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

Archive for August, 2018

The History of Steel

August 21st, 2018 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter

It’s ironic that the attached article about the Entire History of Steel was given to me by our very own Ken Steele in Sales! Ken thought that our readers would enjoy the Entire History of Steel, and he could not have been more correct!

With raw materials that truly come from the heavens, steel, in its initial form was used as far back as 2,500 BC as an alternative to bronze. Around 1,800 BC, people along the Black Sea wanted to develop a metal stronger than bronze that could be used for weapons. By 500 BC, the Chinese built furnaces to smelt and mold iron. For 1,700 years, iron was the material used for developing swords and other weapons. Finally, in 1851, cast iron and glass was used as a construction material at the Great Exhibition of Industry and shortly after, Henry Bessemer set out to produce steel in large quantities.

In 1850, American steel made the scene though at a rate of about 1/5 that of Britain. After the Civil War, all attention was focused on the development of American steel and this brought great wealth and development to the US. Ever since then, steel has been the material used to provide strength, durability and flexibility to industry worldwide. For transportation, construction and of course, packaging, steel continues to be the world’s most dominate raw material.

A Tariff Strategy Not to Use!

August 14th, 2018 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Industry News, Skolnik Newsletter

The tariffs imposed in 2018 are causing shippers to look at money-saving options for reducing costs. Usage of steel drums continues to defy contenders as being the most reliable packaging for the shipment of dangerous goods. However, while the popularity is sustained, there are some manufacturers who are reducing metal thickness in order to postpone price increases. Less steel equals less cost, right? No, this could not be more wrong! The result is that while these thin gauge steel drums are able to qualify for the minimal requirements of the DOT and UN certification, they do not perform as well in-field and the cost of in-transit and warehouse incidents will increase. Gone are the days of drum failures due to seam leaks — today’s most common incidents are related to fork-lift puncture and material handling. This change in the type of incidents, and the reduction of metal thickness leads one to conclude that these thin walled drums might be paving the way for a new set of in-transit occurrences. Furthermore, most shippers of steel drums fail to realize the g-forces associated with in-transit steel drum shipments and often ignore or underestimate adequate blocking and bracing preparation. CFR49 173.28(4)(i) states that for steel drums intended for reuse, 0.92mm is the minimum allowable steel gauge or a 0.82 body is allowed if the heads are 1.11mm. Even at these minimum levels, we recommend that thicker options are justified by the reduced risk of the transport package. Be smart. Don’t be penny-wise and pound-foolish by choosing to reduce steel thickness and thereby increasing in-transit risks.

Who is Liable? Hazardous Material Drums and Storage

August 9th, 2018 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: HazMat

You can never be too careful when dealing with hazardous waste, especially when discarding it. Businesses whose work produces hazardous waste as a byproduct must store it properly onsite in hazardous waste drums or other certified containers until it can be removed by hazmat professionals. While the waste is onsite at their business it’s their responsibility, and any mishaps would be blamed on them. However, once the waste is finally taken away to a storage site, these businesses remain in a tenuous situation. Despite the fact that the waste is no longer on their property or within their care, these business owners can still be held liable if something happens at the storage site.

As stipulated in the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) there are four reasons a business can get in trouble for their hazardous waste:

  1. Hazardous wastes are present at a facility
  2. There is a release, or possibility of a release of these hazardous substances
  3. Response costs have been or will be incurred
  4. The defendant is a liable party

In addition, there are four classes of liable parties:

  1. Current owners and operators of a facility
  2. Past owners and operators of a facility at the time hazardous waste had been disposed
  3. Generators and parties that arranged for the disposal or transport of the hazardous substances
  4.  Transporters of hazardous waste that selected the site where the hazardous substances were brought.

Based on these regulations, businesses who hire others to dispose of their hazardous waste can still be found liable for regulations broken by a completely separate party.

Our advice is to do extensive research about prospective hazmat partners. Look into storage quality, trustworthiness of disposal company, and longevity of both. Find hazardous waste drums that are reliable and durable and a partner company who knows their stuff, so you can feel confident that your materials are being stored properly and you won’t get hit with penalties later.

How High Are Wine Taxes in Your State?

August 7th, 2018 by Dean Ricker

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

Due to differences in alcohol content, states tend to tax wine at a higher rate than beer but at a lower rate than distilled spirits.

When taxes are levied at the production, wholesale, or retail level, vendors ultimately pass along the cost of these taxes to consumers in the form of higher prices.

Most states use a licensing system to regulate the sale of alcoholic beverages, but some states—known as “control” states—impose a government monopoly on the wholesale or retail of beer, wine, spirits, or all alcoholic beverages.

Kentucky has the highest wine excise tax rate at $3.47 per gallon, followed by Alaska ($2.50), Florida ($2.25), Iowa ($1.75), and Alabama and New Mexico (tied at $1.70).

The lowest wine tax rates are found in California and Texas ($0.20), Wisconsin ($0.25), and Kansas and New York ($0.30).

Our thanks to Ray Kasey for bringing this matter to our attention.

See How Your State Ranks

The Importance of Clarity: Overpack Drums vs. Salvage Drums

August 1st, 2018 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: DOT/UN, Salvage Drum

We can’t overstate how important it is for everyone involved in the shipment or storage of materials to understand the requirements of the situation and materials. In our line of work, part of that is knowing the right drums are used when shipping materials in order to comply with safety standards. These safety standards are important for keeping people safe, but also for avoiding the penalties that come with using defective drums, or the wrong class of drum entirely.

In the past, there has been confusion among manufacturers, customers, and shippers about the difference between Overpack Drums and Salvage Drums. Due to a lack of clarity, and a industry wide game of telephone, Overpack Drums and Salvage Drums were thought of as the same exact products for a while. This, of course, leads to a whole array of problems. First of all, if you were to use an Overpack Drum to do the job of a Salvage Drum, your materials would not be secure. Second, that particular load would certainly not meet DOT or UN standards.

As you would guess, there is a marked difference between Salvage and Overpack. A difference that, while we are sure most everyone in this industry knows, bears repeating — which is why we revisit this topic regularly. Overpack drums are used to hold packages or materials that are still properly sealed and meet safety and shipping regulations on their own, and the drum is used to consolidate materials. Think of them as a second layer of protection, or a handy way to transport multi-pack items. Salvage drums are used to hold leaking, damaged or otherwise compromised and non-compliant packages.

Clarifying every detail of your materials or shipment is important to everyone involved. There are a laundry list of important regulations that protect us, and the environment, but without clarity and strong communication about standards and norms, it is incredibly difficult to follow them and maintain good, safe and compliant business practices.