Plastic drums are industrial drums made from plastic. The plastic materials from which they may be made are varied, including polyvinyl chloride (PVC), high-density polyethylene (HDPE), nylon, and polystyrene. Generically known as blue barrels or 55-gallon drums, plastic drums are not only essential in regular transportation and storage endeavors, but also to applications such as dispensing, mixing, filtering, and generally processing.
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Applications of Plastic Drums
Common applications for which plastic barrels are employed include the transportation of acidic and caustic materials (for which barrels made of PVC, nylon, or polystyrene are particularly well-suited) and the storage of goods in the chemical, food, and beverage and consumer goods industries. Additionally, they are highly useful as the buoy component of floating docks, DIY or backyard compost bins, water or rain collection barrels, trash cans, recycling bins (especially for aluminum cans), and general storage racks and bins. For the latter applications, customers can find reconditioned or retired plastic drums at significantly reduced rates.
Plastic Drum Manufacturing Process
Depending on their application, plastic drums are manufactured with either an open top or a closed top. As their respective names hint, open top drums have lids that are removable, while closed top drums have lids that are not removable. Usually, open top lids, when closed, are held in place with a seal or gasket that make sure the fit is airtight. Open top drums are best used as storage containers of small materials like powders, plastic beads, cleansers, water, and other solids and liquids. The content of closed top drums are accessed through two bung holes placed at the top. One serves as a “breather hole” that prevents the creation of a vacuum, while the other serves as an outlet for the material. During shipment, the bung holes are stopped up using crimped cap-seals made of metal or metal-plastic laminates. Once the drums have reached their destination, their contents may be accessed only when the cap-seals have been shattered. Because of their configuration, closed top drums are primarily used for the transportation or storage units of liquids, as opposed to solids.
Benefits of Using Plastic Drums
Plastic drums are valued over comparable steel drums and fiber drums for a number of reasons. First of all, plastic drums are cost effective. Unlike steel drums, they do not corrode or rust and can be left indoors or outdoors for extended periods of time without risk of product contamination or destruction. Likewise, fiber drums are often only suitable for one-time usage, whereas plastic drums can be used over and over again. Also, they are arguably the most versatile type of industrial drum in terms of design choices. While plastic drums are most often available in standard shipping dimensions and weight capacities, such as the 200 liter drum (55 gallons in the USA and 44 imperial gallons in the UK), which is the international standard, as well as the 30 gallon drum, which is an additional US standard capacity barrel. However, manufacturers are also typically willing to fabricate drums to custom diameters, heights, and weight capacities. Customers should take care, though, to make sure the custom sizes they desire are compatible with any and all local, regional, national, international, and industry regulations that apply to their application. They can also be reinforced with steel rims, which help them retain their structure under pressure. Depending on the particular application of a drum, including whether or not it will be transported, plays into whether it will be straight or tapered. Before purchasing one or more plastic drums, potential customers should take care to make sure the products intend to purchase have undergone stringent testing and quality-assurance inspections. Seek out a reputable drum supplier. They will conduct leak-proof, drop, and weight capacity tests before parting with their product.