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Push-me-pull-you for silos

Saxlund push floors at Fiddlers Ferry power station

Buyer’s guide: Saxlund’s push floor storage and discharge system.

What is your technology?

Saxlund’s push floor storage and discharge system for rectangular flat bottom bunkers and silos, both closed and open to air, is designed specifically for handling non-free flowing bulk solid materials. The equipment is especially important where compaction of material is a problem.

How does it work?

The technology incorporates a series of hydraulically operated parallel ladders or frames, fitted as a grid in the silo floor. These move backwards and forwards with a reciprocating motion, pushing or pulling the material towards the discharge point.

‘First in, first out’ design princi­ples ensure that material is con­stantly taken from the bottom of the silo to provide reliable dis­charge and accurate metering on demand.

The shearing action of the lad­ders helps to agitate and break up material as it moves downstream, and the depth is monitored by level sensors to ensure an optimal feed rate. Gate bars and levelling screws can be incorporated for smoothed discharge if required.

Where would it ideally be used?

The technology is essential for the storage and discharge of any non-free flowing, heavy, wet and difficult to handle bulk materials, especially where they are likely to compact, sweat and degrade.

It is widely used as a stockpile reclaimer and typical materials include: biomass, woodchips and pellets, solid recovered fuel and refuse-derived fuel, tyre chips, sludge cake, processed sewage pel­lets, plus meat and bonemeal.

Core sectors include the cement industry, alternative energy sector, particle board industries and sludge cake handling.

How is it different?

Push floor technology has been pioneered and developed by Sax­lund International for more than 60 years and is supported by numerous patents.

Design knowledge, under­standing of the characteristics and composition of each material, coupled with discharge systems and flexible controls, ensures high availability and continuous ser­vice, with better lifetime costs than any similar system.

Where has it been used?

Saxlund push floor solutions are deployed in hundreds of sites across northern Europe. Of the 20 or so renewable energy power stations currently under construc­tion in the UK, more than half incorporate push floor silos for fuel storage and discharge.

Slough Heat & Power, owned and operated by SSE Enterprise and one of the UK’s largest dedi­cated biomass-fired combined heat and power plants, now uses a second push floor fuel handling solution to feed the boiler, includ­ing a 720cu m fuel reception area with live storage.

Bouygues Energies & Services, which is responsible for the engi­neering and construction of the UK’s largest energy-from-waste gasification plant currently under­way at Hoddesdon in Hertford­shire, has also selected push floor fuel storage and discharge bun­kers for the new facility.


As a bespoke solution, the cost is dependent on individual project requirements and material stor­age volumes.

What about maintenance?

Saxlund push floors are typically designed to match plant require­ments with continuous availabil­ity. In a typical biomass power plant, they are engineered to pro­vide a minimum 8,000 hours of operation between shutdown inspections.

Key maintenance areas are installed externally to minimise disruption and overhauls can be carried out with a full silo.

Key Benefits

  • Ensures oldest material is always used first
  • Minimises opportunity for stored material to degrade or lose calorific value
  • Overcomes the issues of compaction, sweating and self-combustion – typical of materials with a high moisture content
  • Minimises the opportunity for material to block, build-up and bridge the discharge point
  • Ensures uninterrupted operation and zero downtime for other plant processes
  • Low power consumption and low maintenance costs

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