VOC Control for Metal Can and Container Painting

Painting, surface coating, or decorating of steel or aluminum metal containers is a very common source of volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions.  These coatings contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as ketones, xylenes, hexane and ethers which when evaporated during the coating process, react in the atmosphere to form ozone which can cause adverse effects on human health. 

Due to the high volume of metal cans produced for food, beverage, and a variety of other uses these VOC emissions can be quite high and require the use of a Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer (RTO) to meet local environmental control regulations.

Metal Can Coating Drum Container CPI TRITON 35,000 Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer

Learn more about Metal Decorating of steel and aluminum cans.

VOC Control for Metal Cans, Drums and Barrel Painting

One of the most common methods of transporting bulk cargo is a cylindricalDrums on Conveyor-1 container known as a drum, also referred to as a barrel.  These drums are used to transport thousands of different cargo including industrial chemicals, acids (and other corrosives), oils, solvents, paints, resins, adhesives and soaps.  Painted steel drums and drums made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE), typically called poly, or plastic drums, are used most often to transport and store such cargo. Painted steel is the most common method of construction for new drums, with a manufacturing process which can generate Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), and odors primarily from the internal and external painting and coating processes.  

New Drum Painting and Coating Process

One of the final steps in the manufacturing of new steel drums involves painting and coating of the drums during which Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and odors are released into the environment.  The main objective of this process is to improve the aesthetic and to reduce the corrosion of the drums.  After the drum parts are cleaned and assembled, the drums are first conveyed through the interior lining paint spray booth and drying oven followed by the exterior paint spray booth and drying oven. The drum lids are also conveyed through a paint spray booth and drying oven for finishing.

The following processes in new drum/container manufacturing may generate significant emissions of VOCs and odors:

  • Interior Lining Paint Booth & Curing Oven
  • Exterior Paint Booth & Curing Oven
  • Drum Lid Paint Booth & Curing Oven

Reconditioning and Refurbishing Used Containers VOC Control

RIPA LogoIn addition to the production of new drums, there is a significant market for the reconditioning or refurbishing of used containers.  These reconditioned steel drums offer an environmentally and cost-effective alternative to the marketplace.  The cleaning and reconditioning processes include several steps where the application of air pollution control may also be required to address VOCs, HAPs, and odors.

Reconditioning Process

Industrial Container and Drum Cleaning (ICDC) facilities clean and recondition metal and plastic drums and intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) for resale, reuse, or disposal.  The reconditioning process includes the cleaning, restoring, testing, and certifying of industrial containers which may have previously contained materials such as paints, resins, tars, adhesives, oils, soaps, solvents, cleaners, or related materials.  The interiors and exteriors of the drums are cleaned and reconditioned to prevent contamination of materials from one cargo shipment to the next and to ensure the integrity of the containers.

Industrial container and drum cleaning (ICDC) and reconditioning may include the following processes where VOCs and odors may be emitted:

Aquatic Wash Process for Cleaning Bung-Type Drums
  • Sequential wash processing steps which may include caustic washing as well as acid cleaning or etching.
  • VOCs may be exhausted to a packed tower scrubber; however, the non-water-soluble VOCs and odors require thermal treatment to be destroyed.
Thermal Process for Cleaning Open-Head Steel Drums
  • Conveyed through a drum reclamation furnace at approximately 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit with exhaust gas ducted to an afterburner at approximately 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit to control VOC emissions.

Paint Booth Exhaust - Paint Booth VOC Control

Curing Oven Exhaust - Curing Oven VOC Control

Control of VOCs typically include two key areas:
  • PTE Tunnel Enclosure Paint 180930 CPICapture Systems are designed to collect solvent laden air and direct it to a control device.  Some painting processes are contained and operated within permanent total enclosures (PTE).  Solvent laden air can be combined and ducted to a common control device.
  • Control Devices.  Oxidation of VOCs and other air pollutants works by simply oxidizing the air pollutants with oxygen and heat, where the VOCs are converted to harmless inert byproducts like CO2, water vapor (H2O), and usable heat.  A Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer (RTO) is the most effective and cost efficient control device offering thermal efficiency up to 97%, with VOC destruction efficiency (DRE) +99%

To learn more about VOCs, click here.

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