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

Posts Tagged ‘55 gallon steel drum’

The Secret of the Search: Industrial Steel Drums

September 24th, 2018 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Industry News

Sometimes, okay a lot of the time, Google is a Godsend. However, whether you’re searching for something online or in your garage, it helps to be specific. Otherwise, your search could turn up dry. In the case of searching for steel drums, your search could turn up slightly more musical than expected.

If you’re searching for a good industrial container, be sure to search for an industrial steel drum — not just a steel drum. Industrial steel drums are great containers for for the storage or transport of food, chemicals, hazardous materials, and so much more. Steel drums are great for calypso music.

Steel drums, also known as steel pans, are a musical instrument originating from Trinidad and Tobago.

The more traditional name for the instrument is a steel pan, but since the modern steel pan is made from a reused 55 gallon industrial steel drum, people started referring to them as steel drums. As a result, a mere Google search for steel drums turns up mixed results.

Luckily, if you’re in need of an industrial container, the team at Skolnik Industries can help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

Keg Theft Concerns Highlight the Value of Stainless Steel Barrels

November 9th, 2017 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Stainless Steel

We here at Skolnik proudly serve a wide variety of industries with a full range of products, including the ever-popular 55-gallon stainless steel barrel. Our 55-gallon stainless steel wine barrel has deepened our ties with the beverage industry, where we’ve noticed a unique container challenge recently: keg theft.

Keg theft has plagued the beer industry for years. With the rise of DIY art and furniture, more and more craft beer enthusiasts are pilfering kegs from their local bars in hopes of making a fun conversation piece for their living rooms. Of course, this is illegal and hurts everyone from the bars — who are merely renting the kegs from their distributors — to the brewers — who now need to replace the container. With a sticker price on average of $130+ per beer keg, it’s not a cheap replacement.

Now, the distribution models of wine and beer are certainly different, and kegs are more vulnerable than a 55-gallon steel barrel, but it is certainly as much of a problem if inventory goes missing.

The beer industry has deterrents in place — hefty deposits motivate renters to return them safely– it is yet to be seen if such security standards are required for wine barrels. Luckily, if were to come to it, there are plenty of notes for our wine partners to take from the beer industry as they navigate the problem.

At Skolnik, we regularly receive requests for barrels to use in similar DIY projects. Luckily, as a wholesale supplier, we are at a lower risk for the kind of theft plaguing the beer industry. Our customers come to us for bulk purchases of containers, not individual rentals. Even so, by keeping a keen eye on the troubles faced by our partners in other parts of the beverage community can help protect us from future harm to our own businesses.

Some very impressive work has come out of peoples’ interest in these industrial containers, but the beauty of the piece is only tarnished by ill-gotten materials. We agree that the Skolink brand 55-gallon stainless steel barrel is a piece of art, just make sure you’re not committing a crime to get your hands on them.

Oil’s Long History with the 55 Gallon Steel Drum

September 28th, 2017 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Cool Stuff

The 55 gallon steel drum is perhaps the most iconic barrel Skolnik produces. Seen in countless movies and TV shows, in real life and in photographs, if you were to ask someone to think of what a barrel looks like, a 55 gallon, or 45 imperial gallon, steel drum would most likely be on their minds. One of the biggest reasons these drums are so inexorably planted into our public consciousness is their use in the oil industry. In fact, the two are so closely associated, that the very unit of measurement one uses to talk about oil is barrels. The two weren’t paired from the start, however. Instead, oil has had a somewhat complicated relationship with the 55 gallon steel drum as industry needs have grown, changed, and evolved throughout years.

First and foremost, the “barrel” unit of measurement did not start with steel, but with wood. In the late 1850s, as oil prospecting in Pennsylvania took off, the prospectors used whatever they had to hold it in, and old wine and whiskey casks turned out to be the best solution on hand. Consequently, barrels were there with oil production from basically the very beginning. In those early days, there were some variances, but by the late 1860s, they sought to standardize. Basing their model off of King Edward IV’s herring industry legislation, they decided to sell oil in 40-gallon units, with an additional good will top-off of 2 gallons; the oil equivalent of a baker’s dozen.

These old wooden casks were not quite up to the same standards of quality as the stainless steel wine barrels we here at Skolnik offer, however. Consequently, improvements were sought out. After some early mass-produced steel containers from John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil, in 1905 Nellie Bly designed a solution to the crummier containers. With the capacity of holding 55 gallons and key features such as the ribs that provide rigidity and strength, Bly had crafted a new industry standard with the iconic drums we all know so well.

Even with these new containers though, the oil industry was still seeking to pare down their shipping costs. This led to investing in such things as tanker ships and pipelines, with the goal of eliminating physical barrels entirely. It didn’t help that the dissociation between oil and the 55 gallon drum had already begun. The unit “barrel” was still 42 gallons while the container was 55, so the 55 gallon steel drum kept being pushed farther and farther away from the industry that invented it.

Meanwhile, to improve public perception of the barrels that still existed, oil companies painted the barrels bright colors and adorning them with corporate logos. The beautification initiative worked so well that it’s these barrels from the mid-20th Century that cemented the iconic look for generations to come. It is from this initiative that the evocative blue barrel came from.

By the 1950s, for the most part, tanker trucks, railways and pipelines pushed barrels out of the oil production chain all together. The barrels have instead made the transition into other industries, carrying supplies and materials for countless other products. Consequently, the oil barrel is now little more than a term we use when talking about catastrophic spills or energy outputs. The 55 gallon steel drum, however, is still going strong, and will continue to do so for many years to come.

Resources for Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma Aid

September 14th, 2017 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: DOT/UN, Industry News, Safety

Just as relief efforts began to bring aid to those affected by Hurricane Harvey, the country needed to brace itself for a second storm, Hurricane Irma. Hurricane Irma was a vicious storm that added to the already enormous amount of damage, loss of business, and disruption to thousands of lives Harvey has caused. Consequently, we here at Skolnik want to make sure our friends and clients have the resources at hand to make informed, effective decisions for their businesses as they respond to these disasters now and going forward.

First and foremost, the Department of Transportation has a page of useful links regarding emergency declarations and information on how the DOT and various other departments are handling these disasters. They also have information on all restrictions, delays and permits for all types of transportation, including ships, planes, railways, and trucking.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has also released a response to Harvey, including information on special and emergency permits, as well as important phone numbers regarding emergency hazardous materials transportation:

  • Hazardous Materials Information Center: 800-467-4922
  • Approvals and Permits Division: 202-366-4535
  • Office of Pipeline Safety: 202-366-4595

Along with these industry-specific updates, organizations such as FEMA and the EPA have more general, up-to-date information for those affected by these two storms.

For those who are not directly in the path of Harvey and Irma, there certainly are ways to help. One of the most effective means of support is supporting the non-for profits with boots already on the ground. NPR has a great list of both national and local organizations helping in those affected by Harvey, with information regarding Irma undoubtedly soon to follow. Any one of these organizations would appreciate any and all donations so they can continue their work, helping those who need it.

From 5 gallon stainless steel barrels of wine to 110 gallon 7A Type A drums for radioactive materials, Skolnik provides packaging for a wide variety of business. No matter the industry, regardless of proximity to the storm, we hope you all stayed safe last weekend and remain safe as we go into this weekend. To those of you affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, we hope for a speedy recovery for you, your businesses, and all of your loved ones.