Shipping containers are everywhere now; they are being used as restaurants, shops, and even homes! With the abundance of shipping container architecture, it is easy to forget where the shipping container originates from and its purpose. Today, shipping containers are the backbone of modern trade. We know that shipping containers come in various sizes and shapes, but how exactly are they made? We live in a world where most things today are built using some sort of automated machine. However, this is not true for shipping containers. Shipping containers are built in enormous factories in China by construction specialists in full safety gear who use heavy duty machinery to weld, cut, rivet and join the pieces together. Sparks fly everywhere as the container moves down the production line. Here are the steps to build a shipping container:
Step 1: Creating Wall Panels
Shipping containers begin their life as a giant roll of steel. The steel is unrolled and cut into pre-measured sheets. The wall panels are cut down from the large steel sheets into smaller sheets and a metal stamping process is used to create the desired form. The sheets are then sandblasted and corrugated. The corrugation, which gives the walls their wave-like texture, adds strength to the container. Next, the smaller panels are laid out and welded together to create the full-sized wall panel. Finally, square tubing is welded onto the top and bottom of the wall. This tubing allows the walls to be welded to the floors and roof of the container.
Now it’s time to assemble the undercarriage, or the frame that will hold up the container flooring. The floor frame is mostly made up of I-beams. Two longer I-beams are laid out perpendicularly running the length of the container. Smaller I-beams are welded in between these longer beams to create a raft-like base. When the welding is done, the floor frame is sanded to be certain that there are no rough joints.
Step 3: Assembly
All the individual wall panels, roof panels, and floor braces are completed separately prior to being combined together. Square tubing is welded to the top of the wall along with the corner frame, floor frame, and corner post assemblies. When the major components are assembled, a jig is used to help make sure they are straight and flush fitting. Doors are installed onto the floor frame first, then wall panels, and finally the roof panels are fitted and installed into place.
Next, the container is brought to the painting area. The first layer of paint applied is a primer. The primer is a preparatory coating used to secure the additional layers and to help the paint better adhere to the container. This additional layer also helps protect the container. After the primer is completely dried, the container is sprayed with paint several times. These layers of paint help to secure the container against the harsh elements of traveling by sea, such as salt and water.
Step 5: Flooring
After the painting process is complete, it is time to install the flooring. The floor of the container consists of marine plywood panels. Before the panels are placed in the container, a protective coating is applied to ensure that bugs and other pests are not present in the wood. After the protective coating dries, the panels are positioned on top of the floor frame and screwed down into the steel floor beams.
The container is now ready to be adorned with the shipping line’s logo and/or any advertisements. The decals are similar to stickers, which have an adhesive backing. The container is labeled with an identification code that is unique to each container. The first three letters on the container identifies the owner of the container, the fourth character identifies the product group code, the fifth to tenth characters make up a serial number that is assigned by the owner of the container. The final character is known as a “check digit” and it is used to verify the previous 10 characters.
After being labeled, the hardware can be installed. The doors handles and locking mechanism are fitted and a rubber gasket is wrapped around the doors to make sure they are watertight. Each container is tested thoroughly for water tightness, holes, or leaks.
Now that you know a little bit more about the process it takes to create a container, are you impressed? Even more impressive is the cost of a container. Give Container Technology Inc. a call at (877) 670-0229 or fill out an online quote form. Container Technology has knowledgeable sales reps that help you pick the right container for your specific needs and budget.