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

Archive for 2014

Napa Earthquake: How High is too High

November 11th, 2014 by Dean Ricker

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

One of the most frequent questions we get about our stainless steel wine barrels is, how high can they be safely stacked? The general answer, depending on gauge of steel and barrel design, is 4 to 6 high using standard barrel racks. But the recent earthquake in the Napa region reminds us that there are other factors that must be taken into consideration. The enduring images of the Napa earthquake will likely be the piles of barrels and racks from toppled barrel stacks. While most winery buildings made it through the earthquake with little to no damage, aside from the dramatic exception of Trefethen Family Vineyards’ historic winery building, several wineries suffered damage, lost wine and had staff spending precious time at the onset of harvest cleaning and reorganizing of barrel rooms. Despite the example of the 2003 San Simeon Earthquake, after which a forklift driver had to be rescued from beneath a pile of collapsed barrel stacks, most wineries throughout California still stack barrels up to six levels high with two-barrel racks laying on top of the barrels below. The setup provides for quick and relatively easy access to barrels and maximizes available space in a barrel room. But the big drawback of this stacking method became all too apparent to several wineries near the epicenter of the quake in the Carneros American Viticultural Area and as far into Napa Valley as the Oak Knoll AVA. Charles Chadwell of California Polytechnic University says that, "stacking six high is a bad idea just all the way around," based on shaker table studies he performed. Chadwell said, "barrels stacked four high with one of the specialized racks on the bottom could handle shaking similar to the recent major earthquake in California, and even stacks five high seemed to manage. At six high, I don’t condone that for any system." He added that seismic regulations have so far addressed ensuring the buildings and key infrastructure can withstand earthquakes, but there may be more interest in securing "heavy contents," which would include barrels. He said wineries may soon see a policy in place requiring them to have some type of seismic restraint system to help keep workers safe from toppling barrel racks. "Something that will come out of this is heavy contents and how it relates to life safety," he said. Chadwell said he’d also like to see winery "shark cages" or heavy-duty steel cages placed in easily accessible parts of the barrel room. If an earthquake hits a winery, or a forklift accident triggers a stack collapse, workers could run to the cage and be protected from falling barrels. "If anything goes wrong, at least they have a fighting chance to get into the cage," he said. "They may be stuck there for a while, but at least they’ll be alive."

Skolnik Royalty Making the News

November 4th, 2014 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Cool Stuff, Skolnik Newsletter

For the last four years, patrolling Skolnik has been the responsibility of two noble cats, namely King and Prince. Working with Tree House, a Chicago based cat rescue, King and Prince were brought in as a critical part of the Skolnik team — their job — to keep the Skolnik physical plant free of rodents.

Four years later and King and Prince are doing their job, and doing it well! Since they began their patrol, not a single rodent has been seen! The program of placing cats in businesses throughout Chicago was started by Tree House and is now a successful abatement program. So much so that publicity about Cats at Work has reached as far as Athens, Greece and made frequent news and television spots. More recently, Community Cats, by Anne Beall, identifies the prolific cat communities in Chicago and the growing use of cats to solve one of the most common problems in Chicago. Both residentially and commercially, cats are stepping up to do their job in cat colonies around the city! With an entire chapter dedicated to our King and Prince, you can read the interview I had with Anne Beall about our Skolnik royalty.

Open Head Steel Drums vs Tight Head Steel Drums

October 30th, 2014 by Lisa Stojanovich

Filed under: Industry News

There is a wide variety of stainless steel drums, and many categories can be sub-divided again and again to create a very specific type.  One important classification of a drum is the ‘head’; there are two types, tight head and open head.  The tight head steel drum has both ends seamed and no removable lid and access is through fittings, usually 2” and ¾” in the top.  The open head steel drum has a removable cover and a seamed bottom.  Closure is made with a bolt or lever ring. Both drums types can be United Nations (UN) and Department of Transportation (DOT) certified for hazardous materials or dangerous goods.

Different tools or special procedures are used depending on the materials used to manufacture the drums, but both types start with a welded cylinder.  Next, on a tight head drum, both ends are flanged and thus permanently sealed, so both ends of a tight head drum look like a “bottom.” Open head drums have one end flanged which becomes the bottom of the drum and the other end is curled to create a seat for the removable head.  Typically for tight a head drum there are only two hoops added along the vertical drum equidistant from the middle, while an open head drum may have three hoops in varying distances along the vertical side of the drum.  These hoops add strength to the drum performance. An open head drum may also have a gasket or fittings in the covers.



In almost any industry where contents need to be shipped, drums are used, therefore it is important to make sure contents are being stored in the proper type of drum.  Open heads are best used for solids and viscous liquids.  When items such as honey, paint, or even radioactive waste are being shipped or stored an open head drum should be used.  Tight heads are best used for liquids, contents that can be easily drained through the fittings, such as flavors, fragrances, or beverages.



Whatever is being shipped, the proper drum makes all the difference in reducing risk and safe passage. Keeping transport clean and safe is the main objective for any carrier, and the right drum helps ensure a successful delivery.  Skolnik Industries is dedicated to giving its customers exceptional quality and service.  You can find more information on either drum on our website.

DGIS “Heats-Up” in Scottsdale

October 23rd, 2014 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Associations, HazMat, Industry News, Skolnik Newsletter

While people usually don’t flock to the 110F+ temperatures of Phoenix in the summer, last’s month’s Dangerous Goods Instructor’s Symposium hosted by Labelmaster, had a record breaking turn-out with nearly 200 dangerous goods professionals attending. The conference opened with outstanding workshops including, LaQuita Donald demonstrating Effective Teaching Strategies, Sonia Irusta presenting DG Transport Realities and the Trainer, and Geoff Leach presenting an update of ICAO 2015. The following days were filled with riveting presentations by other industry leaders including Kristel Vermeersch, Mike Hoysler, Robert Jaffin, Shannon Mizell, Aaron Montgomery, Bob Benedict, Donna McLean, Bob Richard, Neil McCulloch and Rhonda Jessop. A notable highlight was the powerful presentation given by Wendy Buckley entitled, Lac Megantic — Anatomy of A Tragedy. The conference was held at the W Hotel and everyone enjoyed the social aspects of this annual networking opportunity. Held annually, the 2015 DGIS will be September 9-11 in St. Louis. To register for this free conference, contact Labelmaster.