Reconditioned drums can be either plastic or steel drums that have undergone the reconditioning process to ensure optimum repeat use. Whereas in drum reconditioning, the drum is not often altered with new materials or parts (except for the lid), remanufactured drums must undergo a much more intense process, changing many aspects of the old drum.
More cost-effective than newly manufactured drums, used drums are utilized in wide-spread industries such as: industrial manufacturing, for storage and transport of various chemicals required for machinery and manufacturing processes; automotive and aerospace, for material handling of oils and other chemicals required for proper maintenance and functioning of vehicles; medical and pharmaceutical, for material handling of potentially hazardous materials; and food and beverage, for proper sanitary handling of food and liquids of various viscosities.
Used drums are still held to stringent material handling standards, especially by United Nations (UN) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), for quality assurance.
In order for a drum to be re-used, it must undergo inspections to ensure that it will be safe for repeat use after either reconditioning or remanufacturing processes. Once the drums have been approved, they may undergo one of these two processes for re-use. For reconditioning, there are five main steps. The first step is leak testing, which is a visual and technical test to ensure that the drum will not leak. The next step is dent removal, after a visual and technical inspection to ensure a seamless, hopefully flawless, reconditioned drum.
After these two tests, the next step is to remove any coating from the drum through chemical and non-chemical measures. After the coating removal follows an inspection and re-fitting of all drum closures, such as the lid and non-integral gaskets. The last step is re-painting and marking of the drum for use. An additional step may be included for steel drums, referred to as chime straightening.
For the remanufacturing process, there are four different types of remanufacturing mainly used. The first type is conversion of a UN 1A1 drum to a UN 1A2 drum. The second type involves the replacement of an integral structural component. The third type requires the manufacturing of one or more new rolling hoops for the drum. The fourth type is fairly broad, and involves the conversion of drums from one specification to a different specification.