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Modeling a Grain Bin for Safe Entry Anchor Point Retrofit

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2022 ASABE Annual International Meeting  2200697.(doi:10.13031/aim.202200697)
Authors:   Serap Gorucu, Michael Dyer, Randall Bock, Roderick Thomas, Linda Fetzer, Stephen Brown
Keywords:   deflection, finite element analysis (FEA), grain bin, retrofit

Abstract. American Society of Agricultural Engineer standard ANSI/ASABE S624 recommends all new grain bins produced after 2018 to have anchor points capable of handling a 2000 lb. loading for attachment of bin entry lifeline systems. However, many preexisting grain bins do not have these anchor points. This study aims to assess the feasibility of a safe entry anchor point retrofit by using finite element analysis.

Finite element analysis (FEA) is useful to predict if the structure will withstand when subjected to stress. In this study, we used a grain bin owned by Penn State for 3D FEA modeling in Solidworks. Vertical roof deflection of the bin was measured using a precision phase-comparison laser while applying incremental static loads to the retrofitted rescue anchor points. The FEA model results were compared to the experimental measured results.

A 3D FEA model of a grain bin was created. The measured deflections compared well to defections predicted by finite element analysis. High amount of errors was observed in deflections between the measured and FEA modeling. The errors have resulted from the assumptions made during the model creation. However, the SolidWorks Simulation model still may be used to estimate loading scenarios in a safe and nondestructive way.

Based on the research findings, the project team recommends that the suitability of any bin to safely accommodate a lifeline and anchor point system must be verified on a case-by-case basis. Evaluation by a professional structural engineer and consulting with the manufacturer is recommended. This recommendation extends to all-grain bins, including those post-2018.

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