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

Archive for 2011

Skolnik – Our History

December 13th, 2011 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Cool Stuff

We’re very proud of the Skolnik web site. In addition to listing more than 400 types of steel drum packagings manufactured in Chicago, Skolnik.com is the best resource for facts and regulations dealing with steel drums being used worldwide for hazardous materials storage, transport, and disposal. Of special interest, Skolnik.com also offers some insight into the unique personality of our company.

As we approach nearly 85 years of presence in the steel drum community, we have compiled a pictorial history of our company with photos, product brochures, and news events that date back as far as 1943. “Skolnik and Son”, Abraham and his son Sol, originally started circa 1925 as peddlers of wooden barrels. In 1940, with the loss of their father, Sol and brother Jack took the company into steel drum reconditioning and as of 1960, solely manufacturing new steel drums. In 1985, the company was sold to Howard Skolnik, son of Jack, and Edward Elins and the focus was to develop the niche or “boutique” markets which were not being served by conventional 55 gallon steel drum manufacturers. During these last 25 years, Skolnik has continued to aim for the highest levels of quality manufacturing with a vast array of products and services. We participate in the global regulatory arena to “save lives” by helping to prevent hazardous material accidents.

If you would like to see what we’ve been doing for these past 82 years, check out OUR HISTORY at Skolnik.com. We’re proud of our past, working hard in our present, and looking forward to a stimulating future.

No More Hand-Held’s for CMV Drivers

December 13th, 2011 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, Industry News, Safety

Last week, the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a final rule in the Federal Register (76 FR 75470-75488) prohibiting the use of hand-held cell phones by drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMV). The FMCSA portions of the rule apply to CMV operators in interstate commerce and the PHMSA portions apply to both interstate and intrastate transportation of placarded loads of hazardous materials. The use of hands-free phones is not covered under this rule.

A commercial motor vehicle can be defined as: a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 or more pounds; a vehicle designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver; a vehicle designed to transport 11 or more passengers, including the driver, and used to transport students under the age of twenty-one years of age to and from school; or any vehicle transporting hazardous materials which is required to be placarded

Using a hand-held mobile phone is defined under 49 CFR 390.5 as: using at least one hand to hold a mobile telephone to conduct a voice communication; dialing or answering a mobile telephone by pressing more than a single button; or reaching for a mobile telephone in a manner that requires a driver to maneuver so that he or she is no longer in a seated driving position, restrained by a seat belt that is installed in accordance with 49 CFR 393.93 and adjusted in accordance with the vehicle manufacturer’s instructions. Click here to view the final rule in the Federal Register. Personally, I hope that this law will eventually include taxi drivers and law enforcement personnel!

2012 Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in Sacramento

December 12th, 2011 by Jason Snow

Filed under: Wine

On January 25th-26th we will, once again be exhibiting our stainless steel wine drums at the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in Sacramento, CA. This event has been extremely successful for us, as it is one of the most popular wine making events of the year. The Symposium provides us the opportunity to personally demonstrate the features and options of our wine barrels. Being an annual show for Skolnik, we have established trusted relationships with many winemakers and as always, we will have various sizes and styles of our stainless steel wine barrels for attendees to view. Please stop by and see us at Booth # 543. If you are planning to attend, please be our guest! We have a number of free entry vouchers that we would be happy to send to you and/or your colleagues. Click here for more specific information about the Symposium.

If interested in a free voucher, contact us immediately at 773-884-1513, or email jason@skolnik.com

Drum Components and Closure Instructions of UN Packagings Are Not Interchangeable

November 8th, 2011 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, Safety

While steel drums may look alike, once they are United Nations certified for hazardous materials, they are as unique as each manufacturer. The entire design of a UN drum, and all its components (metal thickness of the body and heads, ring type, gasket, bolt, nut, plugs), is defined when being subjected to the Performance Oriented Packaging Standards per CFR 178.600, the US Code of Federal Regulations. The specific components used to perform the test comprise a drum type, or certification, that must meet a designated test standard for classified HazMat products. Once in the field, shippers cannot alter or interchange any of these components, even though they may appear similar, as it will impact the ability of the drum to perform as certified. This also applies to the required Closure Instructions per CFR 178.2(c), which are required to be given to the shipper by the packaging manufacturer. If replacement parts are needed, fillers must make sure that they get the originally tested components from the manufacturer. Once a drum enters transportation, compliance with the UN Certification is the responsibility of the shipper.

Don’t Cry Over Spilt Wine

November 3rd, 2011 by Dean Ricker

Filed under: Wine

Most of you who regularly read our monthly Newsletter are accustomed to hearing the latest news about our stainless steel wine barrels. This month however, we are taking a departure from that format. A recent story out of Sheboygan, WI caught our attention and reminded us that even in the wine world, two other Skolnik products can be of great useā€¦the Salvage Drum and our line of Recover-All spill containers. A couple of months ago at Superior Discount Liquors in Sheboygan, WI, a shelf running the length of the store suddenly gave way, sending 6,810 bottles of wine and champagne hurtling to the floor. The collapse flooded the store and sent two nearby workers scurrying out of the way. The four level shelves had been successfully secure for 31 years. The company still doesn’t know what caused the shelf to fail. One lesson learned from this spill is that accidents can and do happen and every company, whether they are making wine, paint or perfume, needs to be prepared for spills. Even at the best run wineries, one wrong turn by a fork lift driver and an oak or even a steel barrel can be gashed or split open, spilling its valuable contents all over the floor. Keeping an extra Salvage Drum around is always a good idea for companies dealing with bulk liquids. Same goes for our line of Recover-All spill containers that are available with heavy duty casters or fork-lift attachments. If this story is not enough to convince you to be ready for an accidental spill, check out the video!

A Busy Month for Howard!

October 11th, 2011 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Associations, DOT/UN, Industry News

In this past month, I have made a number of presentations and appearances that I want to share with our customers and friends.

Skolnik recently completed the development and implementation of a documented Sustainability Plan. This plan addresses all aspects of the products we purchase, use in fabrication, sell and scrap. On September 9th,, 2011, I was invited by Mindful Metropolis Magazine to participate in a Green Seminar held at Moraine Valley Community College. As one of four Chicago-based panelists, I presented the basis for our Sustainability Plan, the process of development, the implementation, and the ongoing maintenance of the plan.

Great Western Containers of Canada established their support of Kids Cancer Care in Calgary, Canada and hosted their first annual golf outing/dinner fundraiser. Skolnik was a corporate sponsor and I had the good fortune to attend this worthwhile and touching event. Ms. Savannah Brown, a 12 year old cancer survivor was the key note speaker and told her story from initial diagnosis, to treatment, to participating in the Kids Cancer Care summer camp. Thank you GWC!

Labelmaster held their 6th Annual Dangerous Goods Instructors Symposium in Memphis, TN at the Peabody Hotel — “the one with the ducks.” On September 27th, 2011, the first night of the Symposium, 40 fortunate attendee’s were able to participate in the Night Time Hub Tour of FedEx. The Hub Tour is a highly coveted hazmat opportunity and I was excited to partake. From 10:30pm to 2:30am, we witnessed the arrival of a large percentage of the global fleet, about 170 planes, as they landed, were unloaded, their cargo uploaded, sorted and reloaded, then watched as the planes started departing. During the 4 hours, 7,800 employees transition more than 1.5 million packages every night. It was like a “tsunami of packages” that all pass through this incredibly complex, high speed, high energy hub. Thank you Fedex!

At Labelmaster’s DGIS VI, I presented a workshop on the Writing of Closure Instructions.
The workshop was designed to emphasize that the most important part of a dangerous goods package is the closing process. With Closure Instructions required, the instructions need to be written in a manner which conveys required tools, types of inspections, proper assembly and a finite closure point. Participants were first asked to write simple instructions for simple tasks (ie, how to tie shoe laces), and eventually they were given UN certified drums or boxes and asked to write a closure instruction. The exercise did highlight the nuances of good instruction writing and all who attended claimed that their communication skills were improved. I will be giving the Workshop again at the DGAC Annual Conference in Tampa on November 8th, 2011.