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

Archive for May, 2018

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.

What’s that embossment mean??

May 22nd, 2018 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, Skolnik Newsletter

When a packaging has passed its performance test criteria, markings indicate the performance rating and test information specific to the certification test. This information must be applied in accordance with CFR 178.3(a)(3). For drums over 100 Litres (26 US Gallons) there are a number of ways that the marking can be applied including stamping, embossing, burning and printing and there must be one complete set of durable marks on the side or non-removable top head, and a second partial mark embossed permanently on the bottom head. The purpose of having the two marks is that once filled, the drum will sit, primarily, on its bottom head, and the UN test information will be readily viewable for the user at the side or top mark. The permanent partial bottom mark must conform to the application options indicated earlier. However, the side or top mark is required to be durable rather than permanent. Therefore, it is common and acceptable for the durable mark to be printed on the drum, or on a self adhesive label which is attached to the side of the drum. The characters on the label and the permanent embossment are subject to the size and sequence requirements as specified in 178.3(4) and 178.503(a)(1) through (a)(6) and (a)(9)(i).

Skolnik.com offers a unique breakdown of the individual marks by drum style. Click any of these links to understand the marking code:

The Various Devices of Secondary Containment

May 17th, 2018 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Industry News

A key component of properly storing and transporting hazardous liquids is to have secondary containment plans in case a spill happens. There are plenty of EPA regulations on secondary spill containment, and central to these rules is having the appropriate gear to keep you and your workers safe when the inevitable spill happens.

Here are a few broad categories of tools and containment devices that you can use in your efforts to prevent the problem before it can happen:

 

Containers

The most obvious solution to a potential spill from your primary container is to have a second container to catch what comes out. Depending on your needs, secondary containers can come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and material, usually metal or plastic. We here at Skolnik have a diverse line of secondary spill containers that are made of either stainless or carbon steel, depending on their compatibility with the materials you’re handling. They meet all applicable UN and DOT regulations, and are specifically labeled with multilingual logos for appropriate international transportation of leaking containers.

Elevated Pallets

As the name suggests, these pallets raise your primary container up off the ground with a tray that has grating on top. This creates a stable platform for your container that can catch spills inside the pallet for proper disposal on a later date. These are useful as temporary solutions and for easily recovering and reusing anything spilled.

Berms

A berm, or raised strip of material, creates a barrier on the floor surrounding the primary container, thus keeping anything spilled corralled into a manageable area for clean-up. These perimeter can be permanently incorporated into the construction of a factory, or temporarily deployed at the loading/unloading site when transporting materials.

Dikes

The opposite of a berm, dikes generate a perimeter by creating channels in the floor that will catch the spill. A common usage of these moats is on construction sites, where they are dug straight out of the ground for a fast and temporary solution for containment.

Slopes

Perhaps the least technologically advanced option, a simple sloped floor may turn out to be the most effective method of secondary containment. The main priority of all of these devices is to pull spills out and away from the primary container for easy, safe clean-up; something a sloped floor can achieve with ease. Usually, sloped floors are incorporated into a larger secondary spill containment system to increase the effectiveness of the other spill containment devices. In fact, depending on what else you’re using, it may be required by law to use them.

Drains and Sumps

Another device regularly added into a system to increase its safety and efficacy is either a drain or a sump. A drain is appropriate if it’s safe to dispose of the liquids you’re handling in your local sewage system. If it would be unsafe to drain the liquid, then you ought to explore sumps, which function similarly to a drain, except the liquids collect in a below ground reservoir instead.

 

Which spill containment device or strategy you use greatly depends on the properties of the material being stored/transported. Containing and addressing a dangerous material obviously comes with different considerations and regulations than a non-dangerous good. In addition to these devices, it’s also crucial to have a plan and the proper tools to control a spill after it happens, which means the appropriate absorbent materials, safety gear and training. Goggles, gloves, absorbent cloth, and first aid are just as important as secondary spill containers when it comes to keeping your workers safe.

 

Spills are an inevitable part of handling liquids at the industrial scale, but if you’re prepared for them, you’ll have the best chance at keeping accidents small. If you have any questions about secondary spill containment, the regulations surrounding it, or what system is the most appropriate for you, contact us here at Skolnik and we’d be happy to help!

 

Rhones Finding a Home in Arizona

May 15th, 2018 by Dean Ricker

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

A recent article in Wines and Vines magazine asks the question, which grape varieties grow best in the extreme conditions of Arizona? Several, it turns out, not least among them many Rhône varieties. At the recent Hospice du Rhône event held April 27-28 in Paso Robles, two winemakers from the state shared their perspectives on pioneering in inclement weather, uncharted soils and nascent wine laws and distribution channels. Wine writer and critic Jeb Dunnuck interviewed Todd Bostock of Dos Cabezas WineWorks based in southern Arizona’s Sonoita and Willcox AVAs, and Maynard Keenan of Caduceus Cellars, based in northern Arizona’s Verde Valley. The theme was high elevation wines, referring to the fact that most of Arizona’s wineries produce wines with grapes grown between 3,500 to 5,500 feet above sea level. The state is home to 86 wineries according to the Wines Vines Analytics winery database. A nascent industry Bostock explained how Arizona’s wine industry launched when the first commercial vines were planted in 1982. “Sonoita was the first to become an AVA, Willcox came later, and Verde Valley might be the next,” he said, listing the state’s three primary growing regions. For Dos Cabeza WineWorks’ two southern-Arizona properties, Cimarron Vineyard in Willcox and Pronghorn Vineyard in Sonoita, rainfall hovers around 12 inches annually, “and most comes right at the end of ripening and going into harvest,” Bostock said. He also described the impact of summer monsoons on the vines. “Half of that twelve inches comes during monsoon season,” he said. “A lot of people perceive that heat and dryness are the problem [in Arizona], but it’s really hail, water, and extreme cold.” Of his first taste of Arizona wine, Bostock said, “It was an epiphany. It was as good as anything else I’d had but it tasted different, and that was exciting to me: to be around when a place figures out what it tastes like.”. Bostock added another challenge: that of evolving laws in a state that has not historically had a wine industry. “The laws weren’t written to allow us to do what we want to do,” he said. “Arizona is open to other winemaking markets, but it’s laid some prohibitive laws to production.” He said state legislators recently closed internet sales of alcohol between the hours of 2 A.M. and 6 A.M., as they do for brick-and-mortar bars. State law also prohibits corkage, “so our wine fans can’t bring bottles to their restaurant,” Bostock said. As such, half of Dos Cabezas sales take place in the tasting room. “We have a small band of enthusiastic consumers, but we still battle image all the time.” Keenan and Bostock both see winegrowing in Arizona as a long game, played with an eye to the future, generations ahead. “I used to think we’d plant vines and make wine,” said Bostock, laughing. “Now I feel more like Moses: if I can get my kids there, I can see the promise land from here. It’s going to take time. We want to figure out what works as quickly as possible, and the only way you can find out what works is by sticking it in the ground and making wine from it.” Keenan concurs. “A lot us in Arizona are puzzling to figure this out. We won’t see the end of the rainbow on this, so we’re setting it up for our grandkids to see. I’m swinging for the fence on many levels.” Click here to see the full line of Stainless Steel Winemaking Barrels from Skolnik.

The History of Hazmat and Dangerous Goods Packaging

May 3rd, 2018 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: DOT/UN, HazMat

If you work in the packaging and transportation industries, there’s a good chance that you come across dangerous goods regularly. If you do, then you also come across the term ‘hazmat’. Now, it’s not hard to understand that the two are connected, but what are those connections exactly? What does hazmat have to do with dangerous goods packaging, and just who establishes the rules behind it all?

First, a quick definition. In the United States, the official term for dangerous goods is hazardous materials, which leads to the portmanteau hazmat. Pretty logical, but also easy to take for granted if it’s just another term in the day-to-day sea of acronyms and abbreviations.

Dangerous goods, and in turn hazmat, is a broad umbrella term that encompasses materials that are radioactive, flammable, explosive, corrosive, oxidizing, asphyxiating, biohazardous, toxic, pathogenic, or allergenic. Also included are physical conditions such as compressed gases and liquids or hot materials, and all goods containing such materials or chemicals, or that may have other characteristics that render them hazardous in specific circumstances.

Oversimplified: anything that can hurt a human.

 

Hazmat Regulation in The United States

With such an intimidating list of dangers under its purview, you would think that protection from dangerous goods has been a high priority for our government as long as possible. But, the DOT, EPA and OSHA, three of the most crucial agencies for regulating the safe handling of hazardous materials in the U.S. weren’t even formed until the late 1960s and 1970s.

Then, it was only in 2004 that the Department of Transportation created the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), which is the agency directly in charge of developing and enforcing regulations in relation to hazmat transportation. Previously, PHMSA’s hazmat and pipeline safety programs were housed within the Transportation Department’s Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA).

Hazmat Regulation Abroad

Regulators at the global level were a little faster to act. The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)’s publication of the first version of The UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods occurred in 1956. While it isn’t obligatory or legally binding on individual countries, this is the guiding document when it comes the establishing procedures regarding hazmat shipping. For example, all Skolnik barrels that bear a UN certification have been produced to the standards established by the most current version of these recommendations.   

The other crucial contribution to hazmat handling that the UN provides is the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, developed in 1992. This is the set of rules that standardized the labeling of hazmat across borders, and is why we use the color coded diamond-shaped pictograms to designate which hazards are in what package.

Further Hazmat Regulatory Bodies

Along with these major organizations, there are plenty of smaller, more specific groups that have their eyes set on specific topics, such as the International Air Transport Association, the International Maritime Organization and the Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail. These are just some of the groups who, as each name suggests, focus on their individual priorities and establish rules and regulations that are adopted, inspire and influence how we handle hazmat here in the states and abroad.


Whether you interact with dangerous goods daily or once in a blue moon, it’s important to not only be able to handle the immediate task of safely storing and transporting these goods, but to know where they fit in larger scheme. If you don’t know why you’re labeling a barrel as hazardous, then it’s easy to make a mistake, and there is little room for error when dealing with hazmat storage and transportation. Luckily, there are plenty of resources for any question you may have regarding hazmat and dangerous goods packaging. All of these organizations have multiple resources you can explore, and if it’s barrel-related, chances are we here at Skolnik can help out too.