Industrial Packaging for Critical Contents

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

Archive for 2012

Challenge Us With Your Packaging Problem!

September 7th, 2012 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Industry News

To those that think, “a drum is a drum” — we would like you to know that you could not be further from the truth. Responsible for transporting the most dangerous goods throughout the world, steel drum variations go far beyond the tried and true “55 US gallon work horse.” There are carbon, stainless, aluminum and galvanized drums in which all dimensions can be increased or decreased. UN Certification testing can be performed for varying content characteristics with optional protective interior and exterior coatings. Options are endless — such as the addition of pressure release plugs, the easy-to-open Quick-Lever locking closure ring and all types of transit packaging choices including: boxing, bagging, palletizing and stretch wrapping. Skolnik’s Sales and Engineering staff welcome your queries about drum alterations and special needs. From 3 to 120 US gallon capacities, 14" to 32" inside diameter, challenge us with your specific packaging application.

Let’s Get Naked

September 7th, 2012 by Dean Ricker

Filed under: Wine

When Skolnik started selling stainless steel barrels to the wine industry two decades ago, the wine industry did not market or boast about “un-oaked” wines. Today however, we have seen a huge shift in the market to the point where “naked” wines are all the rage. Does this mean that the wine makers are undressed when they stomp on the grapes? No, naked is a tongue-in-cheek term vintners use to describe the taste of pure grapes, with no oak in their flavor. One might also see similar wines called “un-wooded” or “un-oaked”. Many styles of wines aren’t given the oak-barrel treatment — mostly whites like Riesling, pinot grigio and sauvignon blanc. These wines taste better younger and fresher, and don’t need the toasty flavor or texture enrichment that aging in oak barrels provide. But others, like chardonnay and almost all red wines, benefit so much from barrels that we’ve come to think of their oaky versions as normal. When a winemaker decides to skip the oak to make a lighter, brighter version, they need to let the consumer know — hence the new wave of “naked” wines. So does “naked” mean lighter? Yes, but a better word might be “fresher”. Fermenting wine in stainless steel protects it from air and preserves the vibrant flavor and tang of fresh grapes. Oak barrels allow the wine to “breathe” in a way that speeds up the aging process, changing the wine’s flavor and boosting its tactile richness. If the barrels are also “new”, the distinctive toasty scent of the oak is infused into the wine, giving it a flavor similar to dessert spices, vanilla or browned butter. So why skip the oak? There a couple of reasons. First, oak treatment adds to a wines cost in many ways, because you need to factor in the cost of the barrels and the extra time needed for aging. Second, there are many people who avoid oaky wines because they prefer younger and fresher tasting wines. Skolnik’s stainless steel wine barrels have played a key role in the ever increasing market for “naked” wines.

DGAC Creates Packaging Working Group

August 10th, 2012 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Associations, HazMat

A working group has been established by the Dangerous Goods Advisory Council (DGAC) to examine packaging testing issues. The group is primarily concerned about container testing by DOT at its Tobyhanna test lab. Group members include packaging manufacturers and shippers of hazardous materials. The Group plans to identify a strategy for working with DOT to use the information gathered at Tobyhanna as a research tool to improve the safety of packaging. The group will review data compiled by DOT since it initiated container testing at Tobyhanna more than a decade ago. They will also examine why packaging design type tests performed successfully at a manufacturers’ locations often result in failures at Tobyhanna. In addition, the Group will review the accuracy of the data obtained from Tobyhanna and posted on the PHMSA website. DGAC also wants to establish a forum for information exchange among and between companies that perform testing, and shippers that use hazmat packaging domestically and internationally. DGAC plans to open and maintain a dialogue with PHMSA on packaging testing issues to ensure all parties fully understand the purpose of Tobyhanna testing and the value of the data published by the Agency.

As a founding member of this Working Group, I believe the DGAC effort will compliment the work that other organizations have done on this issue for more than 15 years. It is critical that DOT recognize that a wide range of packaging producers and shippers are concerned that the Tobyhanna test results do not reflect the real-world performance experience of hazmat packagings (e.g. steel drums). In-field transport of our packagings is successful globally and we want to understand why DOT is focusing on a problem that, statistically, does not exist.

Don’t Cover up the UN Label!

August 10th, 2012 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Associations, DOT/UN, HazMat, Industry News

US Pipeline of Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has kicked off a possible rulemaking on reverse logistics. Under the current HMR, consumer products that are no longer suitable for retail sale are still considered fully regulated. This presents a problem to retail outlets in that many may not have the necessary training or resources to handle fully regulated hazardous materials. As a result, these reverse movements are often con-compliant with the appropriate hazardous materials regulations. According to the Reverse Logistics Association, the process of reverse logistics represents 3-15% of the Gross Domestic Product, which is estimated between $360 billion and $1.8 trillion. Retail outlets often accept returns of hazardous materials from customers that are ultimately shipped back to distribution centers. In addition, online transactions are causing the quantity of reverse logistics shipments to increase and purchases of hazardous materials online have increased. PHMSA is concerned that customers may often return opened or damaged packages containing hazardous materials without any regard for the HMR. PHMSA is looking to identify ways to potentially reduce the regulatory burden associated with the return of these hazardous materials in the “reverse logistics” supply chain, while at the same time ensuring their safe transportation.

This Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeks comment on whether additional language is needed to clarify how returns of hazardous materials purchased online should be handled.