Dome Technology builds seismic-resistant dome for BSA Cementos

When BSA Cementos began planning their new clinker storage site in Santiago, Chile, capacity was important, but so was stability during seismic events.

The company contracted Dome Technology to build the storage dome that will hold up to 50,000 metric tons of clinker and stand 28.5 meters (93.5 ft) high and 57 meters (187 ft) in diameter. The entire project wrapped up in Spring 2017.

The contract for the project was with SALFA Montajes S.A., and the final customer was BSA Cementos. The dome is located at a new site where BSA Cementos will be able to increase its production by 950,000 tons per year during the first stage of operation, with as much as 1,900,000 tons a year being processed per year.

According to Dome Technology Vice President of Operations Dan South, BSA Cementos was initially considering conventional silos with steel roofs. After multiple meetings with Dome Technology, BSA Cementos opted for a hemispherical dome instead. For BSA, the key dome advantages included quick construction, small construction crew, a low-maintenance storage facility and innovative practices.

bsa cementos seismic resistant dome

The dome will allow the customer to have 50,000-metric-tons of clinker stored away in case there is a shipping delay. “The plant is expected to have a continuous supply of clinker from the port for their production; our dome will serve as reserve storage so that if supply is interrupted from the port, they have plenty to continue operating,” said Dome Technology operations manager Eudaldo Chavez Zazueta.

A substantial headhouse placed at the dome’s apex houses large equipment, conveyors and dust-control systems, a load that can be supported since the dome was designed to handle this type of load, no matter what nature throws at it.  “Our dome has plenty of strength to handle the loads and stress other structures are not capable of, even on a seismic event,” Chavez said.

To drop costs and to aid in economics, material handling was kept simple: A conveyor running through the apex will fill the dome with product, and a front-end loader will unload the clinker through a main door. Relying on loaders used for other factory functions means less equipment downtime and will be sufficient since stock rotation inside the dome will be minimal.

Coppex Engineering & Technologies in Chile was instrumental in securing the project, highlighting for the customer the inherent strength of the reinforced concrete dome in conjunction with competitive price and architectural design. “Coppex had the local contacts, and Dome Technology the best experience with the required flexibility to adapt to the client requirements,” said Gerardo Renner of Coppex.

Editor’s note: The preceding is an excerpt from an article printed in a recent issue of Mineria Chilena