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

Archive for 2017

Paris to Ban Gas Cars

November 28th, 2017 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Industry News, Skolnik Newsletter

Planning to be a leader in environmental protection, the City of Paris authorities announced a plan to banish all petrol- and diesel-fueled cars from the world’s most visited city by 2030. The move marks an acceleration in plans to wean Parisians off gas-guzzlers and switch to electric vehicles in a city often obliged to impose temporary bans due to surges in particle pollution in the air. Paris City Hall stated that France had already set a target date of 2040 for an end to cars dependent on fossil fuels and that this plan also required speedier phase-outs in large cities.

The French capital, which will host the Olympic Games in the summer of 2024 and was host city for the latest worldwide pact on policies to tame global warming, has already been eyeing an end to diesel cars in the city by the time of the Olympics. Already under attack over the establishment of no-car zones, Paris City Hall has established car-free days and fines for drivers who enter the city in cars that are more than 20 years old. Downplaying the use of the word “ban,” the plan is designed to introduce a feasible deadline by which combustion-engine cars would be phased out.

There are about 32 million household cars in France, where the population is about 66 million.Many Parisians do not own cars, relying on extensive public transport systems and, increasingly, fast-burgeoning networks offering bikes, scooters and low-pollution hybrid engine cars for short-term rental. The ban on petrol-fueled, or gasoline-engine vehicles as they are known in the United States, marks a radical escalation of anti-pollution policy. Many other cities in the world are considering similar moves and China, the world’s biggest polluter after the United States, recently announced that it would soon be seeking to get rid of combustion-engine cars too.

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What Are UN Packing Groups?

November 27th, 2017 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Salvage Drum

All of our products here at Skolnik have been rigorously tested to meet every relevant safety standard required for each of their uses. One such regulation standard that containers such as our overpack salvage drums have is a UN marking, providing valuable information about the contents of the drums. While they can be a bit mystifying, we have resources to help answer questions about those markings, and once explained, most of these make sense. Right in the middle of the code there is, however, a letter designation that perhaps needs more elaboration: the X, Y, or Z of the UN Packing Group.

Each letter describes which of groups I, II and III the container is appropriate for. These groups identify the hazard level of the package, with each groups then representing three levels of danger: I is the highest, II is a medium hazard, and III is the lowest rating.Thus, the letter on the salvage drum establishes what level of protection the container provides and what products can be stored in them.

While this letter may be enough information for day to day operations, this leaves one last question still unaddressed: how does the UN determine what is low, medium, and high danger?

The answer to this is found in the very dry and technical Manual of Tests and Criteria, in which UN details their elaborate testing process for various types of materials. Throughout the graphs and charts, one can find that all explosives are assigned to group II. Or if handling flammable liquids, according to the manual, anything that has a flash point greater than 23 degrees Celsius but less than 60.5 degrees is in group III. There are specifications for substances liable to spontaneous combustion, and for ones that, when in contact with water, emit flammable gases. Multiple types of hazards are examined, quantified, and categorized according to how quickly they explode, burn, or corrode.

So, as it turns out, there is elaborate, methodical and thorough science behind these threat-level groups. These categorizations then go on to inform how the materials ought to be stored. While that’s a bit of a reassuring no-brainer, details such as these can easily be overlooked and taken for granted in the hustle and bustle of shipping logistics. Whether you’re trying to decide which Skolnik brand overpack salvage drum is most appropriate for your needs, or have used the same Skolnik brand overpack salvage drum for years, having a fuller appreciation of the container and its components can provide you with the confidence that you’re making the right choices in your business.

Using Replacement Parts for Drums

November 21st, 2017 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, Skolnik Newsletter

When buying a UN specification drum, the entire design of the drum and all its components (heads, ring, gasket, bolt, nut, plugs) are defined in the testing certification. All of these elements are incorporated into a drum type that must meet a test standard, and successfully pass the UN Testing criteria. Once established, shippers cannot alter or exchange any of these components with non OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts as it might impact the ability for the drum to perform as certified. For example, if a filler or shipper were to change the ring from a bolt style to a leverlock or even change the gasket type, this would void the UN certification for the container and could result in a potential DOT fine for the shipper, or a potential hazmat incident. If replacement parts are needed, fillers must make sure that they contact the manufacturer and get original parts that meet the test criteria of that specific drum. Once the drum is filled, compliance with the UN certification is the responsibility of the shipper. To locate the contact information for the manufacturer, look on the Closure Instructions for this information. For all drums manufactured by Skolnik, you can request replacement parts at www.skolnik.com.

What’s So “Natural” About Natural Wines?

November 14th, 2017 by Dean Ricker

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

As a general rule, technology is a good thing. Right? It’s a tangible example of human’s progression— how we improve our lives and surroundings. The wine industry has certainly seen massive benefits from advances in technology. From vineyard to glass, we have tinkered with everything from fertilizer to fermentation. Adding sugars, tweaking yeast; modern winemakers work hard to scientifically engineer every step of the process. Even here at Skolnik, we seek to improve the wine production process with control and waste-reduction provided by our stainless steel wine barrels.

There has, however, been a new trend in the wine industry that rejects technology. Rather than embrace the advances at our disposal, natural wines forgo them entirely. Instead, they seek a return to simpler, more traditional times. These vineyards make wine as their ancestors once did, by merely harvesting grapes, crushing them, and allowing them to ferment. The end result is a straightforward snapshot of that particular vineyard in that particular year. It also means that any irregularities or impurities, flaws or faults all make it into the end product, warts and all.

Of course, how one defines “warts” is part of the experience. While a drinker could devalue natural wine if it’s cloudy or oxidative, another could celebrate the diversity and find their new favorite bottle among the variety of previously unexplored flavors. It’s also very attractive to anyone who is wary of all the chemicals and additives used in modern winemaking and for those concerned that we are becoming less and less attune with nature as we seek control over every single step of production.

Much discussion has been had about the legitimacy of this movement, with equal part supporters and detractors, but the biggest challenge it faces is the lack of accreditation. At this point, anyone can claim to produce natural wine, and there is not yet a governing body to confirm or deny those claims. There is progress towards rectifying that, and establishing quality charters will do a lot to help the legitimacy of the wines

Despite any negative opinions though, in a GMO, pesticide and additive-wary culture, natural wine is a growing industry. Perhaps adopting stainless steel wine barrels is the modern touch the movement needs to push it to mass consumption, or maybe that’s just wishful thinking. After all, the beauty of stainless steel is that it protects against impurities or unwanted additives. Regardless, it seems that natural wine is here to stay. With about 400 natural winemakers in France alone, and many more around the world, this return to a simpler process and the results it produces has enough fans to sustain it for now. For information about our complete line of stainless steel wine drums, check out www.skolnikwine.com