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How Does the Reconditioning Process Work?

Sep 12th 2015 at 5:45 AM

Reconditioning is the process of cleaning, restoring, testing, and certifying of industrial containers.


There are two basics processes used to recondition steel drums: thermal & aquatic. The process to be used depends on the drum’s construction (bung-type or open head) and the previous contents of the drums.


Thermal Process - Open head drums or drums that previously contained materials such as paints, resins, tars, and adhesives are run through a drum furnace at approximately 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit to incinerate the residues from the formed contents of the drums. The exhaust from the burn process is drawn into an afterburner. Drums that are closed head or bung-type (the lid is permanently affixed to the sidewall of the drum) must have the lids cut off prior to running through the furnace.


After running through the furnace, the drums are pneumatically straightened and chimed to restore the drums shape and integrity. They are then blasted with steel shot to remove the ash and residues from the burn process. The drums are then leak-tested. New interior and exterior coatings are applied according to customer requirements. Lids and rings that have been burned, blasted, inspected, and painted are then added to the drum per specifications.


Aquatic Process - Bung Type drums that previously contained oils, soaps, solvents, cleaners, and related materials are washed using a series of high pressure alkaline-based aqueous solutions and steam. They are then rinsed and dried thoroughly. After being pneumatically straightened and chimed the drums are leak-tested. The drums are then shot blasted with steel shot and painted according specifications.


All drums, regardless of construction type are required to meet certain testing and construction standards if the drums are intended to be used to transport or store hazardous materials. It is imperative that shippers of hazardous products discuss these issues with their packaging suppliers.


Poly Drums - Drums made from high-density polyethylene typically called poly, or plastic, drums, are generally used to transport acids and other corrosives, water treatment chemicals, and soaps. These drums are reconditioned by cleaning the interior and exterior of the drums with alternating submersion and high pressure alkaline solutions. The drums are inspected to ensure structural integrity and leak tested.


Fiber Drums - Are made of multiple plies of strong paperboard, called fiber drums and are used to transport powders, soaps, sweeping compounds, spices, metal parts, etc. There are specially-made fiber drums used for transporting liquid products that incorporate a heavy mil plastic lining system securely bonded to the drum sidewall and bottom as integrated laminate. The fiber drum reconditioning process begins with a visual inspection for structural damage. The drums are then de-labeled, and all interior residuals are removed via one or more of forced air, high pressure steam, and high pressure alkaline rinses. The drums then receive a final visual inspection and are fully re-assembled.

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