Articles

Planning Design for Maintenance

Top View of Silo: Facility Equipment MaintenanceImage by Tom Fisk from Pexels

One of the biggest hurdles we face in the engineering department is designing a facility or structure that simplifies equipment maintenance and housekeeping.

Whether we are building a feed mill, a grinding building, a finished feed tower, or a receiving system, equipment maintenance and housekeeping must be considered part of the package.

Renovating or updating an existing facility is always a challenge. In this industry, it's a constant struggle to increase production—which means upgrading to new and larger equipment. Trying to fit this larger equipment into a given space and still have room for maintenance and housekeeping is not always possible. Often equipment has to be broken down and reassembled in place. The equipment can be "custom fabricated" with splice joints if necessary.

Receiving pits and tunnels are now designed with walkways on at least one side of conveyors. They have adequate headroom for access, sloped floor to a sump pit at one end to allow for hosing down, and as a means for pumping out any rain or groundwater that happens to get in. Pits are designed with a means of escape at both ends. They are ventilated and well-lighted. Conveyors and equipment are suspended from above to minimize support legs and obstructions that hinder the housekeeping process.

Receiving pits are also equipped with a dust collection system. Modern feed mills and grain handling facilities are designed with dust collecting systems to reduce the amount of dust in given areas. No matter how well a facility was designed for dust collection, it must be properly maintained and serviced regularly to be effective.

Designing for facility equipment maintenance and housekeeping may not be uppermost in your mind when you select a contractor, but it should certainly be one of the deciding factors.

Written by Donald T. Zajac, Drafting Project Leader