As a result, industrial drum manufacturers often strengthened their drums with corrugations, called reinforcing rings, of the thickened material at each quarter of the drum to strengthen the sides and prevent denting or puncturing when rolled or turned.
Two common ways that industrial drum are differentiated are if they are closed head or open head drums. Closed head drums, also referred to as tight head drums, have a permanent lid with a small opening to allow for pouring of the enclosed material, while open head drums have removable heads. Industrial drums are constructed from three types of materials: steel drums, plastic drums and fiber drums.
The material used depends on the applications: for instance, steel drums are used in chemical processing, plastic drums for caustic and acidic materials and fiber drums for solids. The most common drum size in shipping applications is a 55 gallon drum, meaning the drum has a nominal capacity of 55 gallons. Industrial drums are utilized in diverse industries including petroleum, food and beverage, pharmaceutical, construction, waste water treatment, industrial manufacturing and agriculture.
Sorted based on the different materials, industrial drums are otten separated into three main categories: steel drums, plastic drums and fiber drums. Industrial steel drums are manufactured from stainless steel, cold rolled steel or carbon steel and can be used to transport flammable chemicals and other hazardous substances due to high corrosion resistance.
Industrial stainless steel drums in particular are used in anti-corrosive and sanitary applications since it is an FDA-approved material. However, industrial steel drums can rust when exposed to the elements; as a result, non-rusting industrial plastic drums are often preferred. Durable and rigid, yet light-weight, industrial plastic drums made from polyethylene are often referred to as blue barrels because they are typically blue in color.
Industrial plastic drums are often used to transport and store acidic and caustic liquids, powders or other materials and are commonly constructed from plastics such as nylon, polystyrene, PVC and HDPE. Industrial plastic drums are well-suited for storage of liquid and low viscosity foods, solids and high viscous materials, lubricating oils and chemicals.
As a low-cost alternative to steel and plastic industrial drums, industrial fiber drums are constructed from fiber board or dense paper. A typical application of industrial fiber drums is the transport of solid food products, including frozen or refrigerated goods such as cheese and ice cream. Another advantage of fiber industrial drums is that they are completely incinerable and stackable, in addition to being the most easily recycled type of drum.