Used drums are drums that have been previously used for storage and transport applications. The two main types of used drums are reconditioned drums and remanufactured drums. Reconditioned drums can be either plastic or steel drums that have undergone the reconditioning process to ensure optimum repeat use. In drum reconditioning, the drum is not often altered with new materials or parts (except for the lid); however, remanufactured drums must undergo a much more intense process, changing many aspects of the old drum.
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Applications of Used Drums
Used drums are utilized in many industries and applications, such as:
- Industrial Manufacturing
- For storage and transport of various chemicals required for machinery and manufacturing processes.
- Automotive and Aerospace Manufacturers
- For material handling of oils and other chemicals required for proper maintenance and functioning of vehicles.
- Medical and Pharmaceutical
- For material handling of potentially hazardous materials.
- Food and Beverage
- For sanitary handling of food and liquids of various viscosities.
Process of Approving Used Drums
Used drums are still held to stringent material handling standards for quality assurance, especially by the United Nations (UN) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). In order for a drum to be re-used, it must undergo inspections to ensure that it will be safe for repeat use after either reconditioning or remanufacturing processes. Once the drums have been approved, they may undergo one of these two processes for re-use. For reconditioning, there are five main steps. The first step is to hire a leak tester for testing leaks, which is a visual and technical test to ensure that the drum will not leak. The next step is dent removal, after a visual and technical inspection to ensure a seamless, hopefully flawless, reconditioned drum.
After these two tests, the next step is to remove any coating from the drum through chemical and non-chemical measures. After the coating removal follows an inspection and re-fitting of all drum closures, such as the lid and non-integral gaskets. The last step is re-painting and marking of the drum for use. An additional step may be included for steel drums, referred to as chime straightening. For the remanufacturing process, there are four different types of remanufacturing mainly used. The first type is conversion of a UN 1A1 drum to a UN 1A2 drum. The second type involves the replacement of an integral structural component. The third type requires the manufacturing of one or more new rolling hoops for the drum. The fourth type is fairly broad, and involves the conversion of drums from one specification to a different specification.
Factors to Consider When Purchasing Used Drums
Used drums are valuable to a number of industries for many applications. Because of their robust design, both plastic drums and steel drums are able to be reused many times. However, being used, when they are purchased their cost is significantly lower than if the drum was bought brand new. The size, durability, and materials that make up these used drums make them desirable for a number of reasons. Storage and shipping tend to be the mainstay for drums because their size allows them to hold a large amount of fluids or powders that will stay fresh and contained inside. On the other hand, many industries have turned to used drums to resell for alternative uses. 55 gallon steel drums make great grills and smokers, while plastic drums make terrific garden rain barrels or compost tumblers. By reusing the drums, this not only is sustainable, but also creates jobs and markets. The key is to make sure that the barrel manufacturers have reconditioned them or have never been used with hazardous material. If the used drum has had hazardous material inside prior to the purchase, dispose of it properly. Moving forward, look for opportunities to buy more used and cost effective products like used 55 gallon drums.