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

Archive for August, 2019

Cargo Drones in 5 Years

August 20th, 2019 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Industry News, Skolnik Newsletter

Indonesian airline Garuda has unveiled plans to purchase 100 cargo drones within five years to deliver freight with payloads of up to 2.2 tonnes to 18,000 islands, with trials set to begin this September. The unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will be procured from China’s Beihang UAS Technology, and will have a wingspan of 18 metres, a range of 1,200 kilometres, and a cargo capacity of 2.2 tonnes and are said to cost about 30% less than conventional cargo aircraft. Garuda will begin trials with three drones in the eastern part of the country, starting in September and lasting until the end of the year. Commercial runs will start early next year in the Maluku islands with the drones flying seafood to Garuda’s cargo hub in Makassar for onward shipping to Hong Kong and Singapore. Delivering cargo to outlying areas of the world’s biggest archipelago continues to be a major logistics challenge, which the proposed drone service could help address.

Although a number of companies, including postal and express operators and e-commerce innovators such as Amazon, have for some time been in trials with drone delivery of small shipments of up to 2kg, mostly using quad-copter or ‘hobby drone’ type technology, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology capable of carrying heavy cargo loads have obviously been more challenging to develop.

Meanwhile, in the US, Sabrewing has been working on developing two different sized vertical-takeoff drones and has the backing of a paying commercial customer that has signed up for a number of units. The Rhaegal is designed to carry a cargo payload of up to 350 kg over distances of up to 360 nautical miles (670 km); the Wyvern is designed to carry a payload of two tonnes over a range of up to 800 nautical miles. It has received permission to start test flying in 2019, and expects to start carrying full payloads in 2020, but does not expect full certification of the aircraft until 2023.

7A Drums: Packaging Requirements

August 20th, 2019 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Industry News

At Skolnik we take great pride in ensuring that all of our products are up to code. From the materials we use to the tests we perform, we always make sure that when used properly, our storage devices are always safe and reliable in all ways required. It is very important though, that everyone utilizing our products are also well versed in government regulations, especially when it comes to storage and transportation of dangerous materials. A regulation that doesn’t get enough attention, but is very important, is that of Permissible Radioactive Materials. We craft the appropriate container for these materials: a 7A Type A Drum. 

And, as with all of our products, we manufacture it stronger and more durable than standards require. We put our 7A drums through rigorous testing procedures to ensure durability in all kinds of situations, from drop tests, to penetration, and stacking tests. However, because it is the shipper who is liable for noncompliant packaging, it is important to use these drums properly. Here are some quick reminders for proper usage of 7A Type A Drums.

The obvious first point is that there should be “no identifiable release of hazardous materials to the environment.” This is of course the most important rule, and all other rules and standards are built around ensuring this one remains unbroken. 

Secondly, you may not alter the packaging in any way that would cause the effectiveness to be substantially reduced. Tampering with the ready made drums is a good way to make sure they do not work to their full potential, so it’s always best to just use them as manufactured and intended.

Other very important rules include the following; make sure all packaging is properly closed, that, when applicable, there is appropriate ventilation, maintain proper air pressure where materials are stored, and of course keep packaging away from sharp materials.

We always make sure our products are up to code, and we know there are a lot of rules but they are there for a reason. We trust all of you to properly observe all regulations when it comes to utilizing special products like the 7A Type A Drums.

The First International Canned Wine Competition

August 13th, 2019 by Jon Stein

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

In an article featured in the “Wine Industry Advisor” Robert Whitley writes about the first International Canned Wine Competition (ICWC) held at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds, on July 24, in California. He reports that the best line of the event was uttered by Handley Cellars winemaker Randy Schock, who was among the judges evaluating the more than 200 entries at the July 24 event. Schock said tasting the canned wines made him “think about how to approach winemaking outside of the bottle.”

Whitley goes on to write that: “At a time when growth in wine sales across the United States has slowed to a crawl (year-to-year sales last year managed a meager 1 percent increase), the industry is looking for the next big thing. Canned wine, which delivers both ease of portability and convenience, could be the ticket.”

All that’s holding back the full embrace of wines in a can is perception. That’s where the International Canned Wine Competition steps in. The results, with 37 gold medal winners from the 200-plus entries, are a strong indication that the industry has overcome some of the early issues surrounding canned wine. Whitley explains that: “Current production techniques utilize a lining inside the can that eliminates the possibility of a metallic taste interfering with flavor and overall balance. And quality is good to very good, meaning wineries aren’t simply diverting the wines they’ve rejected from their bottled blends into can production.”

There are now about 400 wineries producing 900-plus canned wine products, according to organizers of the ICWC, with more to come as acceptance spreads. The competition attracted wines from Italy, Spain, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand as well as a number of wines from across the United States. Benmarl Winery of New York, for example, earned three gold medals, as did Leelanau Cellars of Michigan. Traditionalists may cringe at the thought of fine wine from a can, but we’ve seen that act before. There was resistance almost 20 years ago when domestic wineries began to use screw-cap closures for many premium wines. Oh, the horrors! Never mind that Australian and New Zealand wineries made the switch years earlier with little or no downside.

Today, many consumers go out of their way to purchase screw-cap wines, particularly white wines, rather than those with traditional cork closures. There is no downside in terms of taste, so the purchasing decision often comes down to convenience. I don’t know that wines in a can will go through the same evolution with consumers, but I wouldn’t bet against it.

Here at Skolnik Industries, you can bet on our stainless steel wine barrels. They are reusable, easy to clean, and recyclable at the end of their service life. Check out the full line of our Stainless Steel Wine Drums here.

Ups and Downs of 55 Gallon Drums

August 6th, 2019 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Industry News

At Skolnik, we keep a keen eye on the packing industry. We always want to know how certain products and solutions are performing over the years, as it can greatly affect our own business, but also the business of our customers. Studying these trends we can learn more customer’s growing and evolving needs and how we can better support them. In particular, we like to keep an eye on the industry trends regarding the longstanding, most popular industrial container, the 55 Gallon Barrel.

The Reusable Industrial Packaging Association conducts regular surveys of industry trends and statistics. One item of interest for both RIPA and Skolnik, is the production and reconditioning of 55 Gallon Barrels. Since the early nineties, production and reconditioning of 55 gallon steel barrels in the United States has slowly decreased over time. Whereas the production and reconditioning of plastic barrels in a similar time-span has seen a net increase in production. In addition, when looking at steel barrels, you can see that more are reconditioned than newly produced, and, once again, the plastic barrels are in the complete opposite  situation, seeing more new production than reconditioning.

We will always be making our 55 Gallon Drums, they are one of our most popular items and incredibly versatile. Although the study does not offer any guesses as to the causes behind these trends, we can make a few. Namely that steel drums, especially Skolnik steel drums are manufactured thicker, heavier and stronger than standard plastic drums. Furthermore, steel is more easily sanitized and reconditioned than plastic. No matter what the trends say, we will always make our 55 gallon drums, they are an incredibly versatile and popular sized product. 

It is still interesting to see these very clear trends and preferences in the market. One might expect the production of something like 55 Gallon Barrels to be a consistent number, but to see that there are actual ups and downs gives us valuable insight into our customers needs.  No matter the need though, Skolnik is here to produce high quality 55 gallon barrels you can trust.