When Should You Choose an Open Head Steel Drum?

Open Top steel Drum Plain

Steel drums are one of the most effective, durable and versatile industrial storage solutions, but with multiple types of steel barrels on the market, it’s important to select the most appropriate design for your business requirements.

The most important consideration is choosing between an open head steel drum and a closed head steel drum. An open head steel drum is the easiest type of industrial barrel to fill and empty, and has a number of unique advantages over a closed head drum.

In this article, the experts at ITP Packaging explore the differences between open and closed steel barrels, before explaining when you should choose an open head steel drum.

What’s the Difference Between an Open Head Steel Drum and a Closed Head One?

Steel drums are large, cylindrical barrels designed to hold large quantities of liquids and semi-solids. Most steel barrels are manufactured to a standard-sized capacity of 210 litres, and they’re produced with either an open head or closed head design.

The terms open or closed head refer to the design of the steel drum’s lid. An open head steel drum has a completely removable lid, which means the entire top can be taken off in order to fill or empty the barrel. While the top lid can be taken off, it’s important to note that it can otherwise be safely secured to the barrel using clamps, seals, security levers and locks.

A closed head steel drum – also known as a tight head steel drum – has a secure lid, which cannot be removed. Instead, the steel drum needs to be filled and emptied through a small bunghole or nozzle, as the top lid is otherwise secured to the rest of the drum.

When Should You Choose an Open Head Steel Drum?

It’s important to choose the right type of steel drum for the task at hand. The open head steel drum design works best when you need quick or easy access to the goods inside the barrel.

While it can be used to store liquids, the design of the open head steel drum makes it best suited for holding solids or semi-solids. While the top lid can be secured, it is more prone to leaks or spills than the tighter closed head steel drum design.

You also need to remember, though, that open head steel drums can only be filled or emptied from the top, making them unsuitable for certain tasks. For example, if you need to be able to pour or measure liquids out of the barrel using a nozzle, an open head steel drum is not a good choice.

The following are common examples of when you should use an open head steel drum:

  • Storing solid foods or catering supplies
  • Storing powders or spices
  • Storing construction materials, such as sand
  • Storing thick liquids
  • Storing pharmaceuticals or chemicals
  • Storing hazardous waste

When Should You Choose a Closed Head Steel Drum?

A closed head steel drum is the best choice for storing liquids and, in particular, thin liquids that are in danger of being spilt. Closed head drums offer much more security in terms of leakage, as they are completely sealed and contained, with the exception of a small bung or opening on the barrel.

This extra security is helpful when you need to protect liquids during storage and transport, but it does make it more difficult to fill and empty the drum. To this end, a closed head steel drum needs to be fitted with some sort of nozzle in order to release the liquid, although the added benefit of this is that the nozzle can be placed at the bottom of the barrel to make the emptying process more efficient and more controlled.

The following are common examples of when you should use a closed head steel drum:

  • Storing beverages (beer, soft drinks, etc.)
  • Storing oils
  • Storing fuel
  • Storing lubricants

What Are the Benefits of Using an Open Head Steel Drum?

If the materials you need to store and transport are suited to be kept inside an open head steel drum, there are a number of advantages to be gained from this. The most important benefits of using an open head steel drum include:

  • Easy and efficient to fill from the top
  • Quicker to fill and empty closed head drums
  • No need for bungs or nozzles
  • Lids can be tightly secured and sealed using clamps
  • Can safety hold industrial quantities of solids, semi-solids and liquids
  • Can be fitted with tamper-proof devices for added security

Where to Purchase Open Head Steel Drums

An open head steel drum is best sourced from a reputable supplier, such as ITP Packaging. We can provide expert advice, in addition to high-quality products.

A specialist, industrial storage supplier will be able to recommend the best products, and you can rest assured that they’ll know when the situation calls for an open head steel drum over a closed head steel drum.

Any good steel barrel supplier will be able to offer both new and repurposed equipment to suit all budgets, in addition to discounts for bulk purchases and regular orders. Like ITP Packaging, they should also offer a comprehensive range of attachments – such as nozzles, bungs, dust covers, and more – and sell UN rated, industrial quality goods with long-lasting guarantees.

Contact ITP Packaging to Find Out More About Open Head Steel Drums

Steel drums are highly durable, versatile and cost-effective industrial storage solutions, but it’s important to ensure that you choose the right type of steel drum for your business needs. An open head steel drum is the easiest type of barrel to fill and empty, but closed head drums may offer more security for liquids.

If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of choosing an open head steel drum to meet your industrial storage and transport requirements, the expert team at ITP Packaging is ready to help. Contact our friendly staff today to find out more.

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