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

Posts Tagged ‘food grade barrels’

What Makes Our Stainless Steel Process Drums So Stainless?

March 29th, 2018 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is the hero to industries that require sturdy, dependable, sanitary products to keep materials clean and safe for human consumption. It’s in our kitchens and on our dinner tables, needles are crafted out of it, as are surgical implants. At Skolnik, we produce stainless steel, crevice-free, seamless process drums, perfect for personal care and pharmaceutical products or on your food processing line.

But what is it that makes stainless steel…. stainless? Why is it good for handling food? And what is the difference between “304” and “316” type steels?

First, the science behind the steel. Steel is an attractive material in general because it’s lightweight while maintaining excellent strength. The down side to regular steel is that has a tendency to pass on a metallic taste, and more importantly, it corrodes quite easily. Exposed to any amount of moisture, steel generates iron oxide and, over time, regular steel rusts away.

The solution, however, starts with one element: chromium. The same element used in making your car wheels shiny is also the key to making stainless steel work. By smelting a steel alloy that involves at least 10.5% Chromium, the resulting metal spontaneously generates a microscopic layer of chrome oxide, an inert, self-repairing film that protects the metal below. Thus, manufacturers such as ourselves are able take advantage of the strength and durability of steel, while resisting much of the corrosion and unpleasant taste that plague many other metals. This makes it a great material for food-safe applications.

Just what qualifies for “food-safe” though? According to the FDA, “materials that are used in the construction of utensils and food contact surfaces of equipment::

  • Must not allow the migration of ‘deleterious substances or impart colors, odors, or tastes’ to food […]
  • Be ‘durable, corrosion-resistant, and nonabsorbent’ […]
  • Possess sufficient ‘weight and thickness to withstand repeated warewashing’ […]
  • Be ‘finished to have a smooth, easily cleanable surface’ [and]
  • Have resistance to ‘pitting chipping crazing, scratching, scoring, distortion, and decomposition’.”

With chrome oxide perpetually preventing harm, stainless steel is up for the food-safe task, which is why we use in such products as our process drums. It’s sturdiness and ability to withstand sanitation processes while resisting passing on unwanted substances makes it ideal to store food-safe products.

Now, all stainless steel is not made equal. While a major component may be chromium, there are many variations the chemical composition of the alloy, each with their advantages and disadvantages. For example, there is 18/8, named for its 18% chromium and 8% nickel composition. At Skolnik, we use types 304 and 316. 304 has the same 18% chromium, 8% nickel mix that 18/8 has, but 316 has 16% chromium, 10% nickel, and 2% mollybdenum. While 304 is more cost effective and plenty corrosion-resistant, the addition of mollybdenum to 316 helps fight against corrosive salts, something 304 is not as good at resisting.

Which type of drum you use is going to depend on what you need them for, and we are more than happy to help you find the right fit for your project, but no matter which type you go with, if you buy from Skolnik you’ll be getting high quality, food-grade products made out of the best stainless steel that will keep you and your customers safe.

 

Food Grade Containers: Steel vs. Plastic

March 18th, 2016 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Industry News

Food grade drums and containers come in a myriad of different shapes, sizes and materials, but at Skolnik Industries, we stick to steel. Food grade drums are commonly used for the transportation and storage of ingredients, wine and other consumables. While plastic food grade containers do exist, all of Skolnik’s food grade and wine barrels are all made with food grade 304 stainless steel for superior cleanliness and food safety.

Stainless steel, or food safe carbon steel with a special lining if you’re on a tight budget, is sleek and smooth whereas plastic is porous. The very texture of plastic opens the door for bacteria and other baddies to contaminate your goods, especially if you intend to use the barrels more than once. Because of its porous texture, plastic is harder to clean and sanitize between uses. It’s be incredibly easy for some left overs from Drum Use A to make it’s way into the contents of Drum Use B. That doesn’t sound good and probably won’t taste too good either.

Food grade steel is as easier to clean and sanitize than plastic, and is food-safe from top to bottom. The seams, fitting and closure all meet any necessary food grade requirements in order to ensure both your goods and the consumer is protected.

Another area steel bests plastic is in strength and durability. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that steel is stronger than plastic, but this benefit is very important in the transportation and storage of food items. The goal of food-grade containers is to keep the materials or products they are carrying safe and secure, if the container suffers damage, the product could suffer damage and if the product suffers damage, the consumer could suffer damage. Not to mention that plastic barrels are very difficult to handle if they get wet or oily. We’d liken it to trying to handle a greasy watermelon.

Almost every food, drink or snack item you ingest was at one point stored, cured or transported in a food-grade container. Skolnik steel food-grade drums are sturdy, UN and DOT certified as necessary, and easy for manufacturers to clean and reuse, all while ensuring that those consumable items remain safe for you to enjoy.

Food Grade Containment and Storing Water

August 17th, 2015 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Safety, Stainless Steel

Food Grade stainless steel drums are not always storing food, but another precious life resource: water. Storing water can be tricky – crystal clear water can have dangerous bacteria growing in it, high levels of lead or mercury, chemicals, even arsenic and you wouldn’t even be able to see it. So how should you store water?

Let’s start with how you shouldn’t. First, you should never use non-food-grade materials to store food. Seems like a no brainer, but it is a common mistake. Even if it looks clean or has been sterilized, it should not be used to store food or water. Non-food-grade materials, such as a non-food-grade plastic or stainless steel can leak dangerous chemicals into anything you store in them. Non-food-grade stainless steel can be corroded by chlorine that you don’t know is in your water, and non-food-grade plastic can degrade over time or allow bacteria and other pests into the thin container.

Food grade plastics are out there, but still not widely favored for food and water storage since plastic is more porous and thus harder to sterilize. Additionally, the vapors of chemicals and fuels can penetrate plastic over time, so your storage location becomes more important.

Glass and stainless steel are the most popular water storage containers. Glass is easy to sterilize and impermeable. However, glass breaks easily, is heavy and needs to be stored away from sunlight.

So we’re left with food-grade stainless steel, arguably the strongest, safest water container. Stainless steel is light weight, easy to sterilize, impermeable and doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals that it might leech into the water. It is opaque and thus does not need to be protected from light. It’s strong and sturdy and safe. And many manufacturers, such as Skolnik Industries, offer protective linings for their food-grade stainless steel, making them even safer.

Water is a precious resource that demands to be stored with care. Use food-grade stainless steel to store your water both conveniently and effectively.

Why Food and Pharmaceuticals Love Stainless Steel Drums

January 22nd, 2015 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Stainless Steel

These days it seems like stainless steel is everywhere: in kitchens, in bathrooms, in jewelry, it’s a very popular alloy in day to day life. Two areas stainless steel is particularly popular are in food and pharmaceutical industries. So why do foodies and pharmaceuticals love this strong steel alloy?

First, stainless steel drums have a high corrosion and impact resistance so its contents are safe from compromise in many transport or storage situations or disasters. Additionally, it’s easy to clean. Why do you think we love having stainless steel appliances in our kitchens? They are known to be nearly impenetrable to stains and any build up is incredibly easy to wipe away. The same goes for stainless steel drums. Stainless steel contains a high percentage of chromium which protects the surface of the steel by blocking oxygen and preventing any corrosive materials from penetrating the metal. Easy maintenance and cleaning is a quality particularly useful for liquid containment and food production and pharmaceutical development are liquid-heavy industries.

Sanitation is abundantly important in the food and pharmaceutical industries. Not only is stainless steel easy to clean, but all grades of stainless steel barrels offer a high level of protection and sanitation. Nothing dirty or damaging is getting into a 316 surgical stainless steel barrel and even the lower grades, such as a 409, offers its contents more protection than a standard or galvanized carbon drum.

So, fill away pharmaceutical and food producers. Stainless steel drums can take it. And, since they are so easy to clean, feel free to reuse your Skolnik stainless steel drums again and again.

Efficient and cost effective? It’s no wonder stainless steel gets a lot of love.