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

Archive for 2020

Unpacking Drum Configurations: The 5 Gallon Open Head UN Rated Steel Drum

December 29th, 2020 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Industry News

In almost any industry where contents need to be shipped, drums are used. They are used for such a variety of industries and materials that, of course, there are seemingly endless configurations and certifications to suit. One very specific configuration is that of a 5 gallon open head UN rated steel drum. Before you pack up this drum, let’s unpack what all of these things mean.

Skolnik drums are available in sizes ranging from 5 to 110 gallons. The 5 gallon drum is the smallest barrel in the Skolnik product line. Available in carbon or stainless steel, the 5 gallon drum is most commonly used for winemaking as it is a perfect small size for testing out experimental batches of wine.

There are two types of ‘head’ configurations for a drum: an open head and a tight head. An open head drum has a removable cover and a seamed bottom. It is a popular choice for solids and viscous liquids.

What does it mean for a drum to be UN rated? Using the wrong container to transport or store goods, especially dangerous goods, puts many at risk. And so, there are a number of regulations surrounding the packaging and transportation industry to ensure manufacturers and shippers are utilizing the appropriate industrial containers for their contents. One of those governing bodies is the United Nations. For a drum to be UN rated it must be built, tested and certified to contain the liquid, solid, and/or dangerous materials it is intended for. UN drums are tested against drop, stac, leak and pressure standards.

At Skolnik, we not only rigorously test our drums to ensure they are UN rated and certified, we also consult with our customers to ensure they are getting the right drum for their materials and needs. Maybe that’s a 5 gallon open head un rated steel drum, or maybe it’s a different container, we’re here to help.

The Ins and Outs of Nitric Acid and Nitric Acid Shipping Containers

December 2nd, 2020 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Industry News

Every day, the shipping and transportation industry moves tons upon tons of containers all around the globe. Many of these containers hold dangerous goods and materials. Nitric acid, for example, is a highly corrosive mineral acid. It is poisonous and has strong oxidizing properties. All the same, it needs to be contained and shipped regularly because it is commonly used in industrial applications and daily life. Nitric acid is used in woodworking, food cleaning, and in the manufacturing of different fertilizers and several polymers, including polyurethane. And so, proper Nitric acid shipping containers are incredibly important.

As Nitric Acid is classified as a ‘Hazardous’ material, it is essential that it be contained safely in storage or transport. When containing any material, it is imperative that the container be compatible with the material – that means neither the material nor the container must be affected by direct contact between each other. A tricky thing when you are containing something as corrosive as Nitric acid.

Due to it’s high corrosion-resistance, stainless steel is popularly used for Nitric acid shipping containers. By regulation, nitric acid should be stored in a 304 grade stainless steel barrel. This is a medium grade stainless steel, also known widely as ‘food grade stainless steel’.

Stainless steel Nitric acid shipping containers prevent any reaction between the acid and the container. Furthermore, they are easy to safely vent and less inclined to ‘balloon’ from pressure build-up from the acid unlike plastic containers. And, because of stainless steel’s chromium content, they are resistant to corrosion unlike containers made from other metals.

At Skolnik, we also offer seamless Nitric acid shipping containers, also referred to as our seamless sanitary drums. These containers are completely crevice-free to further prevent the accumulation of unwanted bacteria in the crevice of conventional drum design (see illustration). These drums can be used for processing of SuperClean contents or for safe transport of the most aggressive chemicals, including Nitric Acid.

Report Issued by RIPA on US Reconditioning Activity

November 24th, 2020 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Associations, Industry News, Skolnik Newsletter

Reusable packagings continue to thrive in the global economy. To understand the breakdown of the usage of these packagings, the Reuseable Industrial Packaging Association (RIPA) has released a biennial report on industrial container reconditioning in the US. The report presents summary data on the annual production of reconditioned steel and plastic 55-gallon drums as well as 275- and 330-gallon composite “intermediate bulk containers” (IBCs). Data reported is for calendar year 2019. This report also profiles the container reconditioning industry in terms of industry practices, processes used, equipment used, employee training, markets served, customer service and regulatory compliance. The association last conducted a similar survey for calendar year 2017 as well as other surveys every 2 years preceding that date.

“We believe this biennial report is useful to RIPA members as well as other interested parties in seeing trends in production,” says Technical Director C.L. Pettit. The report can be used to benchmark other packaging businesses,” explained Pettit. “The RIPA study is the only one of its kind produced by the industry itself,” he added. Click here to see the entire report.

Free HazMat Training Webinars from DOT

November 17th, 2020 by Howard Skolnik

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

PHMSA offers Hazmat transportation training workshops and webinars throughout the year. These free training opportunities are for anyone who offers or transports hazardous materials in commerce, or has a desire to learn more about DOT’s Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR).

PHMSA conducts webinars specialized to meet the needs of industry or the public safety community. Transportation webinars provide a basic overview of the regulatory requirements – what they are, how they apply, and how to comply with them – for shipping and transporting Hazardous Materials.

To register for any of the webinars below, please use the following link:

The Many Uses of Stainless Steel Process Containers

November 16th, 2020 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Industry News

At Skolnik we manufacture industrial, stainless steel containers in a variety of configurations for a variety of industries and uses. The durability and sterility of stainless steel make it a particularly versatile material in sensitive environments such as pharmaceutical, food and beverage handling. These containers are stainless steel process containers.

Stainless steel process containers are favored in the pharmaceutical and food industries for their durability, anti-corrosion and ease to thoroughly sanitize. 

In the food industry, stainless steel and even seamless, crevice-free process containers are available to meet stringent hygiene requirements. Furthermore, Skolnik proudly offers kosher food grade process drums. Food grade process drums prevent contamination during food processing and storing.

In the pharmaceutical industry, the most popular stainless steel for process drums are grade 304, 306 and 306L. These drums have the highest resistance to chemical corrosion and oxidization. Type 316 is incredibly heat tolerant and therefore can withstand high-temperature sanitization practices. 

Beyond food and pharmaceuticals, stainless steel process drums are increasingly popular in the hemp and cannabis industries for the processing, storing and transporting of CBD and hemp oils. 

Like all of our drums, our process drums are strong, heavy and, in many cases, reusable due to their ability to be safely sanitized. And, for materials that react negatively with steel, a selection of steel drum linings can help ensure chemicals and consumables remain safely contained and uncontaminated while still offering the durability of a steel container.

Our seamless stainless steel process drums and drum linings are just a few of the solutions Skolnik provides to support the safety of our customers in the pharmaceutical, chemical and food-processing industries.

Could a Tool to Combat Coronavirus Also Protect Grapevines from an Annual Threat?

November 10th, 2020 by Jon Stein

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

Scientists and vintners are exploring using UV lights, now being employed in HVAC systems to reduce the threat of COVID-19, as a weapon against mildew on grapevines.

Writing in a recent Wine Spectator article, Lynn Alley, reports that Jim Bernau, founder of Willamette Valley Vineyards, was installing an ultraviolet light component to his HVAC system in the winery, to protect both staff and customers against COVID-19 when inspiration struck. “The light bulb went off when we started researching the UV light to kill COVID,” said Bernau. “It reminded me of the research I’d been reading about for years on using UV light to kill pathogens in the vineyard.” Alley goes on to write that: “Bernau, like most organic and sustainable growers, uses organic Sulphur to control powdery mildew in his Oregon vineyards. Many other vintners employ chemical fungicides. According to the Robert Mondavi Institute Center for Wine Economics at U.C. Davis, powdery mildew currently accounts for an estimated 74 percent of total pesticide applications by California grape growers. The fungicides are costly and environmentally unfriendly, plus the fungus typically adapts to the fungicides within a few generations, requiring heavier applications or changing formulas.”

An international consortium of scientists known as the Light and Plant Health Project, led by David Gadoury, a plant pathologist at Cornell AgriTech in Geneva, N.Y., has developed an inexpensive answer. Gadoury has spent his entire career looking for ways to keep plants healthy. Although scientists have known for several years that UV light will kill bacteria, viruses and fungi, just exactly how to apply their finds in a working field or vineyard has been a challenge. “Research in using UV light to kill the powdery mildew pathogens is not new,” Gadoury said. “But it has accelerated with the discovery that UV is much more effective when applied at night.” Gadoury and his team have found that mounting UV lights on tractors or sending self-driving robots into the vineyards at night can scramble the mildew’s DNA and kill it faster, safely, and more efficiently than costly fungicides. “What makes it possible for us to use UV to control these plant pathogens is that we apply it at night,” Gadoury said. “At night, the pathogens don’t receive blue light and the DNA repair mechanism isn’t working.”

The team has partnered with SAGA Robotics in Norway to develop the first commercial robot fitted with UV lights. The Norwegian robots are autonomous vehicles fitted with an array of lamps. “Our initial assessment is that an autonomous vehicle will make UV light application far less expensive than the current seven- to 10-day application of organic sulfur via tractor and sprayer with operator,” said Bernau. “There is another significant advantage. Our spray windows vary due to the Willamette Valley’s periodic rainy or windy weather conditions, frustrating the best timing for applying sulfur via tractor and sprayer. The application of UV light is not restricted by weather.”

Here at Skolnik Industries, you’ll see the light with our stainless steel wine barrels. Note that our stainless steel wine barrels are reusable, easy to clean, and recyclable at the end of their service life. Check out the full line of our Stainless Steel Wine Drums here.