Opening a drum plug or pail cover, with or without a fitting, is a fairly easy task. However, closing them the proper way, especially when shipping a UN regulated product, needs special attention. If the contents of your container are explosive, combustible, or flammable, there are very important facts you need to know before choosing your tools.
Explosive, flammable or combustible contents in a container or in the environment in which you will be working, call for special precautions. If your drums are filled with hazardous products or, if you are going to be working in a hazardous area, then you will need spark-resistant tools or non-sparking tools.
What’s the difference between “spark-resistant” and “non-sparking?”
The difference is in the material from which the tool is made, that is, what metal or alloy is used. Generally, aluminum or bronze is used to make non-sparking as well as spark-resistant tools. The reason one would use spark-resistant or non-sparking tools is to prevent ignition of whatever one is working with.
Two ways to create ignition:
A tool striking another surface can cause ignition. Some ferrous tools (those tools made of metal or metal alloys that contain iron) can generate a spark, thus causing ignition, when they strike another surface.
A chemical reaction can cause ignition.
Aluminum is considered a non-ferrous metal and therefore has non-sparking properties.
Bronze, which is an alloy made primarily of cooper, can contain iron. It is considered spark-resistant. The amount of iron is so small that it is not considered a sparking threat.
If you are working in a hazardous area or with explosive, flammable or combustible materials, the use of aluminum or non-sparking tools is strongly recommended. Otherwise, spark-resistant tools will generally be acceptable. If you have questions, contact our Customer Service Experts who can make recommendations for your situation.
UN-rated Pails Require Special Tools for Opening and Closing
Most pail opening or closing tools will work for a non-UN pail cover or screw cap. However, opening and closing a UN pail requires tools specifically designed for the job. To safeguard your facility and your employees, always be sure that you know what the pail contains and if the area you will be working in is hazardous.
At BASCO, we have a large selection of pail lid openers,pail closers, and screw cap wrenches. We carry it all, from simple one-pail-at-a-time hand tools to closing machines that will close pails as part of a production process. Many are available in non-sparking or spark-resistant materials.
Opening a non-UN or UN-rated Drum
Any drum wrench will open your drum, but closing a UN-rated drum requires a special tool. For that you need to use a torque wrench which meets the specific torque requirements specified in your drum’s closing instructions. Moreover, as is the case with pails, always be sure that you know what the pail contains and if your work area is considered a hazardous environment. You don’t want to place your employees or your facility in harm’s way. At BASCO, we have a large selection drum wrenches, torque wrenches, and drum plug sockets and many are available in non-sparking or spark-resistant materials.
Need Advice? We have a highly trained and courteous team of Customer Service Experts ready to help answer all your questions. Contact them at 1.800.776.3786, or email us here.
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