We build entire constructions as an integrated component of factories all over the world.”
Parameter 1: Location-specific variables
The construction that TSC designs, calculates and builds must be able to withstand the forces of nature and adhere to the local norms. Dennis nods enthusiastically and explains: “Every project is completely different thanks to these location-specific variables. This makes the work beautiful and challenging. For example, there are many location-specific parameters globally that we include in our calculations. In China almost no tolerances are accepted, in America we have to bear in mind hurricanes and in Norway snow load is a major factor.”
Parameter 2: Architectural specifications
Each silo is unique, because each factory is different. For example, Dennis and his team were responsible for designing a silo that had to be built in a huge historical South African factory. The team devised an inventive method to bring the silo segments into the building through a window and to construct it, because the inner walls and roof had to be kept intact during construction.
Dennis also remembers the client who wanted to place his silo directly above a railway line well. The construction not only had to resist the vibrations of the trains passing below, but also be fire resistant for 90 minutes. A specially-designed construction with fire-resistant coating made this possible.
In England, a client realised only during the construction of his factory, where he had designed a round silo, that a square silo offered him more possibilities. A silo was designed on location in just one day from anchors in the foundation up to and including the attachment of the roof construction. Dennis proudly concludes: “After completing such projects, you pause and think… ‘Wow, we really did make it happen!’ It is a challenge to keep our clients as well as ourselves satisfied with inventive solutions that initially seemed impossible!”
“It is a challenge to keep our clients as well as ourselves satisfied with inventive solutions”
Parameter 3: User specifications
Every bulk good has its own weight and characteristics, consider mutual cohesion, vulnerability, rawness, hardness, internal movement, flow rate, temperatures, etc. For brewing beer barley and malt are stored in the silo compartments. The raw materials for compound feed can vary daily. Sand and gravel are used for industrial applications, for example. Dennis: “These parameters are important points of departure for designing the ultimate chute and silo wall. Using our calculations, we can advise the client perfectly on issues such as pressure relief, wall strength, coating, safety, accessibility, hygiene, wear resistance and possible risks.”
Learn today, apply tomorrow
Dennis has developed his own program together with colleague Oscar, among others, in which the recurring parameters such as natural phenomena, local norms and the properties of bulk goods are determined. Dennis: “Naturally, there are already many tools, but silos have to meet so many requirements that we have developed an in-house calculation program for this. In this way we reduce the duration time of a project, always meet the local norms and work in a way that is secure and reliable. The program keeps constantly developing.”
Master of Structural Engineering
It is the task of Dennis and his colleagues to design a stable, strong and rigid construction on the basis of all parameters which can be carried out in practice and stays within the client´s budget. A task that the TSC takes extremely seriously. So seriously that Dennis, engineer in constructive design with six years of experience as an engineer, recently had to delve further into his knowledge of steel construction by starting a masters in structural engineering (MSEng). Dennis: “The course primarily taught me to look at the design of a silo construction differently. I learned to not only focus on the silo, but to view the entire construction and the design of the building and be able to calculate it by using a helicopter view. This integral approach ensures a better design and better value for money, making it more competitive. Another benefit of my masters is that we can now carry out complex issues such as fold instability and steel fatigue calculations in-house. A major benefit for the client, because we can switch even faster these days.”
Dennis is currently sharing his newly acquired knowledge of Structural Engineering with his colleagues and colleague Namer has also signed up for the course.