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

Archive for 2012

What To Do When a DOT Inspector Comes to Your Door

December 12th, 2012 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN

If you are shipping or receiving any type of dangerous goods or hazardous materials, it is likely that one day, when you are in the midst of a special project, a DOT inspector could show up at your front door. Some people believe that if this happens, you are to try to evade the inspector, say you are on vacation or just lie and say you are not there. In fact, this is the worst thing that you can do, and frankly, if you have prepared for the visit, you should be able to confidently welcome the inspector into your company. To be prepared, the Council on the Safe Transport of Hazardous Articles (COSTHA) is offering a free booklet of suggestions that will help you prepare for the visit. Before an inspection, all companies should establish and define procedures for dealing with any regulatory inspector. At a minimum, when an inspector arrives immediately do the following:

  1. Identify the inspector
  2. Make an appropriate company official responsible for interacting with the inspector
  3. Determine the scope of the inspection
  4. Advise legal counsel of the presence of the inspector
  5. Take notes on all conversations or record the conversations
  6. When in doubt on any question posed by the inspector, do not answer
  7. Prepare a memo to the file describing the visit, as soon as the inspector leaves, and
  8. Include all relevant details of the inspection, copies of documents produced or requested.

For a free copy of the booklet, click on this link to for the download.

Another Change in Skolnik History

December 12th, 2012 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Industry News

As we approach nearly 90 years in the drum community our presence has grown from being regional, to national to international. With a rich history of people, events and products, 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 passing of Abraham, 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. In 2012, Elins retired and Howard’s long time friend and entrepreneur, Brian Hand became Howard’s business partner. With a background in engineering, finance and internet start-ups, Brian is also the CFO for Skolnik. Skolnik continues 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 87 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.

The Humidity Myth

December 12th, 2012 by Dean Ricker

Filed under: Wine

A recent piece ran in the Wine Spectator exposing the myth about how your wines should be kept in a cellar with a certain amount of humidity. The figure cited is anywhere from 70 percent to 95 percent humidity. The reason, so-called, is that you need to keep the cork moist. This is nonsense. Think about it. Your wine is encased in a glass bottle. It’s sealed by a tightly compressed cork, one end of which has a dime-sized exposure to air. (Actually, that’s not even fully exposed, as most corks are covered by a capsule.) The other end of the cork is kept outright wet by the wine if the bottle is stored horizontally. How much humidity, if any, is going to penetrate the cork, which is already very tightly compressed? Virtually none. And no scientific study has demonstrated otherwise. So why does this myth persist? Fear, mostly. And history. Wine used to be shipped and held in wooden barrels or casks, even in private homes and certainly in restaurants. Private consumers bottled their own wines when they saw fit. A wood barrel, unlike glass, is porous. When wine is held in a barrel you most definitely want a high humidity, which helps keep the staves tight and reduces the amount of evaporation through the pores of the wood. In a conventional winery cellar, about 10 percent of the contents of a barrel is lost through evaporation every year. This is why wineries like to have caves, which have an ultrahigh, 95 percent humidity. In Napa and Sonoma, which have high-priced wines, the cost of constructing a cave pays for itself in about seven years from “saved” wine. All of this again points to another advantage of Skolnik stainless steel wine barrels. Stainless acts like a tightly corked bottle eliminating evaporation and the need for a humidity controlled environment.

World Quality Day Celebrated at Skolnik

November 18th, 2012 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Industry News

Joining companies for the 5th consecutive year, Skolnik celebrated World Quality Day on November 8th, 2012. This year, events were held around the world from the US to the Middle East to South Africa. They were also held by organizations of all shapes and sizes from Lockheed Martin to Coca Cola, companies that are small, medium and large. Organized by Stephanie Bravo, Skolnik’s Assistant Quality Director, the theme for 2012 was Quality: Delivering Competitive Advantage. This theme came out of the belief that in order to survive during an economic downturn organizations require a strong competitive advantage. Quality management, and its focus on improving efficiency and productivity, can help to achieve this goal. Ms. Laura Denk of eChoice Innovations gave a presentation on the need for quality to be outstanding as it differentiates the company from other commodity drum manufacturers. George Petersen, Skolnik’s Director of Operations, presented 5 steps to an effective quality culture. After a company-wide luncheon, 12 exceptional employees who contributed significantly to our quality program were given special recognition awards. Overall, it was a great and proud day at Skolnik. Check out the pictures of the day’s events.

Bring your issue to one of our Packaging Roundtable’s

November 18th, 2012 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Associations, HazMat, Industry News

In response to discussions held during the Strategic Planning meetings, the Council on the Safe Transport of Hazardous Articles (COSTHA) members have asked to have a Packaging Roundtable established. The purpose of the group is to allow package testing companies, manufacturers and distributors to meet in an informal setting to discuss current issues, regulations, questions and a broad area of concerns. Members who purchase and use packaging have also expressed interest in having an opportunity to interact with such a group to clarify regulatory requirements, best management practices and other subjects. Skolnik is a participant in the Roundtable. In addition to the COSTHA Roundtable, Skolnik also participates in the Dangerous Goods Advisory Council (DGAC) Packaging Working Group as well in various topical groups in the Reusable Industrial Packaging Association (RIPA). As a friend or customer of Skolnik, let us know if you have packaging or regulatory issues, concerns or questions, which affect your compliance with the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) or United Nations (UN) packagings. These groups provide the opportunity for companies to meet one-on-one, or in a small group environment with regulators and other hazmat professionals to discuss packaging related issues. Please let us know if you currently have any issues that need special attention.

In The Pink

November 14th, 2012 by Dean Ricker

Filed under: Wine

Over the past two years we have noticed an uptick in wine makers buying our stainless steel wine barrels for the production of Rosé. The data supports the trend that we have been seeing. The numbers are staggering. Since 2009, overall consumption of Rosé wines has increased 160 percent. After a long period of declining popularity, it seems that rosé wines are indeed enjoying an increase in attractiveness around the world, and of course the United States is no exception to this trend. Nowadays rosé wines are being produced with different levels of success in the most important wine regions. In places like the United Sates and some regions in France, rosé wines are even becoming serious contenders to white wines. Rosé wines are made from red grapes and their light color comes from contact with the grape skins while it is fermenting into wine. The sooner the wine is separated from the skin the less tannins it will have and the lighter its color will be. Rosé wines are always refreshing and light, and they lean more towards red than white wines in taste profile. In some cases, winemakers blend a small amount of red wine into white and create a rosé, which is really a tinted white wine and lacks the true taste profile of the original product. True rosé wines must obtain their color and ultimately their taste profile during maceration. Excellent rosé wines come from Provence and southern Cotes du Rhône in France, and Catalonia and Navarra in Spain. But, as usual in today’s world of wine, very good rose wines are now being produced, in Australia, Chile and the United States, among many other wine producing countries. Some of these wines are also produced in Skolnik stainless steel wine barrels.