Tech Briefs

Savannah River National Laboratory

Pella Drum Opener

An engineer at the Savannah River Site (SRS) has developed and tested a tool that facilitates the opening of open-head steel drums. This device resolves a safety issue with respect to drum handling.


There are two types of steel drums used to transport and store chemicals and other materials. Open-head steel drums have a removable lid that is secured to the drum with a one or two-piece closure ring. Closed-head steel drums have bung holes that can be used for attaching pumps to dispense liquids. The Pella Drum Opener has been used at SRS for safely removing the lids from open head steel drums. The issue with these drums is that under long periods of storage, the lids may be difficult to remove due to corrosion or vacuum or adhesion. In addition, the one-piece semicircular rings used to secure the lids to the drums result in pinch points when attempts are made to remove them. Use of hands or other tools to pry these rings from the drums creates an unsafe condition.

The apparatus

The Pella opener was designed using steel forged construction and contains a knife-like blade used to wedge between the drum and the drum lid with the securing ring attached. The tool is applied by placing the removable blade between the drum and the lid where there is an opening to the drum ring. By applying upward force to the tool, the drum lid with the ring can easily be safely removed from the drum. This tool has been used at SRS and proven to be a safer alternative.

At a glance

  • Patent pending
  • Improved safety
  • Ease of use

Partnering opportunities

SRNL invites interested companies with proven capabilities in this area of expertise to enter into a licensing agreement with SRNL to manufacture and market this technology. Interested companies will be requested to submit a business plan setting forth company qualifications, strategies, activities, and milestones for commercializing this invention. Qualifications should include past experience at bringing similar products to market, reasonable schedule for product launch, sufficient manufacturing capacity, established distribution networks, and evidence of sufficient financial resources for product development and launch.

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Contact Information

Savannah River National Laboratory