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This article will take an in-depth look at barrels
One will understand more about topics such as:
What are Barrels?
Considerations in Barrel Selection
Types of Barrels
Uses of Metal Barrels
Uses of Plastic Barrels
Advantages of Metal Barrels
Advantages of Plastic Barrels
And much more...
Chapter One: What are Barrels? Considerations in Barrel Selection
What are Barrels?
A 55-gallon barrel is a cylinder built of several materials that may store 210 liters or 55 US gallons. Barrels can be used for several things, including storing liquids like water and oil. Large volumes of chemicals, powders, granule compounds, and food ingredients can be transported using barrels. Despite having differing historical roots, the terms "drum" and "barrel" are synonymous. The drum is a term used in industry, although barrel was once used to measure oil amounts.
Polyethylene with a high molecular weight and density is used to make plastic barrels (HDPE). Since polyethylene is inert and resistant to high and low pH values, it is a great material. Measurements for barrels were developed for efficient usage in warehouses and logistics. Hazardous material transportation typically permits this form of packaging. Before export, the drum must abide by all relevant rules and regulations.
They come with tight-head barrels, also called closed-head barrels or open-head barrels. Open-head drums have a removable cover, which makes them more suitable for filling and dispensing materials, particularly those that are more like solids and powders. The covers on closed-head barrels are affixed to them permanently and cannot be taken off. This design indicates that they are preferable for transportation and storage, especially liquids, as they don't need a removable top to dispense.
Both plastic and metal drums have a wide range of applications. They are crucial components of storage and transportation across many industries due to their capacity to hold practically any substance. When properly sealed, they shield items from unwelcome contact with moisture and UV radiation. Once one determines whether their material is dangerous or corrosive, the perfect weight and price they are looking for, and the best size and color option for the demands, determining which barrel best meets individual needs is simple.
Considerations in Barrel Selection
Materials Used to Make the Barrel
The material that must be transported or stored in the barrel is a key factor in choosing the barrel itself. Some substances can be corrosive while others are inert, some are acidic, others are alkaline, some are liquid, and others are powder. These should be taken into account by the manufacturers of barrels while choosing the material for the barrel.
Metal barrels are commonly referred to as steel or carbon steel barrels Steel drums contain either phenolic linings or inside rust inhibitors to maintain the quality of the items. This protection translates to the ability to handle more abrasive chemicals, making them ideal for items like retail inks, detergents, lubricants, and more.
Plastic barrels are the most diverse in the realm of drum packaging containers. HDPE or LDPE is commonly used to make blue plastic barrels and other plastic drums. Many are light-blocking, UV-resistant barrels with molded-in colors. They can therefore carry various liquids and solids, including chemicals, medications, food, beverages, liquids, cosmetics, electrical components, hardware, and home goods.
When choosing a barrel, it is important to consider both the weight of the contents and the container. While light stuff needs light material, heavy material may need a heavy drum.
Barrels With an Open Head or a Closed Head
The terms "open head" and "closed head" describe two different styles of barrel lids. A barrel with an open head features a detachable lid, allowing the user to fill or empty the barrel by removing the entire top. It's crucial to note that while the top lid can be removed, it can also be securely fastened to the barrel using clamps, seals, security levers, and locks. A tight-head drum, also known as a closed-head barrel, has a tight lid that cannot be opened. The top cover must be removed to fill and empty the barrel because it is otherwise fastened to the drum's body.
The open-head steel drum design performs well when rapid or simple access to the barrel's contents is required. Although it may retain liquids, the open-head barrel's construction makes it ideal for keeping solids or semi-solids. Although the top lid can be fastened, it is more likely to leak or spill than the steel drum with a tighter closed-head design. A closed-head barrel is the greatest option for holding liquids, especially thin liquids that could spill. Since they are entirely contained and sealed, except for a small bung or aperture on the barrel, closed-head drums offer far greater security regarding leakage.
Viscosity and Specific Gravity
Consider the specific gravity and viscosity ratings of the fluids to be transferred carefully before choosing a barrel pump. Since some barrels can be built with a tap to access the contents, this will impact the barrel's output valves, if there are any.
Temperatures of Fluids
Due to the materials used in their manufacture, 55-gallon drums are made to have walls that can resist a specific amount of heat. Therefore, always consider the maximum temperature of fluids held in the barrel when choosing a drum for an application.
When buying a barrel, it's crucial to stick to a specific price range. This is because durability only sometimes correlates to expensive barrels.
Chapter Two: Metal and Plastic Barrels
Large, cylindrical containers made of metal are known as metal barrels. Steel barrels are extensively utilized in various liquid and solid material mixing, storage, dispensing, and filtering processes, with liquids significantly more prevalent. Steel is the most typical form of metal utilized in the production of industrial barrels; other metals are rarely employed. In addition, steel barrels and drums, which are most frequently made of carbon steel or stainless steel, are strong and affordable, enabling a producer to get several uses out of a single drum and recycle it after it has served its purpose.
Carbon is the main alloying component in carbon steel, and the amount of carbon in the metal affects its qualities. Stainless steel has a minimal amount of chromium added to it, typically between 10.5 and 11%, making it generally more corrosion-resistant than carbon steel. Steel that has undergone a cold hardening process, or been cold rolled, has retained its original crystalline structure by being rolled at room temperature. Metal barrels can transport larger and more stuff than their plastic counterparts since they are heavier than plastic.
For example, carbon steel is frequently used in handling hazardous chemicals for the chemical processing, pharmaceutical, petrochemical, and wastewater sectors. Each of these many types of steel is better suited for specific industries and applications. For example, cold-rolled steel is best suited for industries needing extremely high tensile strength, like mining and defense. In contrast, stainless steel is ideal for sanitary applications and applications requiring a high degree of corrosion resistance, such as food and beverage, industrial manufacturing, and construction.
In the food and beverage business, metal barrels are typically used since they are composed of sturdy material that is more durable than plastic drums. Metal drums are useful for industrial usage because of their durability, which includes their capacity to tolerate more extreme conditions and blunt force hits that may happen during transportation. Furthermore, they are more appealing because they are UN-rated for safely handling and transporting hazardous materials. In addition, metal barrels are necessary for solvents like acetone, ethanol, and methanol since they can disintegrate plastic.
Certain barrels may be specially made to transport flammable, toxic, and other hazardous waste products to dispose of or move them to where they may be utilized because of their sealed and tough exteriors. Steel barrels are utilized to prevent leaks and exposure of the materials at any stage during shipment. In addition, steel barrels can be used for storing or transporting a wide range of liquids, solids, or mixtures.
Industrial plastic barrels can be produced from various materials, including polyvinyl chloride (PVC), high-density polyethylene (HDPE), nylon, and polystyrene. Plastic barrels provide a straightforward but efficient way to store a wide range of goods and materials. As a result, they are a common option for companies operating in various industries with differing storage requirements. Plastic barrels are adaptable, strong, and—most importantly—extremely affordable. In addition, plastic can store a wide variety of materials since it can withstand most substances with extremely high or low pH levels.
Plastic drums, commonly called blue barrels or 55-gallon drums, are crucial for processing tasks like dispensing, mixing, filtration, and general processing, in addition to being used for routine transportation and storage. They come in various sizes and can hold everything from food and drink products to hazardous garbage. Food products, chemical oils, vinegar, medications, beverages, and items like sand are generally shipped and stored in plastic barrels. If thoroughly cleaned out to prevent any cross-contamination, they are also recyclable. Plastic barrels are the best option if cost is a top consideration when selecting a barrel because they are typically less expensive than metal.
Chapter Three: Manufacturing of Metal and Plastic Barrels
Production of Metal Barrels
Forming is frequently employed in the production of metal barrels. For example, the metal sheet used to create each drum first goes through an edge grinder, smoothes out the sheet's sharp edges. The steel sheets are then placed into a bender with a cylindrical mold where the metal is curved and bent. Then, different welding techniques are used. After being bent, the metal is fed by a worker into a spot welding machine, which starts to weld numerous locations along the edge of the metal sheet to form a tube connecting the two ends. The two loosely linked ends are then fully seamed together by going through seam welding equipment, and welding across the entire connection of the sheet ends.
The drum's entire body is first manufactured, and then it goes through a laborious manipulation process. During the flanging process, the drum is fed through a machine that inserts flanges, creating rim indentations and edges on the top and bottom of the container. Following the production of these edges, the barrel enters a bead expander. This device stretches beads or rolling hoops around the circle of the container by holding the drum horizontally. These hoops, which reinforce the object's body, are made by turning rods around the interior of the barrel. Along the top and bottom of each barrel, circumferential indentations face inward in addition to the outward-facing hoops or beads. The indentations are made with a corrugating machine and are corrugated.
The bottom section of the container must now be made and then attached after the body has been constructed to the standards mentioned above:
The cutting and embossing of barrel bottoms are done.
The bottoms are stamped down and sliced using unique dies or molds in a pressing machine. After being constructed, the container bottoms go through a pre-curler, a device that curls the edges of each bottom piece to make it ready for seaming to the drum body.
The bottom pieces enter a seaming machine with a drum body that rotates and pushes the two sections together so they are prepared to be placed in containers.
The item is now seamed to prevent items that the container will eventually hold from leaking. Next, it's time to finish forming the container so it can stand alone by adding a top. Drum bottoms and tops are made similarly. First, drum tops need to be punched using a machine that will make holes in a specified size and location once they are formed. The next step will be to place flanges into these holes. Metal rings must first be bent inside using a flange-fitting die set or mold machine to put flanges into drum apertures or holes. Later, the drum contents will be emptied into or out of the container through these apertures. When everything is finished, the top, which has flanged holes, is seamed to the body using a method akin to bottom seaming to produce a useful container. The whole steel barrel is now complete.
However, in the fabrication of steel drums, optional procedures are used based on personal desire and final use. For example, each drum can enter a paint booth machine, rotated and horizontally fed while being painted on the exterior by the machine.
Production of Plastic Barrels
Plastic blow molding technology produces plastic barrels in which molten plastic is blown into a die or mold. With this technique, numerous shapes can be produced without internal seams. As with steel drums, barrels are still formed in a cylindrical shape to facilitate rolling and handling. The round design has no weak corners but exposed and impact-prone corners can crack. A seamless design has the extra advantage of preventing the growth of microorganisms in crevices. The sizes and shapes created via blow molding are virtually limitless. The materials used for blow molding drums are thermoplastics, including acetal, polyamide, polystyrene, polyvinyl chloride, low or high-density polycarbonate, and polypropylene.
Blow molding can be done in three ways: extrusion, injection, and injection stretch. Melting resin or pellets into a parison, which resembles a long plastic tube with a hole at one end, is the first step in every plastic molding procedure. The parison is dropped into the mold cavity open end first and secured firmly to prevent air leakage. Next, the parison is fired with compressed air, inflating and pushing it against the mold's side. The heated plastic fills the empty area in the mold and takes on the shape of the mold as it expands. After the form piece has cooled, the mold is opened to release the finished barrel. The top and bottom protrusions of the barrel can be removed automatically or manually.
Chapter Four: Types of Barrels
The top cover of a closed-head barrel, also known as a tight-head drum, is not detachable. The top and bottom of a plastic drum with a tight head are sealed. Similar to the bottom end, the top side of a closed-head drum forms a durable seal since it is solid and merged with the drum's body. A port known as a bung opening is the sole means to get to a closed-head drum's contents. These tiny gaps are closed off using a bung or another sturdy stopper. Tight-head plastic drums are frequently considered more secure than open-head plastic drums since they are sealed.
Low-viscosity liquids, including water, gasoline, crude oil, and other flammable and liquid combustibles, are ideally suited for closed-head drums. The two-inch bung is designed to accommodate suitable pipe and pumping systems, enabling every drum's secure loading and spill-free filling. Since closed-head drums are frequently used to store liquid hazardous compounds, they must normally be UN-rated, have the proper hazmat labeling, and adhere to strict requirements.
An open-head barrel often called an open-top drum, has a top cover or lid that is completely detachable. Open-head drums can be sealed with a tight cover and fastenings for transport or storage or left open-topped, i.e., without a lid. The top of the container will be used for filling and emptying because it has a single entrance.
They can withstand the demands of shipping because they are built to withstand severe environments and continuous use. Depending on the project's needs, open-head barrels can be used indoors or outdoors and are durable. They are available in various colors and can be readily labeled so that the contents are recognized. Open-head drums are frequently used for shipping or storage since they are highly reliable and well-liked.
Open-head drums can be used to carry liquids, but because of how simple it is to operate the lid and how large the opening is when the top cover is removed, they work best for semi-solid and fluid-like materials (such as sand, dirt, soil, gravel, etc.). Furthermore, an open-head drum can be filled and emptied without requiring special tools or devices, unlike closed-head drums. They can even be manually loaded or unloaded if necessary. Additionally, one of the only viable containers for transporting viscous and thick liquids (such as syrups, certain oils, glues, absorbents, and some solvents) is an open-head drum.
Open-head barrels are utilized because they offer the following advantages:
Closed-head drums fill and empty more quickly.
Nozzles or bungs are unneeded.
Clamps can be used to lock and shut lids securely.
Filling from the top is simple and effective.
They are able to safely hold significant amounts of solids, semi-solids, and liquids.
Tamper-evident security elements may be included.
Taper-sided barrels are lighter and easier to handle than other types of drums. In addition, for simple storage, the tapering sides allow for nesting. Open-headed, taper-sided 55-gallon drums are typically available in several colors. However, blue is the most typical.
Stainless steel drums are becoming increasingly popular to create, ferment, mature, and store wine in the wine business. New designs are created to fit inside wine barrel racks.
Rain barrels are containers that catch rainwater dripping from roofs and downspouts. It is unsafe to consume this drainage because it is non-potable. However, such water is safe to wash automobiles or outside surfaces and water gardens, lawns, and trees.
Drums for collecting rainwater have a straightforward design, are simple to use, and can be placed anywhere. Installing a basic rain barrel utilizes soft rainwater, decreases the need for public utility water, and promotes self-sufficiency. In addition, rain barrels lessen the amount and flow of runoff into the sewer or stormwater systems by collecting and storing rainwater.
Chapter Five: Uses of Metal and Plastic Barrels
Uses of Metal Barrels
Metal barrels can be made from a variety of materials with varying strengths. Therefore, it is useful for storing various materials thanks to these characteristics. It is crucial to know the material that will be kept within to choose the appropriate kind of barrels. Metal drums are widely used for various purposes and are effective for long-term storage and transportation. The following are some of their most common applications:
Water: Metal barrels can be used to store water and other liquids. However, using metal barrels for drinking water is not suggested because most metals are corrosive.
Storing Fuel (Such as Gasoline and Diesel): Metal barrels can store combustible substances for extended periods. For this application, steel barrels with closed heads may be employed.
Food: Foodstuffs, such as spices, grains, and powders, can be stored in these barrels since metal can shield its contents from the environment. Rodents and mice cannot reach the food, in contrast to plastic, which they can consume.
Storing Hazardous Waste: Metal barrels with closed heads can store dangerous chemicals. The risk can be moved outside to protect the workers.
Uses of Plastic Barrels
It's crucial to be sure the barrels one uses can hold the materials one needs because plastic barrels can be created in various grades, strengths, and capacities. In addition, approved polymers are required to store chemicals and other hazardous goods.
Food and Drinks: Plastic barrels are an excellent option for moving food and drinks from one location to another. They can keep food and beverages cold in warehouses or commercial fridges and freezers, making it simple to transport items. In addition, since they can easily store large quantities of dried food, powders, and liquids, plastic barrels are especially well suited for large-scale catering requirements.
Corrosive Compounds: Because strong plastics won't corrode like other materials like steel, they are ideal for storing corrosive substances and dangerous chemicals. They are a common option in many industrial settings because they provide a secure manner of storing and transporting acids and other potentially harmful substances.
Lubricants and Oils: Industrial liquids such as lubricants and oils can be transported and stored in large amounts using plastic barrels. They can be cost-effectively sealed inside the barrels, enabling easy access to the liquids inside.
Cleaning Supplies: Plastic barrels offer a cost-effective and secure solution to store many cleaning supplies. They are frequently used by large-scale cleaning businesses since they won't rust and can hold a wide variety of liquid cleaning supplies. Plastic barrels are a great way to store several goods and materials and are a great option for companies in many industries.
Chapter Six: Advantages of Metal and Plastic Barrels
The Advantages of Metal Barrels
Steel barrels are among the most widely used industrial storage choices available today since they offer many fantastic advantages to organizations. Some of these advantages are discussed below.
Long-Lasting and Reliable Storing Options
Steel drums or metal barrels are strong and durable. Most significantly, metal barrels are highly effective at preventing damage to or contamination of the items kept inside. Steel barrels are a great way to store a range of items and work well to hold everything from pharmaceuticals to hazardous trash.
Steel barrels, which continue to be a popular alternative in the food and beverage supply chain, are also a very durable solution for keeping food products. Food can be safeguarded and kept fresh in steel barrels, especially when combined with drum liners. It is crucial to confirm that the steel barrel is certified as "food grade" and that it hasn't previously been used to hold potentially dangerous items before storing food goods.
Easy to Clean and Maintain
Steel barrels are excellent for storing items because they are quick to maintain and simple to use. In reality, if a steel drum is kept clean and handled with the proper care and attention, it can last for decades with proper maintenance.
Steel barrels should be cleaned after each usage, but don't worry; they're simple to maintain and clean. Steel barrels can be cleaned with standard cleaning supplies after emptying, depending on what was put within.
Steel barrels may be reused often due to how simple they are to clean and maintain. By ensuring this product has several uses, one can save money on operating expenses while promoting environmental protection. In addition, steel drums can be completely utilized or disassembled and recycled into new barrels at the end of their long lives.
Guarding Contents Against Light, Moisture, and Pests
Metal barrels offer protection from physical harm and airborne contaminants, moisture, UV rays, and pests that can be present near the storage location when they are securely sealed. A steel drum can receive additional defense levels by adding waterproof coverings, UV covers, or other protective coatings. These are especially helpful if metal barrels are kept outside.
Customized Handles and Other Accessories
Metal barrels can be significantly customized to make them even simpler to store, move, and ship across large distances. For instance, many barrels have sturdy handles that make it possible to move them swiftly and without using large gear.
A steel drum can also have various "accessories" attached to it. A drum liner is the most typical accessory. This liner fits within the barrel and prevents contamination between the stored product and the steel.
Stackable to Save Space
Metal barrels are made to be used in factories. Hence they are created with the ability to be stacked on top of one another. Metal barrels are big and heavy when filled, but they can be quickly lifted and moved about using industrial equipment like forklifts. They can be conveniently stacked in warehouses for storage or in lorries for shipment. Their design makes it easy to move and transport them, reducing storage space requirements and helping to save time and money.
The Advantages of Plastic Barrels
Lightweight compared to other storage containers like metal drums, plastic barrels are highly portable. Other advantages of plastic barrels are listed below.
Strength and Stability
Plastic is a very robust and resilient substance. Plastic barrels are made of incredibly strong and resilient materials, which lengthens their lifespan. Plastic barrels resist weathering, temperature changes, and damp, humid, or moist situations. Since plastic is resistant to the impact of ultraviolet radiation, storing drums outside is not an issue. In addition, plastic drums' strong and reliable seal guarantees they won't leak or sweat while being stored or transported. What distinguishes plastic from other sorts of materials is its tenacity and sturdiness.
Value From Customization
Importantly, plastic barrels can be customized to carry various substances and are mass-produced in various sizes, making them an excellent value.
Reduced Demands on Landfills
The fact that recycled plastic barrels won't end up in a landfill or garbage dump is an additional advantage. Plastic barrels have numerous applications, so there is no longer a need to figure out how to get rid of them, which considerably reduces one component of the rising waste management issue.
The various polymers used to create plastic barrels are inert and resistant to pH levels that are low or high. Therefore, they are the best option for storing and delivering chemicals and other potentially volatile materials because of this property.
Plastic barrels are inexpensive, which is a big factor in why they have grown to be a prized asset. It's the key reason why they gained popularity quickly after being introduced. Plastic is simpler, less expensive, and more useful to create than glass, metal, or any other storage container material. In addition, years of usage with no signs of use, wear, or damage are possible with plastic barrels.
The capacity to preserve and sustain our way of life for future generations is sustainability. Plastic barrels can be reused in countless ways once they have served their specific industrial purpose. Plastic may be easily recycled and repurposed for other purposes, in contrast to the other materials used to make drums. Although this is true for steel and aluminum, the procedures for recycling those materials are extremely difficult and time-consuming. Plastic drums, on the other hand, may be easily shredded and converted into plastic pellets.
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