Title:
Coned Storage Dome
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A storage building is provided. The building includes an exoskeleton with an interior cover. The exoskeleton is formed from horizontal rings connected by trusses. The building typically stores particulate material, including grain and other crops. The exoskeleton bears the load of the stored material, and allows for storage of greater amounts of material.



Inventors:
Owen, Jason (Audubon, IA, US)
Application Number:
12/575374
Publication Date:
04/08/2010
Filing Date:
10/07/2009
Assignee:
ACCU STEEL, INC. (Audubon, IA, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/245, 52/292
International Classes:
E04H7/00; E02D27/38; E04B1/32
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20070193217BASIC MODULE FOR A MODULAR SCREEN FOR DISPLAY OR PARTITIONAugust, 2007Bouroullec et al.
20080083193Window Processing Having Inspection and CompensationApril, 2008Mcglinchy et al.
20080289269ROT RESISTANT DOORNovember, 2008O'brien et al.
20010034989Frame border corner connecting device for interconnecting a pair of frame border strips of a changeable frame to form a corner of the changeable frameNovember, 2001Geiberger et al.
20070277464Lining StructureDecember, 2007Takayasu et al.
20060179745Method of building a buildingAugust, 2006Lysyuk
20040123554SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR REMOVING ROOF MATERIALJuly, 2004Slack
20100000176Combination Structural Support And Thermal Protection SystemJanuary, 2010Rivers et al.
20100011691Roof system and method of fabrication and installationJanuary, 2010Anaya
20080222994Uniform texture for cast in place wallsSeptember, 2008Shaw et al.
20080086963Hold Down Clip and Wall SystemApril, 2008Proffitt Jr.



Primary Examiner:
WENDELL, MARK R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DAVIS, BROWN, KOEHN, SHORS & ROBERTS, P.C. (DES MOINES, IA, US)
Claims:
1. A storage building comprising: (a) an exoskeleton comprising a plurality of horizontal, spaced apart rings and a plurality of trusses connected to the rings; and (b) a cover attached to the interior of the exoskeleton.

2. The storage building of claim 1, wherein each ring is a different diameter and the rings are spaced apart to form a tapered building.

3. The storage building of the claim 1, further comprising a floor, a plurality of base trusses and a means for connecting the base trusses to the floor.

4. The storage building of claim 3, wherein the angle between the base trusses and the floor is less than 90 degrees.

5. The storage building of claim 1, wherein the cover is made from fabric.

6. The storage building of claim 1, wherein the cover is made from metal.

7. The storage building of claim 1, wherein the building is conical.

8. The storage building of claim 1, wherein the building is a frustrum.

9. The storage building of claim 1, wherein the building is beehive-shaped.

10. The storage building of claim 1, wherein the building is a cylinder.

11. The building of claim 1, further comprising a conveyor on the exterior of the exoskeleton.

12. The building of claim 1, further comprising at least one sensor attached to the interior of the cover.

13. The building of claim 1, further comprising at least one aeration device.

14. The building of claim 1, further comprising at least one vent.

15. The building of claim 1, further comprising at least one access portal.

16. The building of claim 1, further comprising at least one means for removing material from the building.

17. The building of claim 16, wherein the means for removing material is a drain.

18. The building of claim 16, wherein the means for removing material is a gate.

19. The building of claim 16, wherein the means for removing material is a removal conveyor.

20. The building of claim 1, further comprising a base and footings.

21. The building of claim 1, wherein the exoskeleton is made from metal.

22. A building for storing particulate material comprising: a) an exoskeleton comprising a plurality of tapered, horizontal rings connected by a plurality of trusses; and b) a cover attached to the interior of the exoskeleton.

23. The building of claim 22, further comprising a floor.

24. The building of claim 23, further comprising a foundation extending below the floor.

Description:

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/103,454 filed Oct. 7, 2008 and herein incorporates the provisional patent application by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field

The present invention relates to a storage facility, and more particularly, to a coned storage facility used typically for storage of grain or other crops.

2. Background

Stored crops such as grain are traditionally stored in two main ways: (1) by covering a large pile of the stored crop with a tarp to shield the crop from moisture, insects, rodents, sun, birds, and wind or (2) storing the crop in a permanent, vertical storage building, such as a grain bin.

In the pile storage form, typically the grain is poured onto a support, floor, or foundation into a pile and then covered. A fence generally encloses the grain storage area and then the cover is secured to the fence.

The tarp or cover rests against the crop and is held on by fans that must run at all times. The fence and cover are not strong enough to withstand the pressure of more grain than settles in a pile within the confines of the fence. The amount of the crop to be stored is essentially limited to the angle of repose of the crop, or the internal angle between the surface of the pile and the horizontal surface. Thus, the store capacity of this system is not very great.

When the grain is needed, the cover is discarded and all of the grain in that pile must be removed at the time the cover is discarded. Every time the cover is removed, such as every season or every year, the cover must be replaced. There is no way to check the grain quality without compromising the cover; once recovery of the crop begins, the whole pile must be picked up. Further, because the fans must run at all times an electricity failure may dislodge the cover, and the constantly running fans may over-dry the crop.

The need exists for crop storage wherein larger amounts of crop can be stored, the user can fill or empty the storage building without compromising the cover, and fans or electricity are not required to keep the cover attached.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

One object of the present invention is to provide a storage bin that allows for filling and emptying without compromising the cover.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a crop storage building that has greater storage capacity than that of previous storage buildings.

An additional object of the present invention is to provide a storage building that has a greater storage capacity than that of previous storage buildings, yet uses the same area of land.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a crop storage building that works like a traditional permanent crop building, but has the advantages of a cover building and the economics of temporary storage.

These and other objects of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon reference to the following specification, drawings, and claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a view of the storage building of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a view of the trusses, foundation and floor of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a view of the cover of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a view of the cover of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a view of the storage building of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a view of the floor and trusses of the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a view of a storage building of the present invention.

FIG. 8 is a view of a storage building of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

As shown in FIGS. 1-8, the invention comprises storage building 10 with an exoskeleton frame 12 and a cover 14. The exoskeleton frame 12 includes a series of rings 16 held together by trusses 18 that all together form a conical, beehive, pyramid, or frustum shaped storage building. The exoskeleton 12 attaches to a cover 14, generally a cover made from polyethylene fabric or metal sheeting, such as light-gauge corrugated galvanized sheeting. The exoskeleton 14 design allows loading of the product onto the structure itself. This is in contrast to the prior art in which the product can only be loaded onto the foundation; the prior art structures do not support the product vertically.

The exoskeleton 12 system is manufactured from a sturdy material, such as steel in the preferred embodiment. The truss system may also be made of aluminum or other sturdy materials. The cover can be made from polyethylene fabric, PVC or light gage steel sheeting or light gauge corrugated galvanized sheeting.

In FIG. 2, a concrete slab 20 is provided. The slab 20 also includes footings 22 or other foundation. A plurality of trusses 18 extend from the slab upward at a desired angle, such that the trusses 18 form the sloping shape of the building 10. These trusses 18 are connected to the concrete foundation 22 using connectors 24, such as anchor bolts. Circular rings 16 are provided that taper in diameter and attach to the trusses 18. The trusses 18 are typically in segments that extend the length of the space between the circular rings 16, or between the concrete foundation 22 and the first circular ring 16, although the invention is not limited to trusses that are segmented in this way. Individual trusses 18 could curve up the height of the building. The attachment of the rings 16 to the trusses 18 is accomplished with fasteners 25, typically a moment reducing connector such that the moment will transfer to the ground. In one embodiment, an insert connection is used with the truss tube and bolts. The angled trusses 18 and the tapered rings 16 form the exoskeleton 12 of the building 10.

As seen in FIG. 3, a cover 14, typically of fabric or metal, attaches to the inside of the exoskeleton 10. The cover material may be doubled up at the lower end of the building 10. In one embodiment, sheets of light gauge galvanized metal sheeting are bolted together in a staggered or overlapping bricklike manner to completely cover the inside of the exoskeleton, as shown in FIG. 4. The cover 14 proves a tight seal between the product and outside conditions.

In FIG. 3, additional cables 30 may run around the circumference of the cover to provide additional tension to the cover 14. The cover 14 has cable pockets 32 to secure the cables 30. The cables are provided in the spaces between the horizontal rings 16.

In FIG. 5, a loading conveyor 40 transports product up the side of the building 10 and deposits the product into the building through an opening 41 at the top of the building. The conveyor support 42 is connected to the exoskeleton 12, thereby eliminating the need for a separate conveyor support.

Product is removed from the building 10 in several ways. In one embodiment, in FIG. 2, a drain 42 is provided in the concrete slab 20 through which product is removed, typically with an auger. In another embodiment, a gate 44 opens to a tunnel 46 that houses a removal conveyor 48. The removal conveyor 48 moves the product out of the building for transport or other use.

In FIG. 6, there is no concrete foundation 22. Instead, the horizontal ring 16 is attached to the floating slab 20 of concrete.

The trusses 18 come together and terminate at the top of the building. A cap 60 or lid on the building is provided that includes an opening pour material. The top of the building is also weather-tight.

Additional features include sensor cables 50 to detect conditions such as temperature, carbon dioxide levels, and moisture. These cables 50 are attached to the cover 14, typically where the cover 14 meets the horizontal rings 16.

In FIG. 5, aeration fans 51 are provided inside the building 10. Vents 36 are also provided, typically where the horizontal rings 16 meet the angled trusses 18.

An access portal 52 is shown in FIG. 5. The access portal 52 allows a person to check on the product inside the building, and also provides an exit through which to remove product.

FIGS. 7-8 show various shapes of the buildings 10 of the present invention.

The building of the present invention addresses many of the problems with traditional product storing facilities. The building 10 allows for unbalanced product loads without compromising the structure of the building. For example, when grain is removed from a building, the sticky nature of the grain causes tunnels and pockets to form such that the grain is no longer evenly distributed within the building. In traditional grain storage systems, the building pulls to one side or collapses. The exoskeleton 12 of the present invention does not pull or collapse when unbalanced loads are present.

Similarly, traditional storage buildings may collapse on a side under pressure of snow drifts or wind. The exoskeleton 12 of the present invention does not collapse in these circumstances. The angle of the trusses 18 prevents such a collapse.

In one embodiment, the trusses 18 have a 44° angle. Other angles are possible; the invention is not limited to a 44° angle. The resulting building may be very tall, typically more than one hundred feet tall, and in some instances more than 200 feet tall. A standard pile storage system can store around 1.5 million bushels of grain, while this invention allows for storage of much larger amounts, such as 4.5 million bushels of grain.

The user can fill and unload the structure multiple times without removing or replacing the cover. More of the product can be placed in the structure than in the traditional pile cover method because the structure can support grain pressures at steeper angles than the angle of repose of the grain. This invention utilizes a combination of vertical and angle of repose (pile) storage. Because the crop is supported by the exoskeleton instead of the cover, fans are not required to run at all times and aeration can be used to keep the crop in good condition instead of holding the cover in place.

Generally the invention can be used with the same footprint as that used in the pile storage systems, but allows for a larger volume of crop to be stored on the same size footprint, as the capacity is not limited to the angle of repose of the product.

The invention also has advantages over traditional grain bin buildings that have a roof and walls. In prior art grain bins, any damage to the result would also compromise the vertical sidewall. In the present invention, there is minimal structural support between the lid or top of the invention and the side, so damage to the lid will not compromise the sides.

In an additional embodiment, the exoskeleton 12 and cover 14 replaces traditional cylindrical storage buildings. In this embodiment, the horizontal rings 16 are not tapered to form a cone and the trusses 18 are not angled. Instead, the rings 16 are of equal size to form a cylinder and the trusses 18 are vertical, generally perpendicular to the ground. The exoskeleton 12 and smooth interior makes it easy to completely and efficiently remove product from the building, as product does not get caught on any interior girders or trusses.

The foregoing description and drawings comprise illustrative embodiments of the present inventions. The foregoing embodiments and the methods described herein may vary based on the ability, experience, and preference of those skilled in the art. Merely listing the steps of the method in a certain order does not constitute any limitation on the order of the steps of the method. The foregoing description and drawings merely explain and illustrate the invention, and the invention is not limited thereto, except insofar as the claims are so limited. Those skilled in the art who have the disclosure before them will be able to make modifications and variations therein without departing from the scope of the invention. For example, the invention can be used for any crops, including grain or any other harvest. The invention can be used with non-crop items, such as equipment, bagged materials, items on pallets, salt, coal, earthen materials, fertilizer, or cement.