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

Archive for 2018

PHSMA launches HAZMATICS

June 19th, 2018 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, HazMat, Industry News, Skolnik Newsletter

Recently, the DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) launched the HAZMATICS portal for shippers of dangerous goods classified contents. The Portal allows a shipper to log in and complete the Form DOT 5800.1 Hazardous Materials Incident Report. The Portal is a ‘One Stop Shop’ where industry, modal, state and other business partners can access PHMSA services via the internet, creating a single source for crucial Hazardous Materials and Pipeline Safety data via single sign-on access.
There are HAZMATICS video tutorials which are not publicly available on YouTube at this time. However, they are imbedded in the User Manual Incident Reporting Guide on the HAZMATICS landing page within the Portal. If you have not yet created a user account within the Portal, this link will take you to instructions on how to sign up. The link also, includes instructions on how to view the HAZMATICS video tutorials. These instructions are located towards the bottom half of the page.

Ripple Effects of Steel Tariffs Impacting California Wine Industry

June 12th, 2018 by Dean Ricker

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

According to a recent article in the Napa Valley Register, China has followed through on threats to raise tariffs on U.S. wines and a range of other American products, retaliating against the rate increases the Trump administration levied on steel and aluminum from China in March. The new retaliatory tariffs raise the rates on U.S. wines entering China by 15 percent, adding to pre-existing tariffs and taking the total levies paid on a bottle of American wine from 48.2 percent to 67.7 percent. “Wine is a luxury item, if you will, that the U.S. has become a real exporter of and mainland China is the fifth-largest export market for U.S. wines,” said Michael Kaiser, vice president of WineAmerica, a national trade association and public advocacy group representing wineries in all 50 states. “The fact that it’s become such a high-end good in China right now I think is one of the main reasons for (the tariffs),” Kaiser said. China’s growing taste for U.S. wines accounted for more than $80 million of American wine passing into the country last year, with the vast majority coming from California producers. A report last month from Wine Institute, the trade group for more than 1,000 California wineries, noted that consumption of imported wine in mainland China had increased 2.5 times in the past five years. In a statement issued after the tariffs took effect, Robert Koch, president and CEO of Wine Institute, said, “This new increased tariff will have a chilling effect on U.S. wine exports to one of the world’s most important markets.” With the pre-existing tariffs, American winemakers are already at a disadvantage when competing with other countries importing wine to China, Koch said, “and this will only exacerbate that problem.” Echoing that sentiment, the Napa Valley Vintners trade group said Tuesday, “This puts our producers at a further disadvantage for selling our wines in the China market and makes it even more difficult for consumers in that country to have access to our high-quality wines.” In particular, the newly added 15 percent tariff widens the gap between American wines and those from competitors in countries like Chile, New Zealand and Georgia, which enter China tariff-free. Wines from Australia will also be tariff-free in China by 2019.Scott Meadows is general manager at Silenus, a “small winery in Napa that, of course, employs proud Americans.” The winery sells 80 percent of its wine to export, Meadows said. “And of that 80 percent we probably sell 80 percent of that to China. So for us, it’s a huge problem.” The winery, which has been working in the Chinese market for eight years, currently has several ongoing contracts with distributors that were supposed to be completed at the end of last month, but have been put on hold because of the price increase, Meadows said. That said, check out the full line of our Stainless Steel Wine Drums here.

Hot or Cold Rolled? The Differences Between Steel Types

May 31st, 2018 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Industry News

It should come as no surprise that we here at Skolnik take great care in the steel we use to make our barrels. In every size we offer, from 15 gallon drums to 110 gallon and everything in between, we carefully consider every decision of the process, and one of the first to make is whether to use hot rolled steel, or cold rolled. Despite sounding like coffee orders, these terms describe how the steel is handled early on, and has a big impact on the final outcome of our barrels.

Regardless of the type of rolling process the steel ultimately goes through, when it’s first created it’s shaped into an ingot, billet, bloom or slab; the different shapes and sizes of the still raw, semi-finished steel. From there, the steel is heated above 1700 degrees Fahrenheit, which breaks down the crystals that make up the metal’s natural state. From there, the malleable molten metal is pushed through a variety of wheels, or rollers, that form the metal into its next shape. This can be the “I” shape of a structural beam, the round shape of a rod, or the flat sheets that we eventually use in our drums.

If this is all the work done on the steel, it’s considered hot-rolled. The steel is left to cool and then shipped off to be used in a wide variety of applications. Because of this shorter production time, hot-rolled steel is cheaper than cold-rolled. The trade-off is that is has an unattractive scale on the outside from being heated and is less accurate in its dimensions due to the shrinking and warping that occurs as it cools. Cold-rolled steel, on the other hand, isn’t finished after its initial shaping, and the additional steps it goes through are what sets it apart from its hot-rolled counterpart.

Once it’s been cooled to room temperature, there are a variety of finishing steps that cold-rolled steel can go through in this cooler state, including additional passes through rollers to further shape it, annealing, tempering and surface grinding and polishing. By going through these extra steps, cold-rolled steel is a cleaner, more attractive, more resilient metal with more accurate dimensions than steel that has merely been hot-rolled.

Here at Skolnik we only use cold-rolled steel in our products. In order to insure the correct dimensions crucial for maintaining the quality and consistency of such products as our 15 gallon drums, cold-rolled steel is the appropriate choice. Not only that, but it’s also better at taking paints and finishes that we apply to our barrels, making sure the surfaces of each drum are up to our demanding standards. Of course, how the steel is rolled is only one of many decisions made on the path to an excellent barrel, but by making the right choices early on, we insure that we make the absolute best product for our customers.

No Torque Wrench, No Compliance!

May 29th, 2018 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, Skolnik Newsletter

By now, most shippers of dangerous goods know that following Closure Instructions for UN certified packagings is a must in order to have a compliant package. Having a non-compliant package, one that is not closed in accordance with the Closure Instruction, can put the shipper at risk for sizeable fines from the US-DOT. One of the steps in the Closure Process of a Salvage Drum or any Open Head, Bolt Ring style steel drum, is to:

TIGHTEN THE BOLT — with a calibrated torque wrench while using downward pressure on the cover and hammering the outside of the ring with a non-sparking dead-blow mallet to further seat the ring. Continue tightening and hammering the ring until the torque stabilizes at 55 – 60 ft-lbs and does not decrease when further hammering on the ring circumference is performed. Ring ends must not touch. (Effective 25 September, 2006 and in accordance with CFR 178.2(c), we have revised this procedure to use torque as the most effective closure requirement.

With a specific torque range specified, the shipper must be able to confirm that the closure meets this requirement. Closure without a calibrated torque wrench would result in a non-compliant package (unless the shipper has an alternate means to confirm the torque). When DOT inspectors visit shipper facilities, they will ensure that packaging manufacturers, fillers and shippers comply with Performance Oriented Packaging requirements specific to each packaging manufacturer. To confirm the measured torque, DOT Inspectors will expect shippers to have a recently calibrated Torque Wrench, and calibration certification in use when closing drums prior to shipment.

If a shipper chooses not to use a Torque Wrench, a Level-Lock Closure Ring is an alternative closure option. The Lever-Lock Ring does not require a Torque Wrench for a compliant closure.

Click here to see the written and video instructions of the Skolnik Closure Instructions for the Bolt and Lever-Lock Rings.