The debate over appropriate metal thickness for steel drums, appears to be turning a corner as a result of our increased concerns about reducing risks and increasing safety. Since the adoption of Performance Oriented Standards, it has been up to the drum manufacturer to establish their own guidelines for the metal thickness used in their United Nations (UN) and US Department of Transportation (DOT) approved packaging. Often claiming that the metal thickness can be reduced and drums can still pass the certification tests, the thinner walled drum does not offer any margin of error for in-transit damage. Forever a proponent of reducing the risk of in-transit damage, SKOLNIK drums are known for being thicker, heavier and stronger then others in the field. This is due to the purchasing specifications that we apply to our steel. Even within a gauge, metal thickness can vary up to 10%, and therefore, our purchases are placed to be on the high side of every gauge. We know we are unusual since many of our steel suppliers question why we don‘t buy steel "like the other drum manufacturers." And to this, we respond that "it is not worth the pennies of saving to buy thinner steel and cause our customers to use drums that merely meet the UN/DOT certifications. Skolnik has a reputation for making a premium product PLUS, and using thicker steel is just one example of the way we source our raw materials."
Drum It Up! Steel Drum Industry News, Trends, and Issues
Archive for 2001
In response to delays caused by recent terrorist events, the U. S. Department of Transportation‘s Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) has extended to Feb. 1, 2002, the comment period for its proposal on the applicability of its hazardous materials regulation to hazardous materials loading, unloading and storage. The initial closing date for submitting comments was Nov. 30, 2001. The reason for the delay, stated by Ellen Engerman, RSPA Administrator, is that ""mail operations have been significantly disturbed in recent weeks due to terrorist activities." Further evidence of slow or halted mail is also being experienced in the private sector. Utility bills, monthly payments and regular payables are also running late and are sometimes lost. While this slowness is not expected to end soon, confirming payment receipts and increased collection calls will help to identify payments that need to be resubmitted.
Recent testing of steel containers has been conducted to determine the integrity of the conventional test protocol. Specifically, a proposal was accepted by the UN requiring open head drums for liquids to be tested 24-hours after the closing of the drum. On a separate matter, testing was completed to determine whether the 4,6 or 8 o‘clock positioning of the open head ring was the weakest point of a drum when dropped. Not that either of these tests would have a significant impact on performance, money and time was spent in order to validate, or invalidate, the current test protocol. With tests completed for both proposals, it was concluded that the current protocol did, in fact, offer the more rigorous test, and both proposals, we hope, will be rescinded. With information derived from the Federal incident reporting format (Form 5800), in-field problems will be highlighted and corrective actions should be taken to increase safety. Whereas in the two items discussed here, trying to improve something that is not problematic is an unnecessary effort.
From all of us at SKOLNIK, we send our wishes to you for a healthy, happy, prosperous and peaceful Holiday and New Year.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Mineta sent to Congress proposed legislation that would strengthen security and safety in the transport of the nation‘s hazardous materials. "We are proposing tough actions to address the serious problem of undeclared shipments of hazardous materials and we are also asking for more authority to stop and inspect shipments." Among the most critical features, the DOT proposed legislation to: strengthen DOT inspectors’ authority to inspect packages in transportation; provide those inspectors with authority to stop seriously unsafe transportation; increase the maximum civil penalty for hazardous materials violations from $27,500 to $100,000; and expand requirements for training persons involved in the transportation of hazardous materials. "With more than 800,000 shipments of hazardous material daily in the United States," Ellen Engleman, Administrator of DOT‘s Research and Special Programs Administration claims that, "What we are proposing would strengthen the safety and security of these shipments, while preserving the mobility vital to our economy."
Determined to establish the most critical time to perform the Open Head Drop Test for a liquid open head steel drum, recent testing was completed at the Tobyhanna Test Laboratories. In question was whether drums dropped 24-hours after closing would fail the drop where drums closed and dropped immediately might pass. The end results shows that, in fact, the opposite condition exists and that the most difficult time to perform the drop test would be at the time of initial closure. It is believed that the results of this test will help to reverse the 24-hour test delay for liquid open heads, introduced at the United Nations by the Committee of Experts.