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

Archive for 2009

Skolnik Closure Instructions Get a Clean Up

December 9th, 2009 by Matthew Dick

Filed under: DOT/UN, Safety

Effective November 13th, 2009, we updated our Closing Instructions from Revision B to Revision C. There were no major changes, everything was clerical and does not affect the actual closing of the product (as stated in Important Notes 1). The following is a list of changes / corrections: 1) making all Closure Instruction formats (printed and web) identical; 2) printing to a landscape format so that the weather resistant closing instructions are identical; 3) one version of Rev. B was called QAP / PQ 080 another was QEP / PQ 080. QAP and QEP have been removed; 4) one version of Rev. B had the word “CAUTION” another had “IMPORTANT” in a box that was located to the right of the table for the fitting torques. This box has now been removed and the information within it has been placed into important note #2; 5) one version of Rev. B said “Ring ends must not touch” another had “Max. Gap” in figure #6. Rev. C now has the correct verbiage of “Ring ends must not touch”; and 6) The formatting of Figure #7 and #8 was not identical in all versions of Rev. B. All of the refinements noted in Rev. C are valid to close all product manufactured under Rev. B. Once again, the revisions are clerical and do not affect the closing of the product. Also, Rev. C is available in English and Spanish. It is critical that you retain Closure Instructions that were in effect when a product was purchased.

Why We Respect the Hazardous Materials Regulations

December 9th, 2009 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, HazMat, Safety

An offset to our industrial culture is that we live among hazardous materials.

We need to protect ourselves, our families, our friends and the general population from the adverse effects of hazardous materials. Government regulations are very specific about what and how hazmats need to be safely stored and transported. Following the regulatory requirements can be difficult, sometimes confusing, sometimes open ended, but if you don’t follow these regulations, you are endangering all types of life, and risking regulatory fines, litigation, and even incarceration. During our current economic climate, with companies looking to reinvent themselves, I urge you to not lose sight of the importance of regulatory compliance for dangerous goods storage and shipments. Budgets are tight, most profits are down, and this is not the time to cut corners on compliance. Verify that any hazmat packaging supplier is providing appropriate, compliant containers. Like anything else, there are minimum specifications to be met and be sure that your suppliers are delivering the mil-thickness and quality of the steel that was ordered. Know your suppliers, tour their facilities, and be confident in their product integrity. In other words, find someone you can trust and stick with them – it will pay off in the long run.

Pinot Noir — More Than Prevalent

December 9th, 2009 by Jason Snow

Filed under: Wine

After many years of experimentation, Pinot Noir has unquestionably carved itself a nice little niche in the wine world. Clearly the “red” of choice in Oregon, winemakers are now starting to compete in many California regions as well. Recently, we learned that a current Skolnik customer located in northern California, who in the past would not consider aging wine in stainless steel, has been experimenting with both our 30 gal and 55 gal stainless steel drums. Much to his surprise, the new aging technique that he developed has been extremely positive, and even led to sizeable sale to a high-end San Francisco caterer. It seems the best Pinots are coming from smaller wineries, which are willing to take the time and care to work with such a fragile grape. Because of its thin skin, Pinot Noir is more susceptible to frost and other weather damage. Furthermore, when some of a crop is compromised, unlike other wine types, it’s not as easy to compensate with other grapes. Demand for the Pinot Noir is very strong and consumers are finding it to be a rather versatile wine, and very food friendly.

Test Labs Meet to “Iron Out” Wrinkles in Performance Test Protocol

November 11th, 2009 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, HazMat, Safety

With the introduction of Performance Oriented Packaging in the 1990’s, UN certification of packagings in the US were either performed by a self-certifying manufacturer (CFR 178.503(a)(8), (f)(6)) or by sending packagings to a third-party test lab. Whether self-certified or lab tested, the protocol for performing the non-bulk UN tests is spelled out in CFR 178.600, but, with the DOT’s Tobyhanna Test Lab claiming that packaging’s are failing their validity testing, many of the third-party test labs came together to examine the differences between their test procedures.

The labs established 6 test subject groups in order to examine the following: report requirements, conditioning, filling substances, pressure testing, drop testing, and stack testing.

Examples of the protocol concerns include issues such as: identification of key information required for a completed certification report, whether a fill substance is affected by the testing environment temperature, clarification of the compression or freestanding weight systems used to demonstrate stack height, and the correct equipment and methodology necessary to properly perform a hydrostatic test. This meeting indicated that there are many questions that need to be answered in order for test labs to perform their tests consistently. It looks like a long road ahead, but one that will greatly benefit all HazMat shippers that suffer non-compliance actions due to improper testing.

Radioactive “Poop” Triggers Clean-Ups at DOE

November 11th, 2009 by Dean Ricker

Filed under: HazMat, Safety

Concerns for radioactive clean-up usually focus on items such as contaminated chemicals, tools, clothes and even vehicles. But now, DOE facilities around the country are attempting to prevent stray animals from wandering onto their sites and ingesting contamination. Detectors at the Hanford nuclear reservation (in Washington State) are claiming that “anything that hops, burrows, buzzes or crawls near a nuclear weapons plant may be capable of setting off a Geiger counter.” Last month, a government contractor mapped radioactive feces, at Hanford, with detectors mounted in a GPS equipped helicopter flying 50 feet over the desert scrub. Concentrations of droppings were recorded and ground workers then were sent out to “scoop the poop.” In California, at the Lawrence Livermore Nuclear Lab, they attempt to prevent endangered species from entering the contaminated areas. Processing mostly plutonium, the short range alpha particles travel only a few inches in the air and make it harder to track. At the Savannah River Nuclear site in South Carolina, neighbors can enter a lottery once a year, to hunt on-site deer. Once shot, the deer are monitored for levels of Cesium-137. If the deer do show elevated contamination levels, the specific contamination source is removed and the hunter is allowed to take his “radiation free” carcass home. These programs indicate the level of containment that the DOE is funding in order to keep their sites clean and free from contamination.

Wine Drum Distributors are Going West

November 11th, 2009 by Jason Snow

Filed under: Wine

In recent years, the usage of stainless steel drums for winemaking has increased dramatically. Throughout the US and in many contemporary wineries, winemakers find stainless drums beneficial due to greater cleanliness, ease of availability, reliable longevity, and affordable price. In addition, these stainless drums offer various closure fitting configurations that can be located on the drum, suitable for the most unique placement requirement. Adding to the popularity of these drums in the west coast vineyards, Central Industrial Sales, of Pasco, Washington, joins the The Vintner Vault and Davison Winery Supply as a west coast distributor for Skolnik’s stainless steel wine drums. Central, Vintner and Davison all offer our standard 55 gal drums and our increasingly popular 16 gal drums as well. Both drum sizes come complete with the 2″ tri-clover fitting in the center of the top head, similar to a keg style. At Central, Jay Jarrett can be reached at 509-547-0341 or visit their web site at: centralindustrialsales.com. Also, it’s not too soon to start planning for the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in Sacramento in January 2010. We have a limited number of free passes available and will gladly send them to you – just let us know you’re interested.