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A Guide to Steel Drums

steel drum parts

Steel drums are some of the most versatile and robust containers in popular usage throughout many industrial and commercial sectors. They can be found in warehouses and transport depots across the world, stocking all manner of industrial goods from foodstuffs to hazardous chemicals.


Steel drums are hard wearing, cost effective, reusable, and long lasting. They are perfectly suited to fulfil a wide range of industrial storage and transportation needs. However, there are several varieties of steel drums on the market, so in this article provides a detailed breakdown and guide to steel drums.


What are steel drums?

Steel drums are cylindrical barrels designed to hold large quantities of industrial liquids or semi-liquids, such as oils, chemicals, or foodstuffs. The traditional steel drum is constructed from either carbon steel or stainless steel and is generally produced with a storage capacity of 210 litres.


There are two main types of steel drum: open-head and tight head. Both can be fitted with a range of nozzles and accessories to increase their range of use, and to make emptying and filling more efficient.


What are steel drums used for?

Steel drums designed for industrial usage need to be UN certified and approved for holding hazardous liquids and solids. That means that steel drums can hold hazardous waste and dangerous chemicals safely. But these are versatile containers, and they can also be food-grade certified, enabling them to be used in an industrial capacity by the food industry.


Of course, it's important to remember that cross-contamination must be avoided at all times. While steel drums are reusable, they need to be thoroughly decontaminated after each use, particularly when the stored goods are being changed.


It's important to note that some items are more suited to storage in steel drums than others. For example, long-term water storage can cause rusting, while food items should be stored in drum liners to further protect them.


The benefits of steel drums in an industrial capacity

Steel drums have a variety of benefits when they are employed for use in an industrial capacity. They not only have a wide variety of uses, but are hard wearing and reusable, too.


Here are the major benefits of using steel drums in an industrial capacity:


  • Versatility: they offer a wide range of potential uses.

  • Protection: they're thick and able to safely withstand large blows or knocks when in transport.

  • Robustness: they're hard wearing, long lasting and require little upkeep.

  • Reusable: they can be reused time and time again.

  • Repurposable: even at the end of their lifespan, steel drums can be repurposed and reconditioned for further use.

  • Cost-effective: they have a long lifespan, offering excellent value for money over an extended period of time.

  • Transportable: with steel drum closures, they can be safely transported in lorries and container ships.

  • Storable: they can be stacked and stored in an industrial capacity, using forklifts and other machinery.

Steel drums have a number of benefits over other traditional storage devices. Compared to blue plastic drums or fibre drums they are stronger and much more resilient, while compared to intermediate bulk containers (IBCs), they can fulfil a wider variety of functions and have much more versatility.


Accessories for steel drums

Steel drums can be fitted with a range of accessories, such as steel drum closure set, steel drum caps, steel drum wrench and so on. Aiming to produce further versatility or to prolong the lifespan of the barrel and protect the goods inside.


Aside from the bungs and nozzles required for sealing and emptying barrels, steel drums can also be kitted out with a selection of drum liners.


Drum liners are an inner, protective layer that allows liquids to be stored in the barrel without ever touching the inside of the barrel. Drum liners are always recommended when storing or transporting foodstuffs, as they help to avoid contamination.


Drum liners are also useful for other purposes. Anti-static liners can help you to avoid any unwanted interference when transporting highly charged chemicals or goods, while foil liners can help prevent moisture build-ups during storage.


In addition to liners, barrels can also be kitted out with dust coverings or external covers to protect against weather damage when in storage or transport.

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