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

Posts Tagged ‘stainless steel’

A Friend of Small Spaces – The 30 Gallon Drum

November 16th, 2018 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Industry News

The 55 gallon drum might be the workhorse of containers, but the 30 gallon is gaining popularity, particularly in cities and growing businesses where space is at a premium. Why? Because a 30 gallon steel drum is more stackable.

Could you stack 55 gallon drums? Skolnik stainless steel drums are built heavier, thicker and stronger than the industry standards demand, so yeah, probably. But how are you going to access them? Do you really want to lift a 55 gallon drum up off of another 55 gallon drum? I thought not.

Smaller drums are easier to stack and easier to move. In general, businesses are expect to do a lot with a little. Whether that’s budget or space or both. In addition to being more small-space-friendly, our 30 gallon steel drums meet the same stringent guidelines regulated by the UN and Department of Transportation.

Whether you need to store them or ship them, a 30 gallon container is the definition of small but mighty, and with an added dose of convenient. Plus, two 30 gallon drums gives you 5 more gallons of storage than the beloved 55 gallon container anyway.

304 vs 316 Grade Stainless Steel Drums

November 5th, 2018 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Stainless Steel

By definition, stainless steel is a steel alloy with a minimum of 10.5% chromium content by mass. However, there isn’t just one kind of stainless steel. There are numerous grades of stainless steel all with variations in density, elasticity, thermal conductivity and other properties. When it comes to a stainless steel that must endure corrosive environments, which most stainless steel industrial containers must, austenitic stainless steels are the most popular choices. But even then, there are two popular grades: 304 and 316 stainless steel. So, what grade stainless steel drum is right for you?

304 stainless steel is generally the most common austenitic steel used due to it’s high nickel and chromium content. The high chromium content gives 304 stainless steel drums and other products excellent corrosion resistance.

316 stainless steel also has high amounts of chromium and nickel, but with a significant amount of molybdenum, grade 316 stainless steel possesses an even higher level of corrosion resistance.

What grade of stainless steel you need largely depends on your use. In the case of stainless steel drums, it largely depends on the materials you wish to contain or ship and any regulations governing those materials.

For example, while 304 is often used in commercial food processing, 316 is considered one of the most suitable choices for marine applications, medical devices and chemical processing or storage. 304 has better formability and is generally more affordable, but 316 may be a better choice when working with/containing corrosive environments or where greater strength and hardness are required.

At Skolnik, we know our steel and are happy to guide our partners to the most efficient and effective material and container for their needs.

The Five Families of Stainless Steel

June 28th, 2018 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Stainless Steel

At Skolnik we offer a host of steel containers — our stainless steel drums offer an ideal solution for products requiring the purity, compatibility and strength of stainless steel. But just like Skolnik offers different families of products, there are different families of stainless steel. Five to be exact: austenitic stainless steel, ferritic stainless steel, martensitic stainless steel, duplex stainless steel and precipitation hardening stainless steel. The families are classified by their crystalline structure.

 

Austenitic stainless steel is the largest family. About two thirds of all stainless steel produced falls into this category. Their crystalline structure is achieved by alloying with sufficient nickel and/or manganese and nitrogen. These stainless steels maintain their microstructure at all temperatures so they can’t be hardenable by heat treatment, but can be strengthened by cold working to an extent.

Austenitic stainless steel is great for formability and weldability, they are also essentially non magnetic. They’re often used for tanks, containers, storage vessels, architecture and the like.

 

Ferritic stainless steel has a structure more similar to carbon steel, contains between 10.5% and 27% chromium with very little or no nickel. Due to the chromium structure, ferritic stainless steel also holds its structure at all temperatures and is not hardenable by heat treatment. However, they are magnetic and are problematic to weld.

Welding creates microstructural problems so ferritic stainless steel is not used in the construction of large, heavy walled vessels and tanks and structures.

 

Martensitic stainless steels form a family that can be heat treated to provide the adequate level of mechanical properties. Martensitic stainless steels are magnetic and are less corrosion resistant than ferritic and austenitic due to a lower chromium content.

However, their high carbon content enables them to be significantly hardened so they are commonly used for knives, razor blades, cutlery and tools.

Duplex stainless steel’s structure is a combination of that of austenite and ferrite, usually at a 50/50 or 40/60 mix. It’s characterized by high chromium and molybdenum with lower nickel contents. The mixed microstructure results in higher resistance to chloride stress corrosion.

Duplex stainless steel can be difficult to weld properly, but can sometimes be a cost-effective solution for chemical processing, transport and storage, and marine environments.

 

Precipitation hardening stainless steel has corrosion resistance comparable to austenitic varieties but can be hardened to even higher strengths than martensitic steel. Precipitation hardening stainless steel is often used for gears, valves and other engine components, nuclear waste casks, and other pieces in aerospace and other high-tech industries.

 

Beyond that, there are over 150 grades of stainless steel.

Skolnik stainless steel drums are available in a variety of gauges and sizes and are stainless types 304 and 316, both austenitic, and 409, a ferritic stainless steel. And our products are built thicker, heavier and stronger than industry standards require.

 

Hot or Cold Rolled? The Differences Between Steel Types

May 31st, 2018 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Industry News

It should come as no surprise that we here at Skolnik take great care in the steel we use to make our barrels. In every size we offer, from 15 gallon drums to 110 gallon and everything in between, we carefully consider every decision of the process, and one of the first to make is whether to use hot rolled steel, or cold rolled. Despite sounding like coffee orders, these terms describe how the steel is handled early on, and has a big impact on the final outcome of our barrels.

Regardless of the type of rolling process the steel ultimately goes through, when it’s first created it’s shaped into an ingot, billet, bloom or slab; the different shapes and sizes of the still raw, semi-finished steel. From there, the steel is heated above 1700 degrees Fahrenheit, which breaks down the crystals that make up the metal’s natural state. From there, the malleable molten metal is pushed through a variety of wheels, or rollers, that form the metal into its next shape. This can be the “I” shape of a structural beam, the round shape of a rod, or the flat sheets that we eventually use in our drums.

If this is all the work done on the steel, it’s considered hot-rolled. The steel is left to cool and then shipped off to be used in a wide variety of applications. Because of this shorter production time, hot-rolled steel is cheaper than cold-rolled. The trade-off is that is has an unattractive scale on the outside from being heated and is less accurate in its dimensions due to the shrinking and warping that occurs as it cools. Cold-rolled steel, on the other hand, isn’t finished after its initial shaping, and the additional steps it goes through are what sets it apart from its hot-rolled counterpart.

Once it’s been cooled to room temperature, there are a variety of finishing steps that cold-rolled steel can go through in this cooler state, including additional passes through rollers to further shape it, annealing, tempering and surface grinding and polishing. By going through these extra steps, cold-rolled steel is a cleaner, more attractive, more resilient metal with more accurate dimensions than steel that has merely been hot-rolled.

Here at Skolnik we only use cold-rolled steel in our products. In order to insure the correct dimensions crucial for maintaining the quality and consistency of such products as our 15 gallon drums, cold-rolled steel is the appropriate choice. Not only that, but it’s also better at taking paints and finishes that we apply to our barrels, making sure the surfaces of each drum are up to our demanding standards. Of course, how the steel is rolled is only one of many decisions made on the path to an excellent barrel, but by making the right choices early on, we insure that we make the absolute best product for our customers.