When shipping non-bulk drums that contain hazardous materials, it is the shippers responsibility, and liability, to confirm that the packaging is compliant with 49CFR 178.500 and 178.600. With respect to the markings on the package, 178.503(a) states, “The markings must be durable, legible and placed in a location and of such a size as to be readily visible.” In addition, the CFR does not specify a required marking system and therefore, it is the responsibility of the manufacturer to choose a compliant format. At Skolnik, we emboss our permanent marks and use a laser printed pressure sensitive label for the durable side mark. Recently, we have seen drums in which the bottom embossment is illegible and we have seen other marking systems, (that print directly onto the drum surface) which often result in unreadable letters. If a shipper accepts new packagings (drums) that have an embossment or a durable mark that is not legible, they should return it to the manufacturer. If the drum is shipped, it is likely that the DOT will consider the illegible marks to be in violation of the CFR and the shipper will be fined.
STEEL DRUM INDUSTRY NEWS, TRENDS AND ISSUES
Archive for September, 2007
It‘s not news that, except at Skolnik, all forms of packaging have been on “diets” for the last 20 years. Less steel, less plastic, less paper — it’s all about reduction of material thickness to reduce cost and natural resource depletion. In the case of steel drums, we‘ve seen other manufacturers reduce the weight of their drums by as much as 25%, claiming that these lighter gauge drums perform as well as the heavier ancestor. Now comes recent news from the DOT (Department of Transportation), that for bulk packagings, 25% of hazardous material incidents occur during the process of loading or unloading for transportation. In addition, 33% of incidents that occur in transportation were the result of damage that occurred during the process of loading or unloading. Furthermore, most of the damage during the unloading/loading process is related to puncture by forklift, nails and other sharp objects used to secure the load. Though DOT did not summarize the loading and unloading statistics for non-bulk (steel drums) packagings, the DOT incident log (as summarized by CL Petit of RIPA), indicates that 61% of failures were due to drums being punctured or crushed with 63% of failures the result of a forklift accident; improper preparation; inadequate blocking and bracing; impact with a sharp object, and abrasion. With wall thickness diminishing, statistics now confirm that the increase in packaging incidents relates directly to these “slimmer” versions of the steel drum “work-horse.” The result is more clean-ups and more product loss — all for very little savings. In my opinion, a packaging option is not favorable if, by diminishing the cost, the risk to the contents is increased. In the case of steel drums, thickness does matter.
Originally conceived for winemaking, our complete line of stainless steel wine barrels is now being used for more than just wine. Recent customer applications include the making of tequila; rum; vodka; beer and Limon cello. Because our stainless barrels range in size from 5 to 55 gallons they are ideal for small artisan batches and experimentation. As an additional benefit, stainless steel acts as a superlative material for aging wine, beers and spirits, allowing the natural flavors to develop without added flavors imparting from the barrel. Makers of Sauvignon Blanc have known of this benefit for quite a long time and now, others are learning of this trade secret. Our standard version stainless steel wine barrels have a 2″ Tri-Clover fitting in the center of the body, and other plug options are available for special applications. With grape harvest in full swing be sure to leave us ample time to fabricate and ship your orders.