Drum recycling process

Queen City Barrel, Cincinnati
[owner of Columbus Steel Drum]

Although the drum recycling process varies slightly throughout the industry, the techniques fall into two basic categories.

Closed head drum reconditioning

Closed head drums are steel containers with 2' and 3/4' head openings. Typically, they transport oils, solvents and flowable resins. In recycling closed head drums, the interior is cleaned at a series of high pressure alkaline and acid flush and rinse stations. Then pneumatic dedenting and chime restoration machinery reshapes the drum.

Next, the drum is pressure tested for leakage in conformance with Department of Transportation requirements. In finishing the exterior, first alkaline stripping and steel shot blasting remove prior coatings. Then new decorative coatings are applied and baked on to make an attractive, durable finish.

Open head drum reconditioning

Containers with fully removable heads carry more viscous materials such as petrochemicals and adhesives. First the container goes into a drum reclamation furnace which pyrolyzes the residues of prior contents at high temperatures. Afterward, steel shot blasting strips both the drum's interior and exterior down to bare metal.

Next, the drum passes through a battery of hydraulic and pneumatic equipment that restores the drum's conformation and integrity, Pressure testing to ensure conformance with D.O.T. requirements follows. Finally, interior protective and exterior decorative coatings are applied and baked on.

There are two offshoots of these basic processes: drum conversion and drum remanufacturing.

When a closed head drum contains residues that cannot be purged through standard procedures, it is converted to an open head drum. Automatic cutting equipment first removes the head. Then the converted drum undergoes the open head recycling process.

In drum remanufacturing, the same closed head drum conversion and cleaning takes place. But at the end of the open head drum process, the drum is reseamed with a newly manufactured head and becomes again a closed head drum, Finally, the waste that has been separated from the drum is packaged and shipped to a secure land fill or incinerator under strict environmental controls. Worn out drums which fall out during the process of recycling and testing are now clean, acceptable raw material for the scrap metal processor and for their eventual recycling into new steel.

For more information, visit www.qcbarrel.com

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