Thompson Fabricating Incorporated
Steel Fabricators For the Waste Industry


A variety of manufactures have their own terminology when describing the grade of Roll-Off and Hook- lift containers that they build. To ensure you get the container that best suits your need you must pay attention to detail and terminology. For Example here at Thompson Fabricating Inc. we have 3 grades , Light Duty, Standard Duty and Heavy Duty each are designed for certain industries and applications.

Light Duty (Recycling and Landscaping)

Standard Duty (Construction and Demolition)

Heavy Duty (Scrap Metal)

Some key areas to focus on when purchasing containers are tubing thickness, spacing of channel cross members, and floor and side sheet thicknesses! These all have an effect on the containers structural integrity, longevity and pricing. 

Let’s focus first on Tubing and think where it is and how it is used in a container. Starting from the bottom up most containers today are built with 6” x 2” or 5” x 2” main rails. These are the support tubes that run front to back on a container and are what the supports the container whether it is empty or loaded and play a very important part when the container is being loaded onto either the Roll-off or Hook-lift Hoist.  These tubes that are subject to constant downward pressure and are designed to rest on top of the hoist and support the load. The 3 main thickness you will find container manufacturer’s using is .180, .125 & .375 wall. The most common main rails thickness you will see quoted is .250 depending on the haulers preference the tube can easily be switch without effecting the production process the effect it will have on the container will be the price.

Now let’s focus on Top Rail Tube of a container, this is the Tube at the top of the side walls and across the Front End of the containers, this tube will help hold the shape of the side walls. Rectangular Tubing is used on most Rectangular Roll-off & Hook-lift containers and Square Tubing is used on larger Bath Tub Style containers. The 3 main thickness you will find container manufacturer’s using is .120, .180, & .125 wall. The most common Top Rail thickness you will see quoted is .180 depending on the haulers preference the tube can easily be switch without effecting the production process, the effect it will have on the container will be the price.

Another area to focus on when shopping for containers is the thickness of the floor sheet(s). The floor thickness is usually determined by the application of the container. You may sometimes see 10 ga. quoted on smaller containers that will be used for recycling and light debris. Two of the most common thickness quoted are 7 ga. ( 3/16”) or ¼”, both have certain applications that they serve best, typically you will see 7 ga. quoted on Construction and Demolition containers, ¼” is usually found on Heavy Duty containers that are used in the Scrap metal recycling industries.


The last major area of a container to look at is the side wall thickness, with the side walls there are usually 3 – options used and again as with the floor it depends on the application the container will be used for.

12 ga. side walls are typically paired up with 10 ga. floors for containers designed for recycling and light debris, you may also see 12 ga. quoted on C & D containers as well.

10 ga. side walls are very common on C & D containers and offer a higher degree of strength, rigidity and longevity for containers.

7 ga. will be found on Heavy Duty containers and paired with ¼” floors to offer the user a container that is tough enough to withstand the abuses associated with Scrap Metal recycling.


So before making your next important container purchase I hope you will take the information from this and “CHECK YOUR SPEC” for options that you may have previously over looked or thought unimportant! Everybody wants to save a buck and price is important but it should never be the only deciding factor as the old saying goes “YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR”!   

Steel Gauges..

When purchasing Roll-off and or Hook-lift containers it will be very helpful if you have basic knowledge and understanding of Steel Gauges, what they are and how they work. When it comes to containers two main structural features to focus on are sheet steel used on the floor & sides of the container and the tubing used for the main and top rails. 

I will start with the Wall thickness for Tubing which is typically referred to in decimal form (.250) when being purchased from the mill or service centers.  You may see it referred to either in Decimal (.250) or fraction (1/4”) form when being quoted from different Container manufacturers.  Wall thickness of tubing is hard to detect but can easily be understood. An easy way to determine the wall thickness of a certain tube would be to look at the radius on any of the four corners of the tube, the rule to use is that the radius is 2 times the wall thickness, so the radius of a ¼” tube should measure ½”  on the outside. 

Sheet steel is referred in gauges, which can be a little more complex to understand for someone that is not familiar with how it is measured.  With sheet steel there is a range or tolerance that allows the steel of different thickness to still be consider the same gauge.

The larger the gauge number the thinner the steel. 

Example of the most common gauges used in container manufacturing

12 gauge steel range in decimal form is .0972 - .1120 or the Gauge Decimal of .1046

10 gauge steel range in decimal form is .1271 - .1419 or the Gauge Decimal of .1345  

7 gauge steel range in decimal form is .1719 - .1868 or the Gauge Decimal of .1793

The following chart should help explain the basic of steel thickness of sheet steel and tubing wall thicknesses.

Once the material thickness exceeds 7 ga. generally in the container business it is then referred to in the fraction form.


TFI has decided to implement a blog to help inform others about the process, changes and what to look for when purchasing Roll-off, Hook-lift & other products for the Waste Industries.


First we would like to introduce you to and provide you some background on our staff who will be posting blogs.

Dean Madasz Chief Operating Office of Thompson Fab. Inc.

I have been employed with TFI for 20 years. Hired in 1995 as a fabricator/welder in the shop, learning the process of fabricating Roll-offs & Hook-lift containers.  I started selling containers part time in 1998 while still working in the shop. In 1999 I began selling containers full time, becoming VP of Sales in 2001 & was promoted to COO in 2010. Pulling double duties of overseeing the daily operations of the company while still engaging with customers in the selling process.

In the 17 + years I spent selling TFI containers it has allowed me to work with customers to find out what works best for them in the field. I have helped to customize various containers to best fit their needs and taking feedback from our customers to help TFI improve our products. Venturing into new industries such as Oil & Natural Gas drilling has brought new product lines to TFI, throughout the process I have helped design products that fit the customer’s needs and are user friendly that can be built efficiently and cost effectively.

I will post articles sharing the knowledge I gained over the years to help others in their decision making process when it comes to purchasing new Roll-off & Hook-lift containers, as well as giving insight on many other products for the waste industry.


Ed Nicastro   Sale Representative of Thompson Fab. Inc.

Ed graduated from Clarion University in 2002, with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. He has been employed with TFI for just over 3 years, hired in December of 2011 to handle inside sales.

Although Ed had prior sales experience he was new to the container business. He spent his first 3 months working all positions in the shop from the acceptance of raw materials, to the assembly of the containers, to loading the final product for delivery. Being hands on in the shop was a great learning experience, essential in assuring high quality customer service by being knowledgeable on the products for our customers.

Fielding the majority of the sales calls now and having client’s in diverse industries, Ed will be able to bring up to date information to our blog page including some of the most commonly asked questions and answers that he receives on a daily basis, and also be able to give in site on what current markets are doing .    




Mark DeSabato Jr.  Draftsman of Thompson Fab. Inc.

Mark graduated from Trumbull County Career & Technical Center with an Associate’s Degree in CADD Engineering in 2008. Mark has been employed with TFI for 3 years, Hired in March of 2012 to handle the computer CAD programs for all container and specialty tanks, creating models to ensure efficiency when the orders are assembled in the shop.

Mark also uses his computer knowledge to assist the (in-house) IT support. He is also part of our marketing team, in charge of designing and launching our computer and magazine design advertisements, as well as updating our web and social media sites with content and photos. He will inform us on all tech and design news.