Snyder Industries Inc. has been using plastic silos and portable hopper bins to store, transport and mix its own resin throughout its plants nationally for more than 15 years.
Now, the rotational molder is marketing the products to the rest of the plastic industry.
“Snyder uses all the products we sell within our own plastic processing operation, which provides a strong testimonial of proven performance to prospective customers,” said Dale Ohlrich, dry handling systems manager, who recognized the sales opportunity about two years ago when he joined the company. Snyder is the seventh-largest North American rotomolder, according to Plastics News' recent ranking, with $64 million in annual sales.
“I am amazed at the lack of awareness about the merits of plastic silos and hopper bins for dry granular and powder material,” said Ohlrich, who spent most of his career designing metal vessels for dry materials-handling applications.
“Plastic silos and hopper bins can provide a much higher useful-life-to-cost ratio than metal products in most cases, and there are also many performance advantages when the system is designed correctly.”
The plastic vessels provide a seamless, one-piece, smooth interior silo surface up to 1 inch thick, which eliminates the weld or bolt seams associated with a metal container, improving material flow and providing a superior insulation barrier from the elements.
“Besides being more cost effective than their metal counterparts, the plastic silos and portable hopper bins have a translucent side wall that enables workers to monitor usage levels readily, which is a nice added benefit,” Ohlrich said.
Metal containers require a level sensor to monitor usage levels, which can be a relatively expensive addition to the materials-handling system's total cost.
While plastic silos and bins have a much thicker wall construction, they weigh substantially less, which can reduce handling and transportation costs. Other benefits include superior corrosion resistance and broader chemical compatibility, which ultimately decreases maintenance costs related to these issues and results in a longer useful life in most applications, he said.
Snyder's plastic silos and hopper bins can pass a drop dart test of 400 foot-pounds at minus 40° F, according to the company.
“You can hit the sidewall with a sledgehammer without denting the wall, which is obviously not the case with a metal product,” Ohlrich said.
The success of plastic dry materials-handling containers also is increasing in a variety other markets, like food, pharmaceutical and chemical applications.
“The plastics industry is fun to service because companies typically prefer to support their own kind, if they have a choice, particularly when the value is superior to the products currently used, like steel,” Ohlrich said.
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