Water barrels collect and store water through ductwork fixed to the roofs of buildings such as manufacturing facilities and warehouses. Water barrels are most often used as rain barrels, which are specifically for collecting and storing rain water runoff. Proper water storage is important for many industries, including sports and recreation (in hiking, climbing and other cardio-related activities), beverage (for water bottling applications, especially if water is collected from natural sources), agricultural and gardening (for use in irrigation), and wastewater (in the storage of potentially hazardous tainted water).
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Materials Used in Water Barrel Manufacturing
Of all the materials used for water barrel construction, plastics, such as high density polyethylene (HDPE), low density polyethylene (LDPE) and polypropylene, are the most common. However, metals, such as stainless steel, may also be used in instances in which the water has not been and will not be treated with chlorine, as chlorine is highly corrosive to most metals. Though they are the most popular plastic choice, polyethylenes do have a downside, as they are somewhat permeable to hydrocarbon vapors and should be kept away from stored gasoline, kerosene, and similar substances. HDPE offers a distinct benefit in that it is a FDA-approved material.
Water Barrel Manufacturing Process
As water barrels are most often plastic, they are generally formed through an injection blow molding process (metal would be formed through rotational molding or similar processes). The injection blow molding process is a combination of injection molding and blow molding. To begin injection blow molding, a parison is formed when a thermoplastic preform is heated to a molten state and then injected around a hollow mandrel, referred to as a blow stem. Once semi-cured, the newly formed parison is soft and formable. Still around the stem, the parison is then placed into the blow molding chamber. Next, the steel blow stem is extended, forcing the elongation of the plastic to the desired barrel size (typically a 55-gallon drum) and also enhancing the tensile strength of the barrel. Then, the hollow blow stem is used to inject compressed air into the parison, causing the near-molten plastic to inflate like a balloon. The inflation results in compression against the walls of the mold cavity, forcing the barrel to take shape. After cooling and hardening, the mold ejects the newly formed water barrel is ejected. Immediately, the water barrel exhibits a seamless design and does not require further trimming. As injection blow molding machines use multiple mandrels, they may be used to form a maximum of 12 water barrels at once.