The production process of steel containers: issues and considerations
The steel container is a key element in many industrial sectors, most notably the oil and gas, chemical, food and beverage industries. A steel container is generally used to store or transport liquids or other substances. Steel drums are the most common type of steel containers. They are made of rolled steel sheets welded together and can vary in size from 30 to 210 litres.
The production process of steel containers is quite simple and efficient. It starts with the preparation of raw materials, which are then rolled into sheet metal. The sheet metal is then cut and formed into the desired shape before being welded together. Once the welding is complete, the lid is fitted and the container is tested for leaks.
Despite its simplicity, there are some issues related to the production process of steel containers that need to be addressed. These include the environmental impact of the manufacturing process, the efficiency and regularity of the process, and the form design to meet customer demand.
2. The steel container production process
2.1 Raw materials and steel alloys
The raw materials for the production of steel containers are iron ore, coal, and limestone. These raw materials are first processed in a blast furnace to produce pig iron. The pig iron is then converted into steel in a basic oxygen furnace.
There are different types of steel alloys that can be used for the manufacture of steel containers. The most commonly used alloy is carbon steel, which contains between 0.05% and 2% carbon. Other alloys that can be used include stainless steel (containing at least 10% chromium) and galvanized steel (coated with zinc to prevent corrosion).
2. 2 Sheet metal preparation
The next step in the production process is to prepare the sheet metal. The sheet metal is first rolled into thin sheets and then cut into pieces of the desired size and shape. The pieces are then formed into the desired shape using a press or rollers.
2. 3 Welding
The next step in the production process is welding. There are two main types of welding that can be used for steel containers: spot welding and seam welding. Spot welding involves joining two pieces of metal together by applying heat and pressure at specific points, while seam welding involves joining two pieces of metal together by making a continuous weld along the length of the joint.
The most common type of welding used for steel containers is seam welding, as it produces a stronger joint than spot welding. Seam welding is also more efficient, as it can be done continuously without stopping to reposition the pieces of metal being joined together.
Once the welding is complete, the lid is fitted on top of the container and fastened in place using rivets or bolts.
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2. 4 Lid fitting
After the welding is complete, the lid is fitted on top of the container and fastened in place using rivets or bolts. The lid is usually made of the same material as the container body, but it can also be made of a different material such as stainless steel.
2. 5 Testing
Once the lid is fitted, the container is then tested for leaks. The most common way to test for leaks is to fill the container with water and then check for leaks around the edges of the lid. If no leaks are found, the container is then ready for use.
3. Issues related to the production process
3.1 Environmental impact
One of the issues related to the production process of steel containers is the environmental impact of the manufacturing process. The manufacture of steel containers requires a large amount of energy, which results in emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants.
In addition, the disposal of steel containers can also have a negative impact on the environment. Steel containers that are no longer needed are often sent to landfill sites, where they take up valuable space and can leach harmful chemicals into the ground.
3. 2 Efficiency and regularity of the process
Another issue related to the production process of steel containers is the efficiency and regularity of the process. The production process of steel containers is generally quite efficient, but there are some areas where improvements could be made.
One area where improvements could be made is in the collection of raw materials. At present, most raw materials for steel container production are sourced from mines and quarries, which are polluting and energy-intensive operations. Another option would be to source raw materials from recycled steel, which would reduce pollution and save energy.
In addition, another area where improvements could be made is in the welding process. Currently, most steel containers are welded using arc welding, which is an inefficient process that produces a lot of heat and can be dangerous to workers. An alternative welding process that could be used is laser welding, which is more efficient and safer for workers.
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3. 3 Form design to meet customer demand
The final issue that will be discussed is form design to meet customer demand. The traditional cylindrical shape of steel drums does not meet all customer demands, especially in the food and beverage industry where square or rectangular containers are often preferred.
There are some companies that have responded to this customer demand by offering square or rectangular containers. However, these containers are more expensive to produce than traditional cylindrical drums and are not as widely available.
Another option that companies could consider is to offer drums in multiple shapes (cylindrical, square, rectangular) to meet all customer demands. This would require a change in manufacturing process (e.g., using different rollers for different shapes) and would result in increased costs, but would ultimately provide customers with what they want.
In conclusion, steel containers play a vital role in many industries and their production process is quite simple and efficient. However, there are some issues related to their production that need to be addressed, such as environmental impact, efficiency and regularity of the process, and form design to meet customer demand.