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Drum It Up! Steel Drum Industry News, Trends, and Issues

Steel Drums Affected By The Global Steel Crisis

December 6th, 2005 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Industry News

It’s no secret that in the past 2 years, the price of steel in the US has risen by a greater percentage than in all the previous steel making years combined. And in most cases, manufacturers of steel products have passed on the increase to the end user. There is always the belief that when steel prices increase, reconditioned drums are worthy of consideration. However, in this unique steel crisis, the available recycled raw materials that are used to manufacture drums are drying up as crushed scrap drums are being exported to foreign steel mills. Given the reduction of steel drums available for reconditioning, the reconditioned drum prices reflect the shortage of raw drums and therefore, the prices are not as far apart. Some manufacturers are using the price of steel in the US to drive down the necessary wall thickness of steel drums. Drum user’s probably don’t realize that reducing wall thickness increases the risk on drum performance – and a small cost savings on the drum exposes the much more expensive inner contents to greater risk. On the other hand, users contemplating reconditioned versus new drums will find that a reconditioned drum is going to be thicker and heavier than many of the thin-walled new drums that cannot withstand reconditioning and are being scrapped after a single use. When choosing the best drum for your product, we recommend that thicker steel (0.9mm minimum or 20 gauge) is the best choice for risk-reduced transport and storage.

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