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

Archive for 2015

Oak In A Bottle

November 10th, 2015 by Dean Ricker

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

As a Chicago based manufacturer of stainless steel wine barrels, we are always excited to see other Chicago companies bringing innovations to the world of wine and spirits. The latest innovation brings oak aging behind the bar or at home, and it just got a whole lot quicker. Joel Paglione of Chicago, has created Oak Bottle, a wooden vessel with a charred interior that lets you age wine, beer and spirits in two to 48 hours. It’s so efficient that within two hours, you’ve added oak flavor to the wine and it hasn’t over-oxidated and the wine hasn’t gone flat yet. It makes it taste as if it’s been aged for years in an oak barrel. Many winemakers believe that what makes a truly great wine great is more a matter of what occurs in the vineyard than what happens inside the winery or distillery. We agree, the winemaker or distiller can only highlight flavors and aromas that already exist, not invent flavor. That is what the art of oaking is all about. For centuries, winemakers and distillers have used oak to bring out the best in wine and spirits. The biggest problem aside from the cost of oak barrels is the amount of time it takes for the oaking process to work. This is where the Oak Bottle comes in. Using a simple volume to surface area equation it’s easy to understand how a vessel with more surface area touching less volume can infuse the wine or spirit quicker. The goal of the Oak Bottle is to make the oak infusion process simple, fast, and cost effective so that just about anyone can become a winemaster from the comfort of their own home. The traditional use of 59 gallon oak barrels for wine making was impractical and expensive. In the past only the best winemakers had access to cooperages who made the best oak barrels. Oak Bottle is currently running a Kick Starter campaign to ramp up manufacturing. For more details or to purchase an Oak Bottle, visit their website: http://oakbottle.com/

Choosing the Right Drum: Hazardous Materials

October 29th, 2015 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: DOT/UN, HazMat

Most materials shipped or stored throughout the world are contained in a steel drum. This includes hazardous materials or dangerous goods. And at Skolnik, we take proper hazmat containment seriously.

Choosing the right drum for the job is always important, but when it comes to hazardous materials, that importance may be tenfold.

There are many questions to consider when determining the proper container for hazardous material:

  • What type of steel should I use?
  • What size drum do I need?
  • Should the drum be lined?
  • If so, what type of liner should I use? Epoxy-phenolic, 100% clear phenolic or pigmented phenolic?
  • How will the materials be transported?
  • What requirements must be met to safely and legally transport my container on train, truck, sea or air?
  • What certifications does my container require? UN certification? OSHA? EPA? DOT? All of the above?

With so many things to consider when shipping or storing hazardous goods, it can be daunting to get the job done. But at Skolnik, we can help. When you’re shipping hazardous materials, it is your responsibility as the shipper that your contents are properly classified, packaged and labeled, so take care and ask questions to ensure that we can provide you with the right container for your needs. Asking questions up front can save time, money and lives when it comes to the transport or storage of your materials.

Reduce risk and avoid incident with proper hazmat containment. Talk to a Skolnik Industries representative to ensure your contents, facilities, transport vehicles, employees and anyone who may come in contact with your materials are kept safe and protected throughout your containers storage or transport.

Lithium Battery Video and DOT Update

October 27th, 2015 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, HazMat, Industry News, Safety, Skolnik Newsletter

If you are unfamiliar with the dangers of transporting lithium batteries, this video is an outstanding review of the issues at hand:

On September 18, 2015, the US Department of Transportation (DOT), including the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) held a public meeting to discuss recent DOT initiatives as well as FAA testing results regarding lithium batteries in air transport and solicit public comments on ways to ensure lithium batteries are safe for transport by air. The session covered the following topics; 1) the capability of aircraft systems to handling incidents involving lithium batteries; 2) the potential risk of transporting lithium batteries vs. possible mitigating strategies, and
3) the need to use multiple mitigation strategies.

The FAA Tech Center then presented test results on lithium ion cells and batteries. In particular, the testing protocols were designed to determine the composition of gases and the pressure release during a thermal event involving lithium ion cells. Tests monitored the volume of hydrogen gas produced vs State of Charge as well as the size of a possible pressure pulse. Possible mitigating strategy suggestions that resulted from the Multi-discipline meetings included; 1) the development of packaging performance criteria; 2) a Safety Risk Assessment by aircraft operators; 3) reduced or limited battery state of charge (SOC) when transporting; 4) prohibition of lithium batteries as cargo by air, and 5) removal of exceptions for small batteries.

DOT encouraged the public to submit written comments to the Public Docket (DOT-OST-2015-0169). The Docket remained open until September 28, 2015. The DOT indicated they would hold a second public meeting in early October to discuss comments received to date.

University of Wisconsin Fined for Violating HazMat Regs on Passenger Aircraft

October 20th, 2015 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: HazMat, Industry News, Safety, Skolnik Newsletter

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposed a $70,050 civil penalty against the University of Wisconsin-Madison for allegedly violating Hazardous Materials Regulations. The FAA alleges that on January 13, 2015, an official traveling on behalf of the university offered an undeclared hazardous material shipment to Delta Air Lines for transport on a passenger flight from Madison to Minneapolis. The shipment included 1.89 liters of ethyl alcohol, which is highly flammable, and 120 milliliters of Epofix hardener, which is a corrosive material. Delta personnel discovered the shipment and notified the FAA.

The FAA alleges the shipment, which was in the passenger’s checked baggage, should have been offered to Delta as cargo containing hazardous materials. Declaring these items as hazardous materials would have required protective packaging and shipping papers, marks and labels to indicate the hazardous nature of the contents. Additionally, the FAA alleges the university failed to ensure its employees had received required hazardous materials training and did not include emergency response information with the shipment. The University of Wisconsin-Madison had 30 days from receipt of the FAA’s enforcement letter to respond to the agency. The final outcome is yet unknown.

Choosing Your Drum: Open Head or Tight Head

October 15th, 2015 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: DOT/UN, Stainless Steel

At Skolnik Industries, we provide our customers with countless options when it comes to customizing their drums. It’s crucial to us that your Skolnik steel drum is the exact fit for your needs. Among the options you’ll encounter when selecting/customizing your drum is the type of ‘head’.

There are two types of drum heads: tight head and open head. The tight head steel drum is, well, sealed tight. It has both ends seamed and no removable lid. You can only access the contents of a tight head steel drum through fittings.

An open head steel drum, however, has a removable cover and fully seamed bottom. Once you’ve determined an open-head steel drum is right for your materials, you’ll have to make more choices. First and foremost, the type of closure you desire: bolt or lever ring. And, of course, whether you require your drum to be United Nations (UN), Department of Transportation (DOT) and/or hazardous materials/dangerous goods certified. (Tight-head drums  manufactured for certification standards as well).

Open head drums are considered the best drums for the storage or shipment of solids, viscous liquids and radioactive waste. Whereas tight heads are best used for liquids – since the contents will need to be easily drained through the fittings.

Whether you’re shipping or storing, the proper drum makes all the difference and we at Skolnik take pride in ensuring your product, facilities and employees remain safe.

New Cold Climate Grapes Grown in Minnesota

October 14th, 2015 by Dean Ricker

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

With Skolnik’s headquarters stainless steel wine drum manufacturing located Chicago, we are always excited to hear about new and exciting things coming from the wine industry in our own region. As recently reported in Wines and Vines, a Minnesota grower has developed new varieties of cold climate grapes. It is common knowledge that it gets cold—very cold—in Minnesota every year, and not just during winters with unusual polar vortexes. Yet wild grapes such as Vitis riparia survive temperatures that drop to -30° F and lower without suffering from dead buds and split trunks. The challenge to growers has been to breed new varieties with resistance to extreme cold as well as the ability to produce grapes that can be made into high-quality wines. Tom Plocher, a grape breeder living northeast of Minnesota’s Twin Cities recently named two red varieties, Crimson Pearl and Verona. While both are cold hardy and have excellent wine potential, they have different attributes in the vineyard and the winery. The benchmark variety for the two grapes is Petite Pearl, a sister grape of Crimson Pearl, which Plocher named in 2009. Petite Pearl and Crimson Pearl were the results of crosses in 1996 between MN 1094 and ES 4-7-26. MN 1094 is a University of Minnesota hybrid with a genetic background of vinifera, riparia and other species. Winter temperatures in 1993 and 1996 dropped to -40° F, and most hybrid grapevines died, except for MN 1094. ES 4-7-26 is a cross Elmer Swenson selected from seedlings of his variety called St. Croix. Contact Skolnik if you wish to learn more about our stainless steel wine barrels.