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Drum It Up! Steel Drum Industry News, Trends, and Issues

Archive for 2002

Expect More From Our Drums Than Minimum Performance

November 5th, 2002 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN

The debate over appropriate metal thickness for steel drums has turned a corner as a result of our increased concerns about reducing risks and increasing safety. Since the adoption of Performance Oriented Standards, it has been up to the drum manufacturer to establish their own guidelines for the metal thickness used in their United Nations (UN) and US Department of Transportation (DOT) approved packaging. Often claiming that the metal thickness can be reduced and drums can still pass the certification tests, the thinner walled drum does not offer any margin of error for in-transit damage (which is the #1 reason for drum failure). Forever a proponent of reducing the risk of in-transit damage, SKOLNIK drums are known for being thicker, heavier and stronger than others in the field. This is due to the purchasing specifications that we apply to our steel. Even within a gauge, metal thickness can vary up to 10%, and therefore, we purchase steel that is on the high side of every gauge. We know we are unusual since many of our steel suppliers question why we don‘t buy steel "like the other drum manufacturers." And to this, we respond "it is not worth the pennies of saving to buy thinner steel and cause our customers to use drums that merely meet the UN/DOT certifications. Skolnik has a reputation for making a premium product and using thicker steel is just one example of the way we source our raw materials."

Closure Instructions Must Be Current And Followed For Compliance

November 5th, 2002 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN

Closure Instructions for steel drums require that the ‘art’ of closing a steel drum be translated into technical instruction. These instructions are written without any DOT guidelines but must indicate the measures necessary in order to properly secure a package for transport. Recently, the DOT stated that they do expect Closure Instructions to include some reference to torque capacities. Be sure that your Steel Drum supplier is providing Closure Instructions that meet the requirements of CFR 178.2(c) and that you have the tools on hand necessary to comply with these instructions. Verify that you have current SKOLNIK Closure Instructions for your SKOLNIK containers at: www.skolnik.com/pages/closure.html.

And What If It Won‘t Close?

November 5th, 2002 by Dean Ricker

Filed under: DOT/UN

Containers manufactured to be United Nations (UN) or DOT certified must be accompanied by manufacturer specific Closure Instructions. These instructions indicate the process which a filler must follow in order to properly secure the container in accordance with the Testing Process. Torque, dimensional measurements, and visual safeguards are a part of each closure technique. However, it is the responsibility of the filler to not only follow these instructions, but also to REJECT a container that does not appear to be properly closed. A drum torqued at more or less than the prescribed foot pounds, a ring gap greater than or less than the specified distance, or gaskets which appear not to be properly seated onto the bead should be rejected and returned to the manufacturer.

Be Prepared If Dot Enforcement Knocks On Your Door

November 5th, 2002 by Karen Powell

Filed under: DOT/UN

The Hazardous Materials Enforcement division of DOT claims that they do not randomly select their inspection locations. About 97% are the result of an employee complaint. The remaining 3% are the result of prior incident history or the level of risk the company poses to safety. Inspectors look closely at Hazard Communications, Packaging Requirements, Packaging Selection and Self-Certification. Specifically, for non-bulk Packaging Requirements, DOT looks for packagings manufactured prior to 1 October 1994, UN tested and certified packagings, DOT specification packagings for gases, and specification packagings for bulk. Any of the SKOLNIK Engineering, Technical, or Sales staff is available to answer questions regarding container compliance.