Industrial Packaging for Critical Contents

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

Archive for the ‘Stainless Steel’ Category

Deciphering the Code: 1A2 Drums

May 4th, 2015 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: DOT/UN, Stainless Steel

The title of this post isn’t meant to be a super-secret code; it’s meant to denote a UN certified drum of a specific material. Most simply put, a 1A2 drum is a UN certified open head steel drum. The coding helps anyone coming into contact with the drum to understand key characteristics of the container and it’s intended, safe uses, and proper shipping and storage procedures.

So what goes into these codes? Well, the ‘1’ indicates that this container is a drum. Of course, if you saw the drum, you’d recognize that it is a drum, but on paper, such as shipping and storage manifestos, the container classification is pertinent to proper operations and organization. The ‘A’ informs the reader that this container is made of steel. The material of a container speaks volumes to how it should be used, filled and any safety requirements. Finally, the ‘2’ tells the reader that this steel drum has an open head, meaning the lid of the drum is detachable and can be removed.

With this knowledge, anyone can decipher the UN coding: this container is an open head steel drum. And should be used as such.

Open head? That means this drum has a removable lid secured to the drum with a bolt ring or a lever lock to prevent the container from opening in transit.

Steel? Fantastic. Steel drums are often used for the containment of chemicals, pharmaceuticals and food for storage or transport. Stainless steel is a compatible material for the containment of a wide variety of different products and items, but we still recommend discussing your needs with a Skolnik representative before choosing a specific type of drum.

Now that you can read the code, call Skolnik to learn more about our products and what type of container is the best fit for your needs.

Fit for Food: Skolnik Food Grade Steel Drums

April 9th, 2015 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Stainless Steel

When people think of industrial steel drums they almost immediately think of containers of hazmat materials and barrels of oil. However, one of the most common uses of steel drums isn’t for top secret chemicals or nuclear waste, but for something a little more pedestrian: food.

Food Grade Steel drums are common shipping and storage containers for ingredients and consumables. Shipping ingredients from the original source to where they are needed for production or storing products for curing are important steps in the production of many foods and beverages. Our wine barrels and food grade 304 stainless steel drums are popular options for the wine and food processing industries because they are food safe. In fact, you probably have some food grade 304 stainless steel in your kitchen – it’s the same steel used in a lot of cookware.

The name of the game is keeping the contents and future consumers safe. That’s why every last inch of a drum must be made from food safe steel or other material. Everything from the fittings in the open head cover to the gaskets must be so safe you could eat off of it.

In instances where food grade stainless steel is too expensive, a facility could use a carbon steel drum but must use a food grade lining to keep any contents from potential contamination by the carbon steel. A plastic liner made of a food safe material or an epoxy phenolic lining are the best solution when using a carbon steel barrel for transport of foodstuffs.

Pay close attention to any regulations regarding transport of the particular consumables you are working with as some food or drink products or ingredients in concentrated forms may be classified by the Department of Transportation as a Dangerous Good. These transportation situations would require a UN certified package, like a Skolnik barrel, in addition to meeting food grade requirements.

Safety and security is key. You want to keep your product or ingredients safe during transport and storage in order to ensure they remain safe to consume in the future. Next time you grab a snack or drink, consider the care that went into keeping that product safe and enjoyable and remember that steel drums are used everywhere and for everyday uses, not just the explosions you see in the movies.


Fifty Shades of Steel: Finishes in Stainless Steel Manufacturing

April 2nd, 2015 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is an incredibly useful and versatile material for the containment of many different products. However, despite its popularity and versatility, sometimes stainless steel isn’t enough. It’s hard to believe but there are times when a customer needs more than just plain stainless steel. If you find yourself in that situation, fear not: Skolnik Industries offers finishes that can add or adjust the stainless steel’s qualities and performance in some ways…and no, unfortunately there aren’t 50 shades of finishes.

Stainless steel finishes are added to the size and gauge of steel deemed appropriate for the job by Skolnik and the customer. The finishes alter the properties of the stainless steel to create a more visually appealing look and/or to help the steel perform better for the intended use. In all cases, the finish has a positive impact on the overall condition of the drum. Think of it as a stainless steel facelift: the material underneath is the same, we’ve just enhanced it for the job.

Of all of the finishes available (again, not 50), finishes No. 2B, No. 3, and No. 4 are the most popular and often the most useful in stainless steel barrel manufacturing.

No. 2B – A mill finish that produces a matte grey appearance. 2B is highly resistant to corrosive but cannot be matched after fabrication so, while the finish is economical, it is not the most attractive color in the bunch. Over broad areas, the color may not be uniform, which, depending on your use, may deter you from choosing to use the finish.

No. 3 – Also known as “brushed.” This finish is achieved by using a git abrasive of 80-120 and produces a ground, unidirectional, uniform finish. The brushed finish simulates mechanical abrasions to leave a slightly reflective finish. If you picture the equipment in a brewery, commercial kitchen or science lab, you are probably picturing this brushed No. 3 finish.

No. 4 – Smooth as satin. This finish is achieved through a similar process as No. 3 but, by using a finer abrasive, No. 4 achieves an even smoother look often referred to as “Satin.”

While some choose to add a finish to their stainless steel barrels for cosmetic reasons, never hesitate to ask Skolnik to help you determine whether your barrel might need a finish for functional purposes. If you think you might need a finish, ask yourself what properties of pure stainless steel you need increased. Carefully consider the potential contents of a drum. Once you’ve determined your needs and/or consulted with the team at Skolnik, you can better decide which finish is the correct choice for your order.

Skolnik Industries works hard to create the perfect stainless steel barrels to fit customers’ needs, if you have any questions about which barrels you should be using and whether they require any alteration, finish or special liner, please consult our knowledgeable staff. We’ll help you get the job done right.

The Anatomy of a 55 Gallon Steel Drum

February 19th, 2015 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Stainless Steel

The most ubiquitous of the steel drum family is the 55 gallon steel drum. Whether you’re watching a movie, playing a video game or just walking in the vicinity of a plant, factory or construction site, you will probably run into a 55 gallon steel drum. In fact, at Skolnik, the 55 gallon is among our most popular and top ordered products.

However, every 55 gallon steel drum you see is not created equal. Some drums are used for waste collection, some for chemical transport, some for food storage, and each drum is constructed with a specific purpose in mind. It is very important that you discern and order the right drum for the job.

The primary factors that come into play when deciding which drum your organization needs are also the primary features of any given drum: construction material, steel thickness, head type and bung threading.

Construction material

Most drums are made of either carbon steel or stainless steel. The primary utility difference between the two is stainless steel’s elevated chemical resistance. While carbon steel drums are often used to store and transport hazardous liquids, plants that utilize aggressive chemicals often favor the versatility of a stainless steel drum. Regardless of construction material, many plants choose to line their drums for added corrosion resistance.

Steel thickness

Unsurprisingly, thicker drums are recommended for shipping more hazardous liquids. The thicker the drum the more pressure and weight it can handle. The standard denotation of thickness is X/Y/Z mm – this is representative of the thickness of lid/body/base.

Open or closed head

Drums either have an open head, where the lid can be removed, or a closed or tight head, where the lid is permanently secured. Open-head drums are favored in situations where the contents need to be accessible for addition or extraction, often times solids and thicker liquids, whereas tight-head drums are the preferred choice for lower viscosity liquids.

Bung threading

If you intend to add or extract liquids from your drum via funnel or pump, you will need to know what type of bung, or top opening, is available on the lid. Bung threads are almost always National Pipe Taper, but it’s always smart to double check as you might have a Buttress threaded bung. Both types of thread are designed to create a liquid-tight seal.


We hope that this exploration of the anatomy of a steel drum better helps you make the right product decision for your drum’s purpose. However, never hesitate to consult with the Skolnik team on any questions or concerns you may have. We’re always happy to share our expertise on our popular 55 gallon drums or any specialty or customized drum your operation may require.