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Published: May 11, 2023

What Are Modified Conex Shipping Containers made of, and what makes them so Strong?

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Conex shipping containers are versatile structures that are inexpensive and widely available, making them an excellent option for a variety of building and storage projects. Besides their price and availability, what is the appeal of modified shipping containers in construction or expansion projects? In most cases, it's their strength and durability. Shipping containers are built to be stronger than many traditional building materials, resulting in minimal maintenance, a long lifespan, and the strength to be used for a variety of projects.

Why Are Conex Shipping Containers So Strong?

Shipping containers are designed to be strong and durable. This strength is due to their original purpose, their composition, and their construction.

Conex Shipping Container Purpose

Shipping containers, as their name states, are designed for shipping. They’re made to transport goods long distances, often exposed to extreme weather and rough handling. To achieve this goal, they’re built for strength and durability, with no energy wasted on making them look good.

Conex Shipping Container Composition

Shipping containers are constructed with a type of steel known as weathering or self-healing. Also called COR-TEN (or corten), the name derives from the two main properties of the steel: corrosion-resistant and tensile-strength.

Corten steel is a very strong material that is weldable and rust-resistant. When weathering steel that is painted suffers a chip or has its paint worn off by the elements, the surface rust prevents further erosion.

Corten is known as steel alloy because it made up of a specific combinations of steels to produce strength and weather-resistance. The metals in this type of steel are usually iron, copper, manganese, nickel, and chromium.

The motivation behind the development of corten was steel that would not need painting and would develop a rust-like exterior after years of weather exposure. With that said, corten also comes in a prepainted form, which has even more benefits, like 25-year anti-perforation.

Besides the type of metal and corrugation, wall thickness is also a factor. The wall thickness of shipping containers varies depending on the type of container and the manufacturer. Standard thickness is usually 1.6mm for the roof and floor, and 2mm for the walls. Thicker walls can increase durability and strength, but also increase the weight and cost of the container. Although thicker steel can be beneficial for special cargo or shipping in extreme conditions, standard thickness provides plenty of strength for most building projects.

Conex Shipping Container Construction

Along with the materials used, the construction of shipping containers is also primarily concerned with strength and durability. The corrugated steel sheets that form the floor, roof, and walls are welded together, building a strong seam and a sturdy frame. The corners of shipping containers are reinforced with steel plates to reduce the effects of strain on the welded points between sheets.

Advantages of Building with Conex Shipping Containers

Besides strength, there are advantages to building with conex shipping containers versus traditional building materials.

Versatility – Shipping containers can be used to create a number of structures and building projects, and are easily adapted with the addition of things like doors, windows, and ventilation.

Cost – Shipping containers can cost quite a bit less than building a new structure of the same square footage.

Pre-assembled structure – Since shipping containers are already assembled in a rectangular structure with walls, a floor, and a roof, they offer a head start on building projects of the same shape and size.

Disadvantages of Building with Conex Shipping Containers

Shipping containers are an excellent option for many building projects but using them does have a couple of disadvantages.

Susceptible to rust and corrosion – Steel is incredibly strong and durable, but can easily rust or corrode if not cared for properly. Modified shipping containers, storage units and trailers are designed to be durable and last for years. But even the sturdiest product will have maintenance or restoration needs. Rather than start from scratch, let M1 Containers help you breath new life into your existing container or trailer. We offer the following restoration services:

Conex Shipping Container Repair

  • Repairing container floors
  • Leveling walls and doors
  • All A/C repairs – window and bard units
  • Replacing doors or fitting new rubber door gasket
  • Patching container holes / filling cracks
  • Refrigerated container service and maintenance
  • Repairing door bars and locking handles
  • Welding patches
  • Replacing security locks or welding new lock boxes
  • Cross member repair
  • Replacing timber flooring
  • Trailers Set Up & Tear Down
  • Delivery & Relocation
  • Metal Finishing and Restoration

Types of Conex Shipping Containers

As they are made to transport a wide variety of cargo in the shipping industry, there are different types of conex shipping containers available for repurposing once they’ve been retired from shipping. The most common type used in building projects is the standard dry container. These containers typically have one door, three closed sides, a roof, and a wood floor built onto the metal container. They have few features but can be easily adapted to a variety of uses and building projects by adding things like doors, windows, insulation, ventilation, and more as needed. Standard dry shipping containers also come in “high cube” dimensions, adding an extra foot of height.

Other Types of Conex Shipping Containers

While standard shipping containers are the most versatile and therefore the most easily repurposed, plenty of other types are available. Some other types include:

  • Open top – similar to a standard container, without an attached roof.
  • Open side – a double door opens on the long side versus the short side, designed for wide cargo that’s easier to load from the side.
  • Tunnel – doors on both ends to accommodate loading and removal of long cargo.
  • Vented – similar to standard containers, with added vents to promote air circulation.
  • Refrigerated – already insulated to be kept cold, designed for transporting things like food.
  • Insulated – insulated to be kept cool, but not refrigerated.

How to keep your Conex Shipping Container in optimal condition

1. Install your container structure on a flat surface.

Keeping conex shipping containers on a flat surface helps to avoid excess moisture accumulation on any one side or corner of the container. It promotes even drainage underneath the structure, and placing the container on something slightly raised, like paving slabs, can ensure that the underside of the container stays dry.

2. Keep any hinges lubricated and working properly.

Moving parts like hinges are a point of weakness and will break down sooner than the solid portions of the shipping container. These hinges are only found around doors, but keeping the door hinges strong is essential for maintaining the door seal and door strength. Besides lubrication, hinges should also be cleaned to remove any dirt, dust, or debris that could build up and jam the hinge mechanism.

3. Keep them clean and dry.

Even though many containers are made with corten steel that is highly resistant to rust and corrosion, it can still happen because of water and dirt buildup over time. This is particularly important when a conex shipping container is remodeled and intended to be a permanent structure, like a home or office space. Regularly cleaning and allowing the container to dry thoroughly will maximize the steel structure’s lifespan.

4. Check for rust regularly.

It’s important to check for rust on a regular basis, even if the container is clean and dry. Tiny rust spots can grow quickly, and if they’re left for long enough, they will damage the container’s walls permanently. Treating and removing a small rust spot is relatively quick and easy, compared to trying to fight a large rust area that has almost or already broken through the steel sheet or seam. Call us for any repair or maintenance needs!

 

Modified Conex Shipping Containers from M1 Containers

Think a corten steel conex shipping container could be strong enough for your next building? Whether you’re looking for office space, storage, or a variety of other custom projects, M1 Containers offers the best modified shipping containers for your needs. Contact M1 Containers today to discuss your needs and whether a shipping container structure is right for you!

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