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

Higher Gauge, Higher Quality: Skolnik Stainless Steel 409, 304 & 316

January 31st, 2022 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Industry News

Chemicals, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, food, oil, businesses across the globe trust stainless steel drums to contain their product and materials. But not all stainless steel is equal. At Skolnik, we offer a host of steel containers made of high gauge steel in order to perform at the highest standards of strength and durability.

There are over 60 different grades of stainless steel that are usually divided into 5 classes based on different alloying elements that affect the microstructure of the steel.  Skolnik Stainless Steel Drums are available in stainless types 304, 316 and 409, 

Stainless steel type 316 is the strongest stainless steel. It contains more nickel and molybdenum than 304, which boosts this steel’s resistance to chloride corrosion. Type 316 is incredibly heat tolerant, it has a maximum continuous use temperature of around 800°C (1,472°F). Grade 316 stainless steel is a favorite in the pharmaceutical, food, cookware and maritime industries. Containers being shipped by the Navy are often constructed of 316 gauge stainless steel to guarantee the necessary protection against sea water. The resistance also makes a 316 drum ideal for anything being stored long term because it lowers the risk of contamination of contents.

Stainless steel type 304 is widely popular in almost every industry due to its high resistance to chemical corrosion and oxidation. It’s considered a lower grade than 316, but only just and is considered a medical grade steel alongside 316. Grade 304 steel is one of the most popular among Skolnik customers, being heavily used for food, wine and other consumables. Regulations also recommend that nitric acid be stored in drums constructed with 304 gauge stainless steel, as it is not allowed to be stored in plastic for safety precautions and could negatively react with the 316 gauge.

Finally, type 409 stainless steel. The lowest of the stainless steel grades manufactured by Skolnik, but still manufactured in a higher gauge than regulations require to ensure optimal performance, 409 stainless steel is a favorite in the automotive industry.

At Skolnik we take great care to manufacture our products thicker, heavier and stronger than industry standards require and to rigorously test the final products. While our stainless steel drums may not be the most inexpensive on the market, they are made of a higher gauge steel and thus are built to outperform and outlast inexpensive, lower gauge drums made of the same type of steel. 

Whereas other manufacturers may offer reduced metal thickness in order to offset steel price increases, Skolnik is committed to manufacturing high gauge, high quality, high performing steel drums to ensure our customers’ materials and facilities are kept safe and secure throughout transport and storage.

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