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

Archive for 2008

DOT Introduces New Package Validation Testing Program

October 15th, 2008 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Associations, DOT/UN, Industry News

On September 25th, 2008, representatives from the DOT met for the second time with the Reusable Industrial Packaging Association, RIPA, and other packaging industry associations in order to address the issues relating to the LOGSA testing program at Tobyhanna. Present from PHMSA were Ted Willke, Associate Administrator, Rob Richard, Deputy Associate Administrator, Ryan Posten, Director of Hazardous Materials Enforcement, and several other upper level regulators from DOT. RIPA was represented by Paul Rankin, Calvin Lee, Howard Skolnik and CL Pettit. Other associations represented included The Plastic Drum Institute, The Plastic Shipping Container Institute and IPANA. The highlight of the meeting was Ryan Posten’s introductory presentation of the National Packaging Strategy Mission. Given the results of more than 10 years of in-field testing at the Tobyhanna laboratory, the new Packaging Strategy will change validation testing significantly. Rather than gathering random packagings in the field, DOT will go directly to packaging manufacturers for the selection of packagings to be tested, and manufacturers will have the option of performing the validation tests on their own premises, at a third party test lab, or at the LOGSA facility at Tobyhanna. The goal of the new strategy is to eliminate non-compliance of packagings, utilize uniform protocols and generate support for manufacturer’s quality programs. DOT will emphasize the selection of high risk packaging and all data gathered will be used to identify trends and prioritize risks. Posten announced that as of August 8th, 2008, the in-field DOT inspectors were informed of this new approach to packaging validation. Therefore, manufacturers and shippers can expect a DOT inspector to arrive at their facility, ask to see samples of packagings, test certifications and training documents. Ultimately, DOT can request that testing validation be performed in their presence. In the event of a successful test, the visit will be complete. If testing is not successful, DOT will work with the facility to identify potential reasons for failure and retest. It’s a step in the right direction for DOT and US packaging integrity.

Increased LTL Rates for Empty Steel Drums Is Now In Effect

October 15th, 2008 by Dean Ricker

Filed under: Industry News

As of August 23rd, 2008, the rates charged for transporting empty (new) steel drums has increased due to reclassification by the Commodity Classification Standards Board (CCSB). Drums that were formerly shipped under class 92.5 may now be shipped under class 150 or higher. The reclassification study has been a work in progress for the last 5 years. Common carriers were complaining that their profits were being reduced by the introduction of lighter packagings. Indeed, steel drum metal thickness has seen reduced averages, as has plastic drums and IBC’s. Therefore, CCSB sought to re-level the classification rates based on these new packaging specifications. Currently, we believe that not all carriers have acted on this matter; however, several regional carriers have begun negotiations with their customers. Furthermore, existing FAK (Freight of All Kinds) rates may also be under negotiation. Apparently, the trucking industry is very competitive at this time and we advise our customers and shippers to actively negotiate these new rates as soon as possible.

Salvage Drum Definition Clarified by DOT

October 15th, 2008 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, HazMat, Safety, Salvage Drum


Skolnik Salvage Drum Information,

Per CFR 173.3(c), Salvage Drums have long been used as overpacks for the efficient and effective transport of damaged, defective or leaking containers, irrespective of whether these packagings are discovered before or after having been placed in transportation. In 2005, the DOT expanded the Salvage Drum definition to include non-compliant packagings (contents in inappropriate packagings). The ultimate use of these overpacked drums is to proceed to the nearest appropriate disposal or repackaging facility. Salvage Drums are not to be used as a secondary container, or overpack, for a primary shipment. Recently, DOT commented that while it is their intent for these packagings to be used for damaged, defective, leaking or non-compliant packagings that have already entered transportation, it is also their intent to limit the use to when packagings are discovered to be non-conforming after having been placed in transportation.

Shippers of TIH (Poison Inhalation) Drums Should Re-Qualify Their Cap Seals

September 17th, 2008 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, Industry News, Safety

At the request of a customer that ships materials poisonous by inhalation (TIH drums, formerly known as PIH), we have researched and learned that the performance criteria of cap seals on these steel drums needs to be qualified by each shipper, not the cap seal manufacturer. As required in 49CFR 173.226(b)(3)(iii), a cap seal is required to withstand 100 kPa as a primary seal – not in conjunction with the inner plug. There are two predominant manufacturers of these cap seals (Rieke and American Flange) and both are unwilling to issue performance certification for their cap seals as a primary seal. While they are offering a 100 kPa certification that includes the installed plug, this is not compliant with the CFR. While DOT is aware of this issue, we are suggesting to all TIH shippers that they perform their own performance test to certify that the cap seals, when installed as the primary seal, are able to meet the 100 kPa criteria. If inspected by DOT, failure to have this information documented could lead to a finding of non-compliance.

Higher Education Embraces Skolnik’s Stainless Steel Wine Drums

September 17th, 2008 by Jason Snow

Filed under: Industry News, Wine

More and more, universities with Viticulture and Enology Programs (the study of winemaking) are introducing the use of Stainless Steel Wine drums into their processing curriculum. As the popularity and use of stainless steel wine drums continues to grow, Enology professors recognize the importance of teaching their students how to incorporate the use of stainless steel drums into their wine making knowledge. Throughout this past year, Skolnik Industries has been active in assisting several universities with their wine making programs, supplying them with our full line of stainless steel wine drums, and helping them to better understand the performance properties of stainless steel. We have been pleased to hear back from many of these programs that the students are quick to absorb these new options. Furthermore, as they learn the fine art of wine making, the students appreciate the added properties that come with selecting stainless steel. We are always happy to speak with colleges and universities about their wine making programs and we now offer special pricing for university purchases that will be used in the training process.

Skolnik Joins in the Celebration of Global Quality!

September 17th, 2008 by Matthew Dick

Filed under: Industry News

On November 13th, 2008, Skolnik will join other manufactures around the world to celebrate World Quality Day. A chance for quality professionals and organizations to unite around the world and celebrate their achievements, World Quality Day helps to raise the consciousness of how quality approaches can make a tangible impact on business. Skolnik is a small business, independently owned and dependant on our Chicago manufacturing facility to “keep our customers happy.” We are considered to be a leader in the industrial container market as measured by our customer relationships and product dependability. At the core of our process, we have implemented a quality plan which requires us to meet our unique customer requirements – and to do so on time. Part of the celebration at Skolnik will include company-wide training in recent quality developments as well as identifying new quality opportunities to consider in the coming year. We take pride in our quality program and performance. It is this plan that helps us to meet the world class standards that benefit our customers and our employees.