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How Does the Reconditioning Process Work

Reconditioning refers to the cleaning, restoring, testing, and certifying of industrial containers. Find out more about the specific steps involved in reconditioning each of the packaging types below.

Steel Drums

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

Thermal Process: Open head drums or any 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 at approximately 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. Note that drums that are closed head or bung-type (i.e. 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 according to DOT and UN regulations. 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 customer specifications.

Aquatic (Wash) Process: Bung Type drums that previously contained oils, soaps, solvents, cleaners, and related materials are washed inside and out 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 per DOT and UN regulations. The drums are then shot blasted with steel shot and painted according to customer specs.

All drums, regardless of construction type (open top or closed top) 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.

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Poly Drums

Drums made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE), typically called poly, or plastic, drums, are typically used to transport acids (and other corrosives), water treatment chemicals, and soaps. These drums reconditioned by cleaning the interior and exterior of the drums with alternating submersion and high pressure alkaline solutions. The drums are then inspected to ensure structural integrity and leak tested per United States Department of Transportation and United Nations’ regulations.

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IBCs

There are several types and sizes of IBCs. IBCs are used to store and transport all sorts of chemicals, oils, solvents, paints, resins, acids, and soaps. IBCs can be made entirely of steel (or stainless steel). These IBCs are typically called “investment totes” or “asset totes”. The more common style of IBCs consists of a reinforced steel cage containing a high density polyethylene (HDPE) bottle. These units are called “composite IBCs” and typically come in 275 and 330 gallon sizes. Regardless of the style of the IBC, the reconditioning process is largely the same. The first step of the reconditioning process involves visually inspecting the cages and other structural components and making any repairs necessary. IBCs are then cleaned using high pressure alkaline solutions and steam. Then all valves, gaskets, and body closures are cleaned, tested, and repaired or replaced if necessary. If a bottle cannot be reconditioned to satisfactory condition, the old bottle will be cleaned, then pulled and prepared for recycling. A new bottle and valves will be installed into the old cage. This process is known as “rebottling” and the IBCs that undergo this process are called “rebottled” IBCs.

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Fiber Drums

Drums made of multiple plies of strong paperboard, called fiber (or fibre) drums, are used to transport all sorts of 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. These drums are known as Liquipaks®. The fiber drum reconditioning process begins with a visual inspection, where the drums are inspected 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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Buckner Barrels Sales Corp.
320 Walker Drive, PO Box 889, Springville, Alabama 35146, Phone: 205-467-6155