Berenfield Containers Adds Plant


Berenfield Containers purchased a 112,000 square foot facility in Warren, Pa., which will produce new steel drums used for lubricants and chemicals. It is part of a rebuilding effort after a fire last year damaged the companys site in nearby Clarendon.

The primary appeal of the former Rexnord facility was the location, size and configuration of the building as well as it being readily available, CEO and President Len Berenfield told Lube Report, adding that Rexnord manufactured flexible couplings at the facility.

According to Berenfield, the multi-million-dollar refurbishing of the former Rexnord facility entails cleaning and painting the interior and exterior, updating the offices, adding new loading docks, constructing a new roadway to serve the steel storage bay, and extensive driveway and dock paving. Inside this facility, all styles of 55 gallon steel drums will be produced on a new, highly automated production line that includes a state- of-the-art painting and lining system, redundant advanced technology leak detection systems, and telescoping loading conveyors, he observed.

Berenfield pointed out several factors that will make the plant more environmentally friendly. They include using water reducible coatings for paints and linings and a thermal oxidizer to destroy emissions from paint drying ovens. To conserve energy, none of the paint drying ovens in the plant will require burners for heat. Instead, they will be fueled by the oxidizer itself through a heat exchanger. Process changes will eliminate the need for any wastewater discharge, he added.

The company will relocate a second production line from the remaining portion of its Clarendon, Pa., facility, six miles away. In July 2009, a fire destroyed the main portion of the Clarendon facility. Our roots in the Warren area run deep, with my family operating here since 1933, so we are very pleased that we are able to rebuild, he said.

The second line will undergo considerable upgrading and additional automation beforehand, Berenfield noted. The second drum line will continue to produce ANSI Standard 13.97-inch diameter drums in 6 gallon to 18 gallon capacity, including open- head kegs and tight-head lubesters for the lubricants industry, he said. A lubester is a drum used for shipping and dispensing lubricating oil.

The company will move its in-house metal decorating line from Clarendon to Warren in the final phase of the project.

In addition to the Warren and Clarendon sites, the company operates a fibre drum plant in Easton, Pa., along with steel drum manufacturing plants in Mason, Ohio, Harrisburg, N.C., and Pinebluff, Ark. The firm employs about 300 people.

Harry Berenfield (Lens grandfather) founded the company in 1914 in Pittsburgh, Pa.

According to Len Berenfield, his company traces its origins to its founding in Pittsburgh by Harry Berenfield in 1914. In 1933, it began a second operation near Warren to serve businesses in that region, as Harrys sons Isadore and Myer took the reins of the company.

In 1947, the company began manufacturing steel drums in Clarendon and Warren County for the burgeoning Pennsylvania oil industry, Len Berenfield recalled, serving such companies as United Refining, Sherwood Refining, Kendall, Pennzoil, Quaker State, Wolfs Head, Amalie, Sonneborn and Pennsylvania Refining. At the time, all were independent lubricant producers.

With Witco Chemical, he pointed out, Berenfield was one of the first two drum companies to produce the all-20-gauge drum for the oil industry, with Kendall being the first to use the package. Soon thereafter, Wolfs Head also adopted the package as did Pennzoil and several others.

In 1987, Berenfield was the first company in the United States to manufacture an ISO tight-head drum, now an industry standard. Len Berenfield recalled that Witco was again a close collaborative partner on a large, 30,000-drum export order for white oil to Russia from its Sonneborn plant, the first to be exported in ISO tight-head drums from the United States.

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