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

Archive for the ‘Industry News’ Category

Overpack for 55 Gallon Drums

July 23rd, 2020 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Industry News

You can’t beat a 55 gallon barrel. Not only is it the go-to container for numerous industries and uses, it’s also the iconic steel drum. When you picture a steel barrel, you picture a 55 gallon. And so it’s no wonder that this favored workhorse is a common container for overpack usage as well.

Skolnik’s 55 gallon drum for overpack is tested for solids and certified according to UN criteria. These drums qualify as secure outer packaging for overpack situations.

That is to say, they are manufactured and certified to provide protection or convenience handling a package or to consolidate two or more package (as in a multipack). You’ll note we mentioned they were tested for solids. An overpack drum is not meant to hold a leaking or compromised container. That situation calls for a salvage drum. 

In the most simple terms, an overpack drum is a larger container into which a smaller one can be placed. More often than not, overpack drums are used to make it easier to handle multiple packages or items. At Skolnik, we hold our overpack drums to the same rigorous standards that we do any other container — our overpack drums are pressure tested at 1A2/X plus 15 psa hydrostatic pressure per CFR 49 for the over-packing of Toxic by Inhalation packaging. And, as always, our 55 gallon TIH (PIH) overpack drums are the most popular of the bunch. Considered large enough to hold multiple packages or a smaller container, but not too large so as to complicate shipping or storing.


If an overpack drum is sold as a salvage drum, the DOT will hold both the manufacturer and distributor liable and both parties could face a fine. However, if an overpack is used as a salvage drum, the shipper is also liable. So take care to use containers certified for your use case and materials.

Why and How: Face Masks!

July 21st, 2020 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Industry News, Safety, Skolnik Newsletter

Face masks are one tool utilized for preventing the spread of disease. They may also be called dental, isolation, laser, medical, procedure, or surgical masks. Face masks are loose-fitting masks that cover the nose and mouth, and have ear loops or ties or bands at the back of the head. There are many different brands and they come in different colors. It is important to use a face mask approved by the FDA.

Facemasks help limit the spread of germs. When someone talks, coughs, or sneezes they may release tiny drops into the air that can infect others. If someone is ill a face masks can reduce the number of germs that the wearer releases and can protect other people from becoming sick. A face mask also protects the wearer’s nose and mouth from splashes or sprays of body fluids.

Consider wearing a face mask when you are sick with a cough or sneezing illness (with or without fever) and you expect to be around other people. The face mask will help protect them from catching your illness. Healthcare settings have specific rules for when people should wear face masks.

Disposable face masks should be used once and then thrown in the trash. You should also remove and replace masks when they become moist. Always follow product instructions on use and storage of the mask, and procedures for how to put on and remove a mask. If instructions for putting on and removing the mask are not available, then follow the steps below.

How to put on a Face Mask

Clean your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer before touching the mask. Remove a mask from the box and make sure there are no obvious tears or holes in either side of the mask. Determine which side of the mask is the top. The side of the mask that has a stiff bendable edge is the top and is meant to mold to the shape of your nose. Determine which side of the mask is the front. The colored side of the mask is usually the front and should face away from you, while the white side touches your face. Follow the instructions below for the type of mask you are using. Face Mask with Ear loops: Hold the mask by the ear loops. Place a loop around each ear.

If your Face Mask has Ties, bring the mask to your nose level and place the ties over the crown of your head and secure with a bow. Then take the bottom ties, one in each hand, and secure with a bow at the nape of your neck. Pull the bottom of the mask over your mouth and chin.

If your Face Mask has Bands, hold the mask in your hand with the nosepiece or top of the mask at fingertips, allowing the headbands to hang freely below hands. Bring the mask to your nose level and pull the top strap over your head so that it rests over the crown of your head. Pull the bottom strap over your head so that it rests at the nape of your neck. Mold or pinch the stiff edge to the shape of your nose.

Clean your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer before touching the mask. Avoid touching the front of the mask. The front of the mask is contaminated. Only touch the ear loops/ties/band. At the end of use, throw the mask in the trash. Clean your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer.

The Best Material for the Pharmaceutical Industry

July 13th, 2020 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Industry News

Short answer: stainless steel. There are many different applications for stainless steel in the pharmaceutical industry: sanitary product handling, sample incineration, and many others, not the least of which being product-processing containers. Stainless steel drums are favored in the pharmaceutical industry for their durability, corrosive resistance and ease to thoroughly sanitize.

But just as there are numerous applications for stainless steel in the pharmaceutical industry, there are also numerous grades of stainless steel at work in the pharmaceutical industry.

The most popular stainless steels for pharmaceutical applications are grade 304, 316 and 316L

Stainless steel type 304 is widely popular in almost every industry due to its high resistance to chemical corrosion and oxidation. It is also often referred to as “surgical stainless steel,” so you could say it’s pretty important to the pharmaceutical industry. The largest downside to grade 304 is it’s susceptibility to chlorides.

The next friend to pharmaceuticals is grade 316 stainless steel. This type contains more nickel and molybdenum than 304, which helps rectify the chloride corrosion problem. Type 316 is incredibly heat tolerant, it has a maximum continuous use temperature of around 800°C (1,472°F). As such, it’s preferred for sample and materials handling and any other application that requires high-temperature sanitization to kill microbes. As popular as this stainless steel is in the pharmaceutical industry, it is also the go-to stainless steel for the food and cookware industry and is a favorite for navy applications.

A close cousin to 316 is type 316L, a low-carbon version of 316 that is even more corrosion resistant, weldable and stronger.

Stainless steel is easy to sanitize, difficult to damage, and holds up to harsh chemicals. It is no wonder that the pharmaceutical industry turns to stainless steel drums when it needs a durable, reliable and safe container for the storage or transport of samples and other medical grade materials.

Used Cars, Why Not Used Batteries?

June 30th, 2020 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Industry News, Skolnik Newsletter

As electric vehicles rapidly grow in popularity worldwide, there will soon be a wave of used batteries whose performance is no longer sufficient for vehicles that need reliable acceleration and range. A new study shows that these batteries could still have a useful and profitable second life as backup storage for grid-scale solar photovoltaic installations, where they could perform for more than a decade in this less demanding role. The study, published in the journal Applied Energy, was carried out by six current and former MIT researchers.

As a test case, the researchers examined in detail a hypothetical grid-scale solar farm in California. They studied the economics of several scenarios: building a 2.5-megawatt solar farm alone; building the same array along with a new lithium-ion battery storage system; and building it with a battery array made of repurposed EV batteries that had declined to 80 percent of their original capacity, the point at which they would be considered too weak for continued vehicle use. Check out the entire study here.

Overpack Salvage Drums: Not for Liquids, Not for Primary Shipment

June 4th, 2020 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Industry News

Everything in its place. When it comes to choosing the right drum or container for your materials, it isn’t a matter of preference, it’s a matter of safety. Overpack salvage drums often fit the bill for both. However, while overpack salvage drums are a long standing industry favorite for the efficient and effective transport of damaged containers of various materials, they are not certified to hold liquids on their own and they are not recommended for primary shipment.

This is because overpack salvage drums are designed and certified for damaged, defective or non-compliant packaging discovered or damaged after the transportation cycle has already begun. They are a backup, a solution to a damaged container. They are not Plan A.

Now, an overpack drum not being used for salvage could be Plan-A. Overpack drums are often used in multi-pack situations or to handle a package more conveniently. But traditional overpack drums are designed to protect non-leaking containers or to be used in a combination pack. They are not certified to function as salvage containers for damaged/non-compliant containers. For that, you will require a certified, overpack salvage drum.

Furthermore, overpack and overpack salvage drums are not meant to hold liquids. In the case of a traditional overpack drum, it is only certified to hold another container. That other container is considered a solid, no matter what materials are within that container.

As for salvage drums, to bear the UN certification, an overpack salvage drum is rigorously tested. This test includes a leakproof test. However, the DOT recommends that, once over packed in a salvage drum, a leaking or non-compliant container should be immediately routed to a facility for disposal or re-containment. Again, a salvage drum is Plan B. They are a solution to be implemented in response to a problem. 

You can never be too careful. Always consult regulatory materials and industry specialists before choosing a container.

DGS Symposium on Dangerous Goods will now be Virtual and Free!

May 26th, 2020 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Associations, HazMat, Industry News, Skolnik Newsletter

Hosted annually by Labelmaster, this year’s DGS Symposium (Sept 9 – 11, 2020) was planned for Chicago. However, due to the social-distancing mandates that will be imposed during the autumn months, they have decided to create the industry’s first virtual Dangerous Goods Symposium that will include live streaming panels and 1:1 conversations, on-demand regulatory updates and more featuring the most sought-after DG experts.

From your home, you will be able to attend:

  • Live Q&A sessions and panels with industry and regulatory leaders scheduled at specific days and times between September 9th and September 11th
  • On demand regulatory update presentations for viewing on whatever day and time is best for you
  • Live streaming small group sessions, based on industry or interest
  • Private, one-on-one meetings with industry leaders
  • Networking opportunities and games
  • And, it’s FREE

Topics will range from:

  • International and North American regulatory updates
  • PHMSA work session for operations, investigations and looking forward
  • The FBI, Homeland Security and Dangerous Goods
  • Compliance vs. Competence
  • A look at China’s regulatory complexities
  • Technology in transportation
  • Cross generational training: Challenges and opportunities
  • And, of course, Lithium Battery Friday!

Put the Symposium on your calendar for Sept 9- Sept 11, 2020.

Then register to attend at: www.labelmaster.com/symposium Thank you Labelmaster for turning lemons into lemonade!!!