ARK Agri has been contacted about several vertical walled silage clamps that have failed during use.
Some of these clamps are under 3 years old and the cost of repairing or replacing these walls will be significant. This is before the very real risk of injury and potential environmental damage of failing clamps is considered.
The most common problem is walls collapsing while in use. Firstly, this happens due to a lack of understanding about the way modern clamps are used. Secondly, the clamps have not been designed by an engineer.
If an engineer’s design exists, it might only be based on the British Standards which are out of date and do not reflect modern requirements.
If your clamp is built without an engineer’s calculations, it is impossible to know their limitations, so they are frequently exceeded. This ultimately leads to the collapse of the clamp wall.
This can be during filling, though most often happens afterwards, especially with one full clamp and one empty clamp. The wall of the full clamp collapses into the empty clamp next to it. The risk of an injury or fatality from a collapsing wall is very high.
These problems can be avoided if you request the following information from the company or engineer supplying or designing your clamps.
- What is the maximum fill height of this finished clamp across the face? For example, is it only designed to be filled level with the tops of the panels or can it be filled higher?
- What is the density of the silage this clamp is designed to hold (t/m³)? Grass, maize and whole crop all have different densities, which can be expressed as dry matter percentages as well.
- How close can the machinery used on the clamp be driven to the edge of the panel? Some designs mean that compacting machinery cannot operate within 4m of the inside edge of the wall, which is a significant flaw in a clamp that requires even distribution of the weight of compacting machinery.
- What is the maximum weight of the compacting machinery that can be used on this clamp, and how high up the panel can compaction safely occur? The best way to understand this is based on axle weight. Modern clamp machinery can weigh more than 20 tonnes. Compacting machinery will have 2 axles, which means a maximum axle weight would be 10 tonnes.
If you need help designing your silage clamp please get in touch with ARK on 01206 585090 or email email@example.com.