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

Archive for 2017

Using Replacement Parts for Drums

November 21st, 2017 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, Skolnik Newsletter

When buying a UN specification drum, the entire design of the drum and all its components (heads, ring, gasket, bolt, nut, plugs) are defined in the testing certification. All of these elements are incorporated into a drum type that must meet a test standard, and successfully pass the UN Testing criteria. Once established, shippers cannot alter or exchange any of these components with non OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts as it might impact the ability for the drum to perform as certified. For example, if a filler or shipper were to change the ring from a bolt style to a leverlock or even change the gasket type, this would void the UN certification for the container and could result in a potential DOT fine for the shipper, or a potential hazmat incident. If replacement parts are needed, fillers must make sure that they contact the manufacturer and get original parts that meet the test criteria of that specific drum. Once the drum is filled, compliance with the UN certification is the responsibility of the shipper. To locate the contact information for the manufacturer, look on the Closure Instructions for this information. For all drums manufactured by Skolnik, you can request replacement parts at www.skolnik.com.

What’s So “Natural” About Natural Wines?

November 14th, 2017 by Dean Ricker

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

As a general rule, technology is a good thing. Right? It’s a tangible example of human’s progression— how we improve our lives and surroundings. The wine industry has certainly seen massive benefits from advances in technology. From vineyard to glass, we have tinkered with everything from fertilizer to fermentation. Adding sugars, tweaking yeast; modern winemakers work hard to scientifically engineer every step of the process. Even here at Skolnik, we seek to improve the wine production process with control and waste-reduction provided by our stainless steel wine barrels.

There has, however, been a new trend in the wine industry that rejects technology. Rather than embrace the advances at our disposal, natural wines forgo them entirely. Instead, they seek a return to simpler, more traditional times. These vineyards make wine as their ancestors once did, by merely harvesting grapes, crushing them, and allowing them to ferment. The end result is a straightforward snapshot of that particular vineyard in that particular year. It also means that any irregularities or impurities, flaws or faults all make it into the end product, warts and all.

Of course, how one defines “warts” is part of the experience. While a drinker could devalue natural wine if it’s cloudy or oxidative, another could celebrate the diversity and find their new favorite bottle among the variety of previously unexplored flavors. It’s also very attractive to anyone who is wary of all the chemicals and additives used in modern winemaking and for those concerned that we are becoming less and less attune with nature as we seek control over every single step of production.

Much discussion has been had about the legitimacy of this movement, with equal part supporters and detractors, but the biggest challenge it faces is the lack of accreditation. At this point, anyone can claim to produce natural wine, and there is not yet a governing body to confirm or deny those claims. There is progress towards rectifying that, and establishing quality charters will do a lot to help the legitimacy of the wines

Despite any negative opinions though, in a GMO, pesticide and additive-wary culture, natural wine is a growing industry. Perhaps adopting stainless steel wine barrels is the modern touch the movement needs to push it to mass consumption, or maybe that’s just wishful thinking. After all, the beauty of stainless steel is that it protects against impurities or unwanted additives. Regardless, it seems that natural wine is here to stay. With about 400 natural winemakers in France alone, and many more around the world, this return to a simpler process and the results it produces has enough fans to sustain it for now. For information about our complete line of stainless steel wine drums, check out www.skolnikwine.com

Keg Theft Concerns Highlight the Value of Stainless Steel Barrels

November 9th, 2017 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Stainless Steel

We here at Skolnik proudly serve a wide variety of industries with a full range of products, including the ever-popular 55-gallon stainless steel barrel. Our 55-gallon stainless steel wine barrel has deepened our ties with the beverage industry, where we’ve noticed a unique container challenge recently: keg theft.

Keg theft has plagued the beer industry for years. With the rise of DIY art and furniture, more and more craft beer enthusiasts are pilfering kegs from their local bars in hopes of making a fun conversation piece for their living rooms. Of course, this is illegal and hurts everyone from the bars — who are merely renting the kegs from their distributors — to the brewers — who now need to replace the container. With a sticker price on average of $130+ per beer keg, it’s not a cheap replacement.

Now, the distribution models of wine and beer are certainly different, and kegs are more vulnerable than a 55-gallon steel barrel, but it is certainly as much of a problem if inventory goes missing.

The beer industry has deterrents in place — hefty deposits motivate renters to return them safely– it is yet to be seen if such security standards are required for wine barrels. Luckily, if were to come to it, there are plenty of notes for our wine partners to take from the beer industry as they navigate the problem.

At Skolnik, we regularly receive requests for barrels to use in similar DIY projects. Luckily, as a wholesale supplier, we are at a lower risk for the kind of theft plaguing the beer industry. Our customers come to us for bulk purchases of containers, not individual rentals. Even so, by keeping a keen eye on the troubles faced by our partners in other parts of the beverage community can help protect us from future harm to our own businesses.

Some very impressive work has come out of peoples’ interest in these industrial containers, but the beauty of the piece is only tarnished by ill-gotten materials. We agree that the Skolink brand 55-gallon stainless steel barrel is a piece of art, just make sure you’re not committing a crime to get your hands on them.

New Regulations For U.S. Food Supply as The Food and Safety Modernization Act goes into Effect  

October 26th, 2017 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Industry News, Safety, Stainless Steel

The agricultural and manufacturing world is facing big changes as the rules set forth for the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) take effect in full, after the September deadline for mandatory compliance. The new standards will affect every part of the food processing and supply chain, including containers such as stainless steel process drums. FSMA According to the FDA, it will be the “most sweeping reform of our food safety laws in more than 70 years” and it “aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it.”

Passed in 2011, companies began to abide by the act last September, after all of its rules were finalized. Now, the act’s year-long grace period is over, and the prevention-focus changes are officially the new status quo.

FSMA starts at the food facilities, including controls to evaluate hazards there, then requires the facilities to specify what steps, monitoring, and actions will be put into place to prevent them.

It then address moving the products with the Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food Rule, a series of new regulations on vehicles and transportation equipment, operations, training, and records for the agricultural companies. One element of the rule is that, “The design and maintenance of vehicles and transportation equipment to ensure that it does not cause the food that it transports to become unsafe.”

Within FSMA there are a number of large, expensive adjustments that companies are making to how they operate, and it has thoroughly changed the landscape of the agricultural industry. For the first time though, the FDA will have a legislative mandate to require science-based preventive controls across the entire food supply, which seeks to reduce the frequency of foodborne diseases. Hopefully, the cost is worth the gain.

Skolnik is examining the impact of the FSMA on our products and company. At this time, our crevice-free stainless steel process drums are used extensively by our customers with exceptional demands for cleanliness.

Like the Cubs, Labelmaster Hits a Home Run with DGS XII!

October 24th, 2017 by Howard Skolnik

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

Now viewed by the Dangerous Goods (DG) community as the best DG gathering of the year, Labelmaster hosted it’s 12th DG Symposium this past September at The Drake Hotel in Chicago. The Symposium has become a signature event for bringing together anyone involved in the training, transporting or handling of dangerous goods. Attendees included shippers of dangerous goods, suppliers to the dangerous goods industry, regulators from US, International regulatory agencies and interested parties that are taking their first steps into the world of hazmat transportation.

The program opened on Wednesday, Sept 6th with a welcome by Alan Schoen, President of Labelmaster, and was followed by Peter Mackay (HCB) and Rob Finn (Labelmaster) presenting the results of their international benchmarking survey of DG World Compliance. Speakers from the US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) included Shane Kelly and Marc Nichols.

International regulatory agencies were represented by:
ICAO — International Civil Aviation Organization — Dave Brennan
IATA — International Air Transport Association — Dave Brennan and James Wyatt
IMDG — International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code — Jeff Hart
ADR — Agreement Concerning the Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road — Kristel Vermeersch
GHS — Global Harmonization System of Classification and Labeling — Ben Barrett

In addition to global regulatory updates, private industry and many DG Trainers also participated in topical presentations including numerous Lithium Battery discussions, new DG technology and new trends in DG automation. A highlight of the event was the Labelmaster Fest where guests received a surprise performance of the Chicago Blues Brothers.

By far, one of the most memorable take aways from DGS is the brilliantly executed DG video interview with children at a playground. Titled “Kids Say the DG’est Things,” take a few minutes and enjoy children’s answers to all things DG!

PHMSA Releases 23 Million in Grants for Hazardous Waste Transportation Training

October 18th, 2017 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: HazMat

Earlier this month, the Department of Transportation’s Pipline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHSMA) announced that they are issuing a series of hazardous materials training grants, totaling $23,870,045. The three separate grants are part of PHSMA’s larger initiative to improve the transportation of these dangerous materials.

The largest of the three, totaling to roughly 20 million, will be disbursed via Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness (HMEP) grants across all 50 states, as well as U.S. territories and Native American tribes, enhancing the abilities of emergency response personnel to protect themselves and the public when responding to hazardous material transportation related incidents.

An additional 2.4 million will be put into Assistance for Local Emergency Response Training (ALERT) grants. These will provide support to non-profit organizations such as the Center for Rural Development and the International Association of Fire Chiefs. The funds will be used to train volunteers and remote emergency responders to safely respond to rail accidents involving crude oil and ethanol products.

The last 1 million will be issued to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance as part of its Community Safety Training grant program. This will allow community organizations to help train local and state personnel responsible for enforcing safe hazardous material transportation.

Hazardous materials have the ability to make an already dangerous situation that much more lethal. With these grants, responders across a broad spectrum of organizations will better be able to respond to the challenges, stay safe and in turn keep those around them safe.

For the full report from PHMSA, including a chart breaking down the allocation of the HMEP grants by state, click here.