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

Archive for the ‘Skolnik Newsletter’ Category

Sleep it off…in a Barrel Room!

June 26th, 2018 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Cool Stuff, Skolnik Newsletter

Readers of the Skolnik blog know that we offer news and topical stories effecting the dangerous goods community and the wine industry. However, in this piece, we believe we have found the common ground between both markets! Check out the Matices Boutique Hotel located in Tequila, in the State of Jalisco in Mexico. The hotel recently opened about 25 unique rooms that are designed from the shape of a Tequila barrel!
barrel hotel
The rooms are designed to look like barrels in which the distilled agave product is left to rest — and become reposado — or to age. The idea is for guests to sleep inside the barrels and become like Tequila! This brings a new meaning to “Sleeping it off!”
The idea of the barrel style hotel started when the owner of La Cofradia distillery opened a conventional hotel about 10 years ago. The hotel was successful and he wanted to try a new innovative concept to attract guests, hence the barrel shaped rooms. The rooms are decorated in the rustic style, are located near the distillery, and offers its guests Tequila samplings, tours to the nearby City of Tequila, and a chance to make a clay bottle. The hotel has plans to eventually offer 50 barrel rooms.

Photos of the Barrel Rooms

The website for the Matices Hotel.

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.

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.