Plastic Drums & IBC Totes: FAQs
What is an industrial drum?
Drums are cylindrical containers used for shipping bulk goods. Drums can be made of steel, dense psperboard or plastics, and are generally used for the transportation of certain materials or modest quantities of bulk goods. The two common sub-types of drums are the open top and the welded top with 2" bung holes, often referred to as barrels.
Standard drums have reinforcing rings of thickened metal or plastic at four places: top, bottom, and one each a third of the way from each end ring. This sufficiently strengthens them so that they can be readily be turned on their sides and rolled when filled with heavy materials like liquids. Over short to medium distances, drums are generally tipped and rolled on the bottom rim while being held at an angle, balanced and rotated with a two handed top grip that also supplies the torque (rotational or rolling force).
Drum containers are constructed with one-piece high density, high-molecular weight, polyethylene to provide strength and durability. They are made with molded-in foot rings to resist punctures and to add stability. Drum bottoms are designed to maximize contact with the pallet for slip resistance, and have a large diameter to add capacity and stability. They are weather proof, easily reused or reconditioned for multiple trips, and are available in blue, black, or custom colors.
What is an open-head drum?
Open-head plastic drums, which have fully removable heads, are used to ship dry and viscous (e.g., adhesives) products as well as free flowing liquids that are not Department of Transportation (DOT) regulated. The open-top sub-type is sealed by a mechanical ring clamp (concave inwards) that exerts sufficient pressure to hold many non-volatile liquids and make an air-tight seal against a gasket, as it exerts force inward and downward when tightened by a normal three-quarter inch wrench or ratchet wrench. Many drums are used to ship and store powdered products as well as liquids, such as plastic beads for injection molding and extrusion, and purified industrial grade powders like cleansers, fertilizers, and powdered aluminum.
What is a closed-head (tight-head) drum?
Tight-head plastic drums typically have two threaded openings in the top head and are used to transport free-flowing liquids. Plastic closed-head drums are the preferred shipping container for caustic and acidic materials because the solid, one-piece construction makes it more attractive for storing or transporting hazardous materials, ensuring against leakage or spills. Chemicals frequently transported in closed head plastic drums include: acetic acid, acrylic acid, ethylene glycol, methanol, mineral spirits, and sulfuric acids as well as caustic chemicals because they do not corrode the plastic drums. Other non-regulated chemicals, dyes and adhesives that utilize plastic drums are agricultural chemicals, cleaning liquids, pharmaceuticals, paints and coatings, photographic chemicals and reagent solutions.
What is an IBC?
An Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC) is a container constructed of plastic with steel reinforcing and is used for storage and transportation of goods. IBCs have pallet-like bases so that forklifts can move them. IBCs can be stacked vertically and typically weigh approximately 140 pounds. Encore Container reconditions composite IBCs with plastic bottles, steel and plastic cages, and with steel or wood pallets.
Is Encore Container subject to regulations?
Encore Container's operations are subject to regulations the Department of Transportation and OSHA. The DOT regulates the markings on containers to ensure that containers meet certain packing and durability criteria suitable for the products being packed in them. Encore Container complies with all OSHA rules and regulations through a comprehensive health and safety program.
Encore Container has a zero-discharge wastewater program and therefore is not subject to discharge permit limitations by the Western Carolina Sewer Authority.
How strong is a drum made of 100% plastic resin regrind?
Encore Container manufactures plastic drums from 100% plastic resin regrind. This regrind is recycled high density polyethylene (HDPE), offering financial advantages over "virgin" resin. Using a "drum crusher" device which measures force exerted on a drum, Encore Container drums made of regrind are shown to be more durable than other leading brands' models made from virgin resin.
What is plastic resin regrind?
The Company produces its own regrind material from existing drums. Regrind results from drums that are cleaned and shredded into small plastic components. This regrind is again washed before a pelletizing process heats and forms it into small, uniform pellets. This pelletized regrind is then sent to a blow molder which then forms the drums.
What happens in the plastic drum manufacturing process?
The drum manufacturing process involves grinding drums, then washing regrind. Equipment used includes a blow mold machine, extruder, shredder, grinder, resin wash line, and chiller. In the re-pelletizing process, the irregular chunks of plastic are melted down, and sent through a process that makes small uniform pellets which add control when making the drum.
What happens in the plastic drum and IBC tote reconditioning process?
The reconditioning process involves machines that rinse and wash dirty drums before moving on to stages where new lids are outfitted. Various quality inspections are conducted along the way. Included are leak tests, where the open end of the drum is sealed. The drum is then dropped in water, as an inspector analyzes for signs of bubbles, indicating leaks. If bubbles are evident, the drums will be reground and used in manufacturing process for new drums. IBCs are either washed manually or through a similar assembly line process. IBCs are visually inspected for signs of contamination. Leak tests involve ultrasonic leak testers, which are sound machines that indicate sound if air is escaping from a pressurized container. Additionally, Encore Container utilizes soap over seam leak test process. After leak tests, drums and IBCs are reassembled and enter into a quality control check before being shipped.
Other areas of quality checks include testing regrind to ensure it has the right melt index. As it is processed, Encore Container inspectors look for different types of contamination and moisture. Each drum is inspected by a supervisor after it reaches the final stage of production. Also, drums are tested randomly once a day to ensure the correct wall thickness, weight, and distribution. Once a year, drums are sent to an independent third party to qualify that drums meet DOT standards.
Encore Container puts a new lid on every reconditioned drum, as well as a recoated ring. This is rare. Most reconditioned containers typically include reconditioned lids. Encore Container sets itself apart in the industry and does not use reconditioned lids because it increases chance of contamination as cleaning in grooves and bungs are difficult.