We had been asked if we could manufacture a racking system to store 2m long trims for a customer. The brief was for a rack 2m tall x 1m wide x 2m deep, with multiple slots to store trims and edging that can be up to 2m long. The new rack will allow the trims to be stored flat, thus preventing damage and give designated picking slots for the warehouse staff when compiling customer orders.
The rack was fabricated from 1mm galvanised sheet steel, 25 off 2m x 1m sheets were used, the end frames from 25 x 25 RSA. The design used vertical sheets, with pressed planks forming the shelves, all of which has been riveted and bonded together. The weight of the finished rack is 467kg, using 25 sheets of steel, 6 lengths of RSA, 4 tubes of adhesive and 480 rivets.
We have completed the fabrication of three tunneling seals and a two piece jacking rail.
Two of the tunneling seals were for a 760mm diameter pipe, to be fitted in a 4.5m diameter shaft. The plates are 1250 x 1250 x 10mm with a 900mm diameter hole for the pipe to go through, a rubber gasket is bolted with a clamp ring to the plate to form the seal. The third seal was the same size but for a 8.2m diameter shaft.
The jacking rails were in two sections, one section was 4.2m long, weighing 450kg, fabricated from column sections, angles, profiled plates and circular hollow section spaced to push a 760mm pipe through the seal. The second section was 2.65m long, weighing 180kg, fabricated from angles, profiled plates and circular hollow sections. The second section bolts to the first making a rail 6.85m long.
A new customer at a food factory contacted us about a couple of issues they had with a flour silo. Initially they had thought that they were getting water ingress through their explosion vent, but more concerning was a issue of rodents gaining access to the bottom of the silo. After an initial inspection, it was found that the original panel had started to delaminate as the plastic membrane made sustained UV damage. At the time it did not appear to be letting water ingress, but with the aging sustained it was our recommendation that this be replaced with the addition of an Ex-Cover to help prevent UV and weather damage.
To prevent rodents from getting into the bottom of the silo, stainless steel rodent mesh was fitted.
We were contacted by a customer who had issues with their original explosion relief leaking, both flour out when the silo was filled and moisture in. The original panel was an aluminium tray held down in three places with tabs designed to shear in the event of an explosion. The replacement was fabricated in aluminium, with an angle flange bolted to the existing up stand and a new disc to then fit a Fike explosion relief vent. At the same time we fitted a new larger capacity dust filter. We then carried out an internal clean.
We have carried out extensive cleaning work for a customer, jet washing the roofs and walls of a large industrial bakery, plus externally washing down their flour silos and yeast plant. The project involved working at height using MEWPs to gain access to the outside walls. The cleaning was done with industrial cold water pressure washers, as well as by hand in areas that could be jetted such as louvres.
Some internal cleaning has also been completed in a former cold store that is being converted into a production facility. The internal walls and ceiling had a build up of dust and grime which had to be washed with water using flat mops. Access being gained by scissor lift and cherry picker.
The customer has had issues with the base seal of some flat bottom corrugated silos supplied by another company, over time the seal has broken down and water ingress has occurred. The result being that the panels and the base ring have corroded, plus the stored product has been damaged. We sourced new panels, cleaned up the base angles, fabricated some new holding down brackets and where required repaired the angle. A new base seal was laid, the customer had a painting contactor spray the bottom of the panel inside and out.
A local community centre had a small mezzanine floor in a storage area that needed improved safe access/fall protection to comply with regulations. Given the limited space available we could not fit a fixed ladder, the only option being a removable ladder that hooked onto a fixed bracket. The original handrail did not comply with regulations, as there was not mid rail or kicker, but had netting fitted instead. To comply with regulations and protect against falls, we installed tubular handrail standards to give an overall rail height of 1100mm, a mid rail at 550mm and the addition of a kicker rail. A self closing gate at the top of the ladder to give easy access. The ladder is an industrial alloy access ladder 605mm wide with 11 rungs 3" deep to give safe stable access that when not in use can be removed to prevent unauthorised access and not interfere with access to the storage area under the mezzanine. Being an alloy ladder it is also light weight and thus easy to handle.
Another weird and wonderful job completed for Snap On UK, an exhibition piece to demonstrate their latest 9075 cordless impact wrench. The brief was to create a stand to hold a lorry wheel so that customers could try out their impact wrenches, Marrying up an old lorry wheel hub to a hollow section stand and then giving it a coat of clear polyurethane paint resulted in what is almost a piece of steampunk artwork.
We have been told that the stand looked great and worked well, so a very successful project. It has even been used by Guy Martin with plenty of videos on facebook.
Previously we had made a stand for a Land Rover wheel that they used in last years show, along with some stands to display their range of air tools.
Agora Services have recently supplied two flat bottom corrugated silos to Takoradi Flour Mill, to be used for storing and distributing wheat, this is effectively a transfer station. The silos are 17.77 m diameter, 21 m tall, with a 28 degree conical roof and are the largest that they have installed. These have been supplied with a heavy duty pressed steel gantry, hot dip galvanised to prevent corrosion, decked with open mesh floor grid. There is also a 25 m tall elevator tower, complete with 28.5 m tall 200 tph belt and bucket elevator, with maintenance platforms and access ladders. A new 200 tph chain and flight intake conveyor, 13.6 m long which is being installed in a cast concrete drive over tip ramp. The intake will feed into the elevator, which in turn feeds a 200 tph over silo chain and flight conveyor.
Outloading the wheat will be done using screw augers at 90 tph, measuring 12.7 m from centre of inlet to centre of outlet, fabricated in two parts for easy of installation and transport. The main section being 10.4 m overall length and the head section being 3.15 m overall length, the outloading auger can easily be transported by container. The outloading augers have two additional bleed spouts, once the angle of repose has been reached from the centre intake hopper, these are opened to drain the wheat from round the sweep auger. The sweep auger will then slowly rotate round the silo, pushing the wheat into the centre hopper and discharging via the outloading auger. The sweeps are 90 tph and fitted with sensors to halt the progression until the screw has cleared the grain, progression is achieved using a toothed wheel and track. The advantage of the track is that it gives positive traction, if the grain slides down it can't knock the sweep auger backwards, there is also not lose of traction as the wheel can't slip on the floor.
The wheat is feed from the outloading auger into a 100 tph chain and flight recovery conveyor, 18.5 m long. This feeds an existing elevator to load a new rectangular outloading silo with is elevated above the plant operators control room. The grain being loading into lorries for onward transport.
Our customer has now received all the parts and has been erecting the corrugated silos, one is up completely and the second has just four rings of panels remaining. They have started to install the steelwork for the outloading silo, which is being built on top of a concrete structure that will form the electrical plant room and operators office. This was the customers preferred option to raise the height of the outloading silo but not increase the steelwork required, quite an ingenious and cost effective solution.
As we get more news and photos regarding the install of this project we will add them to the article.
Our 160 tonne CNC pressbrake in action folding up some racking shelves for a customer. These shelves have been laser profiled from 1.5mm galvanised steel, with eight folds to form the shelf. The original shelve were painted, but we have used the galvanised steel as a hard wearing alternative. The racking is boltless, the slots in the sides of shelf simply slot onto louvres on the vertical legs.
Agora Services have retro fitted six new hot dip galvanised steel hoppers for a customer in some Brice Baker silos. The customer had concerns regarding the ingress of water, which could have effectd the stored product and asked Agora to look into repairing them. After an initial consultation and an internal inspection, it was deemed that the main silo structure was still in reasonable condition and did not require replacing. Water ingress and fatigue had caused damage to the original hopper panels where they rested on the chine ring, rain water had caused corrosion at this point meaning that the panels could leak. The problem was with the original design and construction, the panels hang over the chine and are bolted down with clamps holding a base ring for the cylinder. As with all silos, being filled and emptied on a regular basis, there are stress's place on these panels causing them to flex. The result in this case was that the top of the hopper was starting to rust through.
We designed a new chine ring insert to bolt to the inside of the exist rolled channel, with a hopper skirt welded in place. Once fabricated, with the addition of gusset plates, this new chine is very strong and does not need the silo to be dismantled to replace the hopper. In the original Brice Baker design the cylinder is fixed over the hopper panels, meaning that they can't be simply unbolted and replaced.
The first step for installation meant cutting out the original hopper, leaving the section of this under the cylinder in place. The channel, the remaining section of the hopper panels, the clamp plates and the base ring of the cylinder were cleaned up with a wire brush and a painted. We then marked out and drilled the channel to bolt in the new insert. The hopper panels then fix to the skirt and finally an outlet cone is fitted ready for a new set of slides and a new conveyor system.
Pipe adapter fabricated for a customer to suit a 915 mm outside diameter pipe. This will be welded to the end of a steel pipe that is going to be installed using tunnelling technology with a rotating cutting head.
The cylinder is made up of 15 mm rolled plate, with two hatches to allow access to the bolts holding the cutter head in place. The cutting head is sleeved in the end with a reinforced ring machined to suit and held in place with four bolts.
Agora have also made several entrance and exit seals for these types of tunneling machine for use in both flat and curved shafts.
Agora have fabricated a modular sound proof acoustic enclosure for a local tool company for their service engineers to test both electrical and pneumatic power tools without the need for ear protection being used. The customer had been give a basic concept by their sound engineer following an appraisal, the idea being to fabricate a steel box lined with melamine foam wrapped loosely with melinex film. To work the film has to be loose and cannot have any contact with the frame or the inner layer of steel mesh.
The box needed to be able to be dismantled easily for cleaning due to oil splashing off the tools. With this in mind we came up with a design based on a box within a box. The inner box was fabricated from perforated galvanised steel, with the front being open for access. Individual pressed box panels were then made for the base, back, top and sides. These were made to be open on the inside face to allow the acoustic foam insulation to be installed without the risk of damaging the 23 micron film. To hold the panels together toggle latches had been used, meaning that no tools are required for assembly or cleaning procedures. A trip tray was also included to catch the majority of the oil. The entrance of the box was to then have a rubber opening so that operatives can push the tools through. The acoustic insulation and the rubber were fitted by the customer.
They are currently running a trial on this system and if approved are set to order a further 17 units.
Agora have been asked to make some jigs for holding leather covers whilst they are sprayed with glue prior to being applied to upholstery. The initial enquiry was for a mild steel fabrication with a powder coat finish, but that weight was a key issue, as the operative would be handling these frames constantly. The system used previously was light weight, but had little strength and thus flexed about making them awkward to handle. Given the brief we suggested that the mild steel be substituted for aluminium, saving on weight and with the advantage of not needing a coating for corrosion prevention. The customer had voiced concern that aluminium could become damaged by the clips used to hold the leather in place and thus stainless was used for the profiled plates. Whilst the aluminium frames are welded, the stainless plates have had to be bonded to the frame.
The customer has found the first set of jigs to be a success and has since had a second set, with a view to changing more of their production to use the same system. The advantage being that the heaviest frame was only approximately 2.9 kg in weight, yet was stiff, making handling the frames easier.
When boring tunnels in areas where water can be a problem, a seal is used to push the machine and tunnel sections through. This means that the water can be kept out of the shaft or tunnel that the machine starts from. We have in recent months fabricated a number of these for a client, these have been curved to suit different sized round shafts, but we have also altered an existing unit for use in a square shaft.
Agora have fabricated 2000 pressed galvanised steel racking dividers to help a local warehouse keep items in separate locations for order picking. These were only small, 424 mm x 195 mm and 16 mm return flanges on four sides with various cut outs to suit the racking. They are to be bolted into the exist small parts racking to make designated picking locations to avoid items being miss-picked and reduce dispatch errors.
The bollards were made to order, using 100 mm square hollow section with a fully welded and gusseted base plate. To help prevent damage to the bollards, forklifts and goods being moved on pallets or trolleys, a rubber D fender was fixed to the front of bollard. These had been made for one area of the warehouse racking as single units standing at the end of the aisle to protect a steel clad wall. In another area as pairs fitted either side of the aisle at one end to prevent forklifts from coming out into a pedestrian walkway. The pairs had cut back base plates to fit closer to the forklift floor guide rails and thus were handed. The finish being yellow and black painted strips, photos below.
We have since made some pressed galvanised shelf fronts to replace damaged parts in their small items racking.
Agora had been asked by a new customer to carryout a number of silo inspections in the South East of England. In total six locations were inspected over a three day period, using a trailer mounted towable cherry picker to gain access. The inspection was to identify potential problems or faults with the silos and their ancillary equipment.
Various problems were identified, the main issue being with the over/under pressure relief valves on most of the silos and damage to the shut off valves in the hopper. One silo having a restricted flow due to a blockage in the hopper. Where possible the pressure relief valves were cleaned out and a visual inspection made to check that the springs still closed the valve plates and were not stuck/obstructed. It was found that two silos needed these valves replacing, access is an issue for the maintenance of these valves as like many of this type of cement batching silos there is no access ladder to the roof. Some photos of what we found are below:
The silo that had become blocked was cleared out initially by removing the lumps that were free moving and rodding the outlet to draw the cement out through the auger screw. Once the majority was cleared and saved for use in the batching lorries, the outlet cone was removed and the solid lump broken out of the valve. There were signs on water ingress from the cone flange that had caused the blockage, this was cleaned up, the foam seal removed and all lumps scrapped out. We also removed the aeration pads as they had become damaged / collapsed, were not working and had help to cause the build up of cement. The lump in the butterfly valve had become so hard that the operators had torn the blade trying to open and close it to break up the blockage. As the valve is a non standard unit, we could not replace it at the time and instead welded the blade to make a temporary repair. We will be returning to this silo to change the shut off valve shortly, but will have to also replace the flanges on the cone and the auger for a standard off the shelf valve to fit. This will have to be done at a couple of sites, along with changing the pressure relief valves (PRV) on the roofs.
Like all items of plant, silos, plus their ancillaries, do require regular inspection and maintenance. This will help to ensure that they are in good working order and minimize down time by identifying problems before they become a serious issue. Faults found can then be dealt with through a planned maintenance period rather than a breakdown situation. If this type of service is of interest to you please contact us.
We have been back to the sites owned by this customer to inspect their silos again as part of a regular maintenance program and have identified other problems that would have effected the safe running of the plants. One of the main problems identified has been with the over/under pressure relief valves becoming blocked. There are various reasons for this to happen. It could be due to a general build up of dust in layers around the valve, this would be gradual and can be prevented by regular cleaning, which we have done each time we inspect. Another reason is overfilling the silo, material is jammed up into the valve and can clog it, which we think has happened here. If this material then becomes damp it will set and prevent the valve from working, giving a potential for the silo to become over pressured. This can only be prevented by making sure that you know how much material you have in the silo before trying to fill it again, or making sure that the high level probe is in full working order and that the delivery driver knows to stop once the alarm has sounded. Where silos are being over filled we would recommend that a protection system be used, an alarm sounds and if filling is not stopped a valve shuts off the in take pipe.
The photographs above show some ventilation fan bases and canopies for a local tunnelling company. These will be fitted out with Elta ventilation fans and silenced for use in built up areas such as London. The robust design allows for the units to be picked up either by forklift or crane using lifting chains with lugs. We have fabricated 6 units 4.2 m long and 2 smaller units at 2.5 m.
A new wood fibre silo manufactured by Agora Services has been installed at Bristol. The main contractor contacted Agora to design, fabricate, supply and install a smooth wall bolted plate silo for storing wood fibres used in the manufacture of plasterboard. The fibres are mixed with the plaster to reinforce the board.
The silo is based on our standard modular bolted system, 5.35m diameter and 12m tall. For drainage purposes the roof was designed to be a 2% sloped pitch, preventing water from sitting on the durbar. Given the nature of the stored product and the fact that it does not flow easily, a planetary discharger has been used to pull material into a central discharge point. Materials are then dropped into the conveying system installed by the main contractor. To use a planetary discharger, a flat floor is fitted inside the silo to support the material, the screw of the discharger then pulls it into the middle and out of the silo. The under side on this floor can be seen in the photos and is supported by a number of column legs. The silo skirt then encloses the space under the floor, effectively forming a plant room to contain the drive for the discharger and the conveying equipment.
The roof was fitted with three Fike explosion relief panels, a dust filter and an over/under pressure relief valve. Positions for level probes and a man access hatch. A bridge from the building on to the roof, fully hand railed and fitted with a kicker rail for safe access to these items for maintenance. An additional side access hatch has been fitted to the cylinder wall in the fourth ring of panels to gain access to the internal floor level. This hatch has been made to open inwards for safety, if material is present in the silo the door cannot be opened. Therefore, minimising the risk of operatives becoming trapped and alleviating the potential for material to escape through the hatch in error.
The main contractor have used a small Morillon unit, with a hydraulic drive motor. By liaising with both the client and Morillon the required opening and fixing points were incorporated into the floor design. All of this made possible with the aid of cad drawings and email.
To ensure the long service of the silo, the finish is hot dip galvanised. This is a distinct advantage of using a modular bolted construction. Offering a quality, long lasting and more cost effective alternative to the painted finishes available on welded silos. The bolted construction also allows for larger silos to be build, with the advantage that transporting the unit to site can be done on standard lorries without having to be wide loads.
Agora Services have supplied a replacement corrugated silo for a valued customer in Takoradi. The new silo is 12.45m diameter and 18.3m tall, with a 28 degree sloped conical roof.
The original silo was installed in the 1970's, so has lasted quite well, particularly as it is situated in a port installation and subject to salt spray in the air. The problem that we had was that the original silo roof was a 35 degree slope, which is no longer available, new silos are only offered with 28 degree. The original gantry is still in position supporting the conveying system, the height of which cannot be changed. As the new silo has the same number of rings to the cylinder, but a lower roof peak height, a solution was needed to give the correct final height to support the center of the gantry. After some careful consideration we came to the conclusion that the best solution was to fabricate an extension to our standard roof centre collar. This will be bolted into place over the centre collar extending up just short of the gantry, a second ring to this is then raised with jacking bolts to the underside of the gantry. This means that we have some adjustment in height. The only other alternative would have been to make up a special top ring of panels at the correct theoretical height required. Whilst this sounds like the ideal solution, the gantry has a diagonal brace down to the trestle leg and would have had to be removed which would not be possible.
The silo and the special centre collars are currently being shipped to the customer and should arrive within the next three weeks. As and when we get information from the customer we will add this to the website. Hopefully, everything will go according to plan and the new silo will be erected under the existing gantry with little complication.
The container has been received and construction is underway. The customer has opted to lower the gantry down onto the silo rather than try lifting the silo under the gantry. Having already filled the other silos in the row, the conveyor was dismantled and the gantry lowered. The photos above were kindly sent by the customer.
They hope to have the silo erected by the end of the week.
The new silo has now been erected, but still needs to be anchored to the concrete base, the gantry decking installed and the conveyor rebuilt. The customer will shortly be able fill it with wheat.
Agora have fabricated three galvanised structures to support equipment for two digestion plants.
The newest site needed a platform to support a separator filtering solid materials such as plastic and grit out of effluent used in their digesters to produce electricity and organic fertilizer. The platform had to be sited over a split level concrete based, with a steep slope to the lower level, the difference in level being just over one metre. Thus, a special base frame was designed to allow one side of the columns to be built in the air over the slope. This was an interesting little platform to design. The machine on top feeds the liquid into a small tank and the solid drops directly into a skip for disposal.
The older site had two platforms, both of which support equipment that improve the air quality within the building.
Each platform is accessed via a fixed caged ladder.
The platform at latest site is now being extended to accommodate two more separators, increasing the plan size from 2.5m x 2.3m to a much larger 8m x 4.1m. This includes a 1.8m cantilever section along the 8m length to allow a 40 yard skip to be placed under the three machines. This is a significant increase in size and has taken some thought in how to design the additional space without causing access problems for the delivery and collection of the skip. All components has been fabricated and we await the opportune moment to install.
New picking trolleys for international tool retialer warehouse. Agora Services fabricated these trolleys to suit the needs of the distribution warehouse. The design brief was that these had to be used in the tight isles within the warehouse, allowing two trolleys to pass in the same isle. The shelves had to be capable of carrying three distribution crates each with enough room to allow the operatives hands to hold the handle without catching the crates. The load capacity being approximately 250kg.
The paint finish was colour matched to customers corporate colour scheme, colour code having been provided by the customer.
From the information given these trolleys will carry millions of pounds of tools per year.
When an Asian flour miller wanted to increase their gram flour storage capacity they came to Agora as a local silo manufacturer. We looked at the existing silos, the area where the new silo wanted to be positioned and the access into the building. After considering the restricted height and access, we opted to fabricate the silo in a sectional bolted form. The cylinder being a fully welded ring with angle flanges top and bottom to connect to the roof and the hopper. The total volume of the silo is 29.39 cubic metres and will store flour milled from chickpeas prior to packaging.
The flour is conveyed by pneumatic blow line both into the silo and out. The discharge is via a vibratory bin discharger through a rotary valve. An additional slide valve has been added to the setup to allow work to be carried out on the rotary valve without causing any problems for the other silos discharging through the same blow line.
The customer did not want to vent the explosion relief though the roof and as the silo was not close enough to an external wall, a flame quench system was added. This system allows the silo to vent into the building in the event of an explosion. Designed for use with square/rectangular explosion vents, the system consists of various layers of high temperature stainless steel which absorb heat produced during the combustion. This allows conventional venting to be done indoors with no release of flame.
Recycled glass silos designed and fabricated by Agora Services for RDT of Australia. These have been installed as part of a new waste recycling plant at Leyland, Lancashire.
The silos have been designed to hold up to 100 tonnes of waste glass each. Construction was on the heavy side for silos of their size, being 4.5m diameter internally, and 7m height from the underside of the flange on the outlet cone to the top stiffening angle. Due to the abrasive nature of broken glass the hopper was fabricated from 8mm thick steel plate and the cylinder from 6mm plate. The overall height including the steelwork being approximately 8.4m from the base plinths.
Initially RDT had specified a semi welded design, with a paint finish. Agora suggested a standard fully modular bolted construction, which would have been more cost effective to fabricate and could be fully galvanised. Concerns were raised regarding a potential build up of material on ledges in the hopper, thus a compromise solution was found.
The final design was of a welded hopper, split into three section, two making up the upper section and a lower cone. These were flanged externally to prevent ledges from potentially causing hang ups of material and minimise bridging. The cylinder was agreed to be of a standard bolted construction, but the panels overlapped on the inside, again to minimise potential ledges that material could catch. The fastenings used in the cylinder panels being dome headed silo/tank bolts. Modular cylinder panels and the support steelwork could then be galvanised. However, the hopper sections were too large and thus given a hot zinc metal spray finish to the outside surfaces. As the glass material to be passed through the hoppers would be highly abrasive it was deemed that any internal coat to the hopper would be very rapidly worn away and thus unnecessary. Given that hot metal spraying is an expensive finish, the internal hopper surface was thus left plain.
This is part of the much larger W2R project at Leyland, building a household waste recycling plant, to stop the disposal of household waste by landfill. Items such as glass, metal and plastic are to be separated out for recycling, the remaining organic materials to be composted. The aim of the local authority is to eventually have no disposal by landfill, thus being environmentally friendly.
Moving six aluminium silos for a customer from one site that is being closed down to two other sites. The project involved the taking down and transport of the silos to their new installation sites, the fabrication of new caged aluminium silo ladders complete with rest platform and pneumatic conveying pipework.
Two silos have been moved to the first site, with work carried out to install the new ladder. Pipework has been installed to fill the silos from a bag tip within the factory and a separate tanker fill point. Material will be drawn from the silo by vacuum through a drier and onto the extrusion lines.
The other four silos were installed at a second site, the project included the fitting of an aluminium ladder and rest platform on one silo, as pictured above. The safety cage was manufactured at our Kettering factory as a modular bolted system, with the rest platform being a welded aluminium structure. Fitting the ladder and platform to the silo wall meant welding bracket plates in-situ whilst the silo lay on it's side awaiting installation. Bolting the ladder, the platform and the safety cage to the silo prior to craning the silo onto the concrete base.
As the silo base/foundation was to be on an existing concrete slab, the anchors for the silos had to be predrilled and chemically set with resin before lifting into place. Positioning the anchors accurately meant that the erection of the silos went without a hitch. Preparation was a key factor as the first three silos lifted up and anchored within a day using two cranes.
The row of three silos still uses the original access ladder.