1-800-441-8780

1-773-735-0700

Industrial Packaging for Critical Contents

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

Archive for 2017

The Dangers of Transporting Precious “Live” Goods

June 27th, 2017 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Industry News, Safety, Skolnik Newsletter

On April 20, 2017, a special passenger arrived on a United Airlines flight from London Heathrow to Chicago O‘Hare. He was in good health and spirits the last time someone had checked on him a few hours before takeoff. But when it came time for him to change planes on the second leg of the journey, an attendant discovered that he had passed away.

His name was Simon, and he was an enormous rabbit, measuring 3 feet in length, from whiskers to cottontail.

The public outcry was instantaneous. While no definite cause of death was determined by press time, the owner of the rabbit, a U.K.-based animal breeder named Anette Edwards, demanded an explanation and later received an undisclosed sum for compensation for the loss of the animal. The breed, known as a Continental Giant, can be sold for more than $5,000.00! Simon’s father, in fact, is the holder of the world record for length, at more than 4 feet. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation figures, 35 animals died on board U.S. airlines in 2015. Of those, 14 died on United flights — the highest rate of any U.S. carrier.

The tragedy illustrated the paramount importance of the health of animals that are being transported by air, whether it is in the baggage compartment of a 767 passenger jet, where Simon was, or a climate-controlled, chartered freighter modified for carrying multiple large animals. Despite the public relations risk and the expense required to ensure the safety of animal transport, business is booming now for forwarders and carriers willing to serve this niche.

In an era where capturing specialty, high-value cargo can be the difference between profit and loss each quarter, the movement of livestock and exotic animal charters is an increasingly attractive option — especially when large mammals are involved.

Interest in animal transport is building not just because of the niche income but because of rumors that International Air Transport Association (IATA) may soon launch a new Center of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV) program specially designed for Live Animals. While IATA officials would not comment publicly on a timeline for a CEIV-Live Animals certification, there have been discussions about how the program would work.

Should a CEIV-Live Animals standard emerge in the next few years, the physical proof of certification in safe handling methods could prove to be a lucrative accolade for a forwarder, a ground handler, or an entire airport community, to attract animal shippers who never want to hear another sad Simon story.

Safe Lithium Battery Containment

June 23rd, 2017 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: DOT/UN, Industry News

Lithium-ion batteries are the most commonly used batteries in consumer electronics and medical devices today, and they have been exploding. For all of the benefits and conveniences, lithium batteries have offered consumers — higher power density, lower memory effect, long life — they have a number of downsides and risks. Their sensitivity can lead to an explosion and, for this reason, they are considered “dangerous goods” and are banned from commercial aircraft.

The result is a kink in the supply line and, for those who rely on medical devices powered by lithium batteries, more than a mild inconvenience. At present, these batteries are only permitted on cargo aircraft and cargo planes only fly to large airports. As a result, the batteries cannot get to their final destinations.

The world isn’t going to suddenly stop needing lithium ion batteries anytime soon, so this is a puzzle that needs a solution. But, you know what they say: Necessity is the mother of invention. Skolnik Industries and Labelmaster have been working together to devise a package that can safely contain spent lithium ion batteries for bulk transport. This overpack package would serve as a multi-pack solution for the batteries as well as a secondary spill containment measure should the batteries be compromised in transit.

While it is always a pleasure to work with our friends at Labelmaster, we’re eager to find a safe and strong solution to this problem. The project cannot be completed until the DOT releases its final testing requirements for these package types, and, as with all Skolnik Industries products, this lithium battery-safe overpack container would be rigorously tested to meet all pertinent DOT regulations.

Once the regulations are set, we look forward to providing shippers and manufacturers with a safe, efficient solution to lithium battery containment, and helping alleviate the delay for those who need battery replacements for their medical devices.

Using and Keeping Closure Instructions

June 20th, 2017 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, HazMat, Skolnik Newsletter

In previous Skolnik Newsletters, we have mentioned the need for drum users to follow the “Skolnik-Specific” Closure Instructions when closing a drum manufactured by Skolnik. Shippers of dangerous goods containers are required by DOT (49 CFR 178.2(c) to follow these specific instructions when preparing the completed package for shipment over public right-of-way. Closure combinations and drum designs vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and therefore, Closure Instructions are not generic. Recently, DOT has also stated that every time the drum is prepared for shipment, even if empty and going to a reconditioning or disposal facility, the closure instructions must be followed. Use proper calibrated tools when effecting closure and remember, 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.

Check out the following on the Skolnik Web site:

WRITTEN INSTRUCTIONS

VIDEOS

Liquids-Certified Overpack Drum

June 13th, 2017 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Salvage Drum

Using a drum that has been tested and certified to hold your particular contents is crucial. If you came to this post looking for details on an overpack container for your liquids, we are sorry to disappoint. Despite the post title, there is no such thing as a liquids-certified overpack drum. Why? Well, that answer is pretty clear once you think about it.

An overpack is a container that makes handling a package more convenient or consolidates two packages that are not leaking. It is designed to hold another container. That other container is considered a solid, regardless of what it is holding inside. Overpack drums are often used in multi-pack situations too. In all cases, the overpack technically contains a solid.

But what if you want to use an overpack drum to contain a liquids-certified package that is leaking? You shouldn’t. Overpack drums are not certified for liquids or to hold damaged packages. The container inside an overpack must be intact, if it is damaged, defective or leaking you must use a salvage drum.

Some sources use the terms overpack and salvage interchangeably, but they are not the same. We have previous blogs that cover the differences between salvage drums and overpack drums in more detail. One of the differences? There is such thing as a liquids-certified salvage drum.