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Bulk Storage

(Reproduced with permission from Dome Technology)


Concrete domes are the ideal structure for most bulk storage requirements:

40,000 tons Raw Phosphate Ore, J.R. Simplot in Pocatello, Idaho


The most common structural shapes for bulk storage are either vertical silos or horizontal "flat storage". The versatility of concrete dome construction allows a shape that will meet the intended storage requirements, whether tall like silos, with a low profile like flat storage, or any shape in between.


Concrete domes offer several advantages over conventional silos or flat storage:


Concrete domes have been constructed to store more than 90,000 tons of bulk material.

Environmental Control

The superior qualities of concrete domes are immediately evident in any setting where it is important to control temperature, humidity or air exchange.

Many bulk-stored products-including most fertilizers-are adversely affected by moisture. The concrete dome's single-ply roof membrane and insulation envelope assure water tightness, and virtually eliminate condensation. The insulation also prevents temperature cycling, which can cause product degradation.

The high-density shotcrete is fireproof, and extremely resistant to corrosion.

Filling and Reclaim of Concrete Domes

Concrete domes display great flexibility in both filling and reclaim methods.

Because a dome is typically filled by conveying material above and dropping it through one or more fill openings, product can be piled high against the walls. This means that a higher percentage of the dome's volume is utilized than is the case with flat structures, resulting in a correspondingly lower cost per ton of storage.

The Cambelt radial reclaimer

The Cambelt radial reclaimer, built by Cambelt International, is a simple, effective mechanical reclaim system that has been developed to take advantage of the dome's superior volume utilization and structural strength. The equipment occupies only a fraction of the interior space taken up by other mechanical reclaim systems, while allowing the automated extraction of virtually all of the product stored. The reclaiming equipment is designed to allow the dome to be completely filled, burying the reclaim equipment, and allowing maximum use of interior volume.

Service Access
Access for service of automated equipment is normally through a drive-in entrance. This entrance allows the use of front-end loaders as an auxiliary reclaim method. However, service access can be through an opening at the dome's apex, or anywhere else on the structure, as design and functionality requirements dictate.
Conveyor Support
The inherent strength of concrete domes also allows heavy loads from conveyors to be supported on top of the dome. As much as 175,000 lbs. (80 tons) of conveyor loads have been supported on the apex of the concrete domes.

The dome's compact shape and high internal volume utilization mean that conveyors can be shorter than those used with more conventional structures. Another significant saving results from the absence of many of the structural supports commonly used with conveyors.

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