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

Archive for 2020

Pack it Right! Ship it Right!

February 25th, 2020 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Associations, DOT/UN, HazMat, Safety

A compliant shipment of dangerous goods has never been more critical, more complex and more expensive if done improperly. In addition to lives at risk, planes, ships, trains, trucks and all public right-of-way can be severely impacted when an incident does occur. In order to educate shippers on how to identify, pack and ship hazardous materials, many agencies and industry partners are developing resources to provide the latest in safety regulation as well as videos and tools on how to transport products safely. The Council on Safe Transport of Hazardous Articles (COSTHA), has gathered this information and created a web page that is an outstanding resource for learning about compliant shipping of dangerous goods / hazardous materials. Check out the webpage and learn how you can help to ensure that regulated shipments in commerce are properly prepared.

Get Ready to Receive a DOT Inspection

February 18th, 2020 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, Skolnik Newsletter

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 and begin the formal Inspection process. The inspection will include validation of your hazmat employee training, tool calibration, product certification testing and much more. 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 NEW and REVISED 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 when they arrive.
For a free copy of the revised booklet, Click Here.

Travel-friendly 30 Gallon Steel Drums

February 12th, 2020 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Industry News

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a smaller size container is easier to move than a larger, but for a 30 gallon steel drum, it’s a victory worth noting. Sure, the 55 gallon drums might be ‘Mr. Popular,’ but due to their small stature, the 30 gallon drum is the jet setter of the pack.

That said, even 55 gallon drums log a few miles. And, regardless of their size, all containers are required to meet stringent standards and regulations in order to be safely transported. The primary regulating body for the Stateside transport of containers is, of course the Department of Transportation.  However, the DOT shares a lot of regulations with the UN, which is responsible for overseeing and certifying containers for international shipment, among other things.

At Skolnik, we take these regulations very seriously and perform a number of UN and DOT tests in house to ensure our containers meet or exceed the necessary standards. 

Every inch of our drums, whether they’re 30 gallons or much larger, are meticulously monitored and tested. The UN and DOT has regulations for each component of the containers: clamp bands, bolts, gaskets, lids, rolling hoops, thickness, chimes, seams, gauge and more. The standards may change depending on the capacity of the container and intended use, but there are always standards to achieve and rules to follow to ensure the safety and integrity of the container and its contents.

Afterall, our 30 gallon steel drums travel the world, so it is important they are built to perform, last and maintain compliance and safety wherever their journey takes them.

The Three R’s in Wine

February 11th, 2020 by Jon Stein

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

The three R’s in wine are not “Rose, Riesling, and Rioja”. Rather, I have been interested in how the traditional three “R’s” of the environmental movement: “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”, are being addressed by the wine industry. For years, winemakers have been touting sustainability initiatives in their vineyards and fields, and through energy-saving efforts in their facilities. But now consumers want more, especially as they begin to understand how much of wine’s carbon footprint stems from packaging and shipping. When it comes to wine’s impact on the environment, glass bottles contribute 29 percent to its total impact, according to a 2011 carbon footprint assessment of the California wine industry commissioned by the Wine Institute and conducted by sustainability consultant PE International.

        <p> A similar assessment in Oregon, conducted by the Center for Sustainable Systems at the University of Michigan, found packaging contributes 23 percent to a wine’s carbon footprint. In comparison, planting and growing grapes contributes 24 percent, and transporting the bottled wine to retailers accounts for 13 percent.</p>
        <p> Many winemakers have switched to at least partially organic and sustainable growing practices in recent decades; some have also moved to reign in wasteful packaging practices. In California, Paso Robles’ Tablas Creek Vineyard grows its grapes biodynamically and organically, so it’s no surprise that sustainable packaging is a priority. The winery has always used soy-based inks, eliminated Styrofoam in direct shipments in favor of recycled (and recyclable) pulp inserts, and in 2012, switched away from bottling some wines in 6-bottle cases in favor of 12-bottle cases (because the 12-bottle case uses significantly less than twice the packaging material of the 6-bottle case). In addition to the immediate environmental benefit of producing a lighter bottle, the winery also sends out fewer trucks for delivery (22 pallets can fit in one, versus 19 pallets previously). “We send about 10,000 cases of wine per year to wine club members and for DTC orders that we receive,” says Jason Haas. “Those are all sent via UPS, FedEx, or GSO. Each case weighs between two and 11 pounds less than it would have with the old bottles. That’s a big footprint—and cost—savings.” So are the days finally gone, when heavy bottles are equated with wealth and luxury? “I would say there’s more room in the marketplace for quality wines in lighter-weight bottles, as well as a backlash against some of the heavy ones,” says Tablas Creek’s Haas.</p>
           <p> He continues: “We thought the heavy bottles we were using were the equivalent of a luxury SUV, signifying solid respectability. But we came to believe they were more like a Hummer—with that same overlay of environmental tone-deafness. Particularly for a winery like us, which works so hard to farm the right way, it felt like the wrong choice.”</p>
        <p>Here at Skolnik Industries, we know that people like the reusability of our stainless steel wine barrels. Note that our stainless steel wine barrels are easy to clean, and recyclable at the end of their service life. Check out <a href="http://skolnikwine.com/stainless-steel-wine-barrels/">the full line of our Stainless Steel Wine Drums here</a>. </p>

Packing and Shipping Regulations: The UN Rated Steel Drum

January 30th, 2020 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Industry News

Trust in and follow regulations to ensure your packages are properly contained. Using the wrong container to transport or store goods, especially dangerous goods, puts your facility, community and employees at risk. It also puts you at risk of a fine. 

There’s a number of regulatory bodies in the packaging and transportation industry. With countless manufacturers and transportation companies across the globe building and utilizing industrial containers everyday, it’s unsurprising that one of those governing bodies is the United Nations.

At Skolnik, we manufacture UN rated steel drum containers. That means these containers have been built, tested and certified to contain liquid or solid dangerous materials. Only packages that are certified to have passed the UN packaging standard tests may be used to transport dangerous goods.

The UN performance standards are internationally recognized and each is marked with a code that indicates the physical nature of the product for which they are suited (solid, liquid, dangerous goods group, etc). 

UN drums are tested against drop, stack, leak and pressure standards and there are three different dangerous goods packaging groups.

Skolnik not only rigorously tests our drums to ensure they meet UN specifications, but we also build our UN steel drums to surpass many of the requirements. Our drums are built stronger than is required.

We do our due diligence to ensure our packages are UN rated and certified, but it is the shipper who is responsible for selecting and filling packages appropriately. It is also the shipper’s responsibility to mark packages correctly. Shipping container packers should check that packages are properly marked and, if they are not, should not transport them. But the liability falls on the shipper.

Do you know what UN rating your materials need? Skolnik can help you understand the UN ratings and guide you to the packaging suited for your use. What’s more, Skolnik UN drums are built stronger and thicker than the industry standards require.

Why Do Skolnik drums reduce shipping risks?

January 28th, 2020 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: HazMat, Safety, Skolnik Newsletter

Recent years in the global metals industry have been challenging. The uncertain economic climate, and slowing demand due to tariffs from key markets such as China, has softened the decade of growth. At the same time, opportunities have emerged for metal producers that have introduced some innovation. One area that is getting attention is the auto industry in which they are “lightweighting” their metals. “Lightweighting” is a term used to refer to metals that provide strength while reducing thickness and weight. In the auto industry, every 100 pounds of steel translates into a fuel economy increase of 1% to 2%. Therefore, some steel drum manufacturing companies are also “lightweighting” their drums in order to reduce costs. However, the drum industry and the auto industry are not alike in their projected goal. While safety is always a concern for an auto manufacturer, fuel economies do much to help sell cars. For steel drums, risk reduction of a packaging is our #1 priority, and the most common failures result from fork-lift punctures and nail punctures. In the US, 90% of steel drum failures are from poor handling. In order to overcome this type of failure, the design of the drum must be sound, especially in details such as steel thickness. Compared to other steel drum manufacturers, Skolnik builds drums that exceed industry standards and as a result, our drums are thicker and heavier. To our customers that ship critical contents, they know that increasing steel thickness reduces the risk of any type of puncture, resulting in the saving of many dollars of clean-up and lost contents expense.