Grain Elevator

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Grain Elevator


a structure for storing and conditioning large amounts of grain; a highly mechanized silo-type granary.

Four types of grain elevator may be distinguished on the basis of function. Grain is taken directly from the field to storage and processing elevators. After the contaminants have been removed and the grain is dry, the grain is shipped from the elevator, which may have a capacity of 15,000–100,000 tons, to the consumer. Production elevators are facilities that are built at flour mills, groats mills, mixed-feed plants, and starch-dextrine plants and whose capacities range from 10,000 tons to 150,000 tons. Elevators used for long-term storage of grain handled at railroad facilities may be called depot elevators and have a capacity of 100,000–150,000 tons. Transfer and port elevators are elevators that are built at large railroad stations, in seaports, or at sites where grain is transferred from one form of transportation to another. Storage capacity for such elevators ranges from 50,000 tons to 100,000 tons.

An elevator consists of a number of connected cylindrical silos, or tanks, that are made of cast or precast reinforced concrete and that are usually 30 m high and 6–7 m in diameter. The silos adjoin a working space, where the primary production and transport equipment is located. Grain is lifted by conveyor from a receiving bin to the working space, where it is weighed, cleaned, and dried. Another conveyor carries the grain to a conveyor system that, operating overhead, dumps the grain into the silos. The grain is discharged to conveyors located beneath the silos through hoppers in the silo floors.

Some silos have equipment for disinfecting the grain and providing forced ventilation. Grain temperature is measured with thermometers suspended at different levels. Control of the machinery and mechanisms of a modern elevator is automated, and television is used in large elevators. The first silo-type elevator was built in 1845 in Duluth, Minn. The first such elevator in Russia was built at Nizhny Novgorod in 1887.

Elevators abroad may have rectangular steel or aluminum silos that have diameters of up to 30 m and that are as much as 60 m high.


Kulakovskii, A. B., and V. V. Fedoseev. Elevatory SSSR. Moscow, 1966.
Novoe v stroitel’stve zernokhranilishch i predpriiatii sistemy zagotovok. Moscow, 1972.


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