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

Archive for 2020

Used Cars, Why Not Used Batteries?

June 30th, 2020 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Industry News, Skolnik Newsletter

As electric vehicles rapidly grow in popularity worldwide, there will soon be a wave of used batteries whose performance is no longer sufficient for vehicles that need reliable acceleration and range. A new study shows that these batteries could still have a useful and profitable second life as backup storage for grid-scale solar photovoltaic installations, where they could perform for more than a decade in this less demanding role. The study, published in the journal Applied Energy, was carried out by six current and former MIT researchers.

As a test case, the researchers examined in detail a hypothetical grid-scale solar farm in California. They studied the economics of several scenarios: building a 2.5-megawatt solar farm alone; building the same array along with a new lithium-ion battery storage system; and building it with a battery array made of repurposed EV batteries that had declined to 80 percent of their original capacity, the point at which they would be considered too weak for continued vehicle use. Check out the entire study here.


June 23rd, 2020 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, Skolnik Newsletter

The Department of Transportation plays an active part in the United States Government’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19). As a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, DOT helps support the Administration’s efforts to contain and mitigate the spread of the virus, and ensure continuation of critical infrastructure support and relief for the American people.

Check out the additional resources on how the Department is responding to COVID-19. The safety of our transportation networks is vital to maintaining economic durability and the free flow of essential supplies, food, fuel, and medical equipment. Response measures implemented by the Department to date have included stakeholder outreach and guidance, expanded federal assistance, and regulatory relief. This page will be updated on a regular basis as new information and resources become available.

Making Napa Winery Tours a Virtual Reality

June 16th, 2020 by Jon Stein

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

In a recent issue of the Napa Valley Register, Sarah Klearman wrote about a new development during the COVID pandemic: “There was not a single visitor at Schramsberg Vineyards. No one gazed over the legions of sun-warmed vineyards or into the thick wilderness that surrounds the storied property, which had bloated with green in the late-season rain.” Sarah goes on to say that “It all seemed a shame to Geoffrey Curley. And as it so happened, he was in a position to do something about it. A decade ago, he founded his own company — Geoffrey M. Curley and Associates — and set to work creating interactive exhibits often punctuated by 360-degree virtual experiences. As travel came to a standstill and tasting rooms closed their doors, Curley wondered if the technology might be of use to the broader American wine industry.”

“There had been some discussion internally a while ago about having this kind of virtual tour, where you could see the path of a visit,” Schramsberg President Hugh Davies said. “Maybe not surprisingly in this particular moment of a more virtual reality, when they contacted us, we kind of jumped at it.”

All of the wineries Curley has so far worked with, apart from Schramsberg, are boutique producers. Some, like Dos Lagos Vineyards, make as few as 800 cases each year. “It sounds pretty fascinating, the idea of virtual tours,” Dos Lagos Owner Tom Dinkel said, noting that many of the winery’s club members, cooped up in their homes, have expressed a desire to return to the valley once life normalizes. A virtual tour, Dinkel said, could help transport not just existing club members, but perhaps catch the eye of newcomers online. Sarah explains that “Boutique wineries have been hit especially hard by the pandemic’s impact on tourism. Tasting rooms account on average of 28% of sales for small wineries; they also serve as conduits for wine club membership, which on average accounts for an additional 23% of sales. Wineries producing between 1,000 and 5,000 cases could lose as much as 48% of their revenue for the year, according to one estimate. “Once people try the wine, it speaks for itself,” Dos Lagos’ Dinkel said. “But so many people don’t know who we are. So if someone’s searching for ‘Napa wines’ and they find our virtual experience and like what they see — we’re hoping for that kind of exposure.”

Virtual tastings, as popular as they’ve become, bring only the wine to the consumer — not necessarily the experience tied to the wine. The virtual tour could fill that void, Davies said. “In a unique way, this may attract people,” he added. “But we know nothing we are going to be able to do is going to attract everyone the same way.”

“We’re taking that physical interaction out of these experiences, but still trying to tell those stories, generating that emotional response to the people who are creating the wines,” Curley said. “The work that vintners do, their families, the landscape — that’s in every bottle as much as the wine itself.”

Here at Skolnik Industries, our stainless steel wine barrels are more attractive than ever. 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.

Overpack Salvage Drums: Not for Liquids, Not for Primary Shipment

June 4th, 2020 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Industry News

Everything in its place. When it comes to choosing the right drum or container for your materials, it isn’t a matter of preference, it’s a matter of safety. Overpack salvage drums often fit the bill for both. However, while overpack salvage drums are a long standing industry favorite for the efficient and effective transport of damaged containers of various materials, they are not certified to hold liquids on their own and they are not recommended for primary shipment.

This is because overpack salvage drums are designed and certified for damaged, defective or non-compliant packaging discovered or damaged after the transportation cycle has already begun. They are a backup, a solution to a damaged container. They are not Plan A.

Now, an overpack drum not being used for salvage could be Plan-A. Overpack drums are often used in multi-pack situations or to handle a package more conveniently. But traditional overpack drums are designed to protect non-leaking containers or to be used in a combination pack. They are not certified to function as salvage containers for damaged/non-compliant containers. For that, you will require a certified, overpack salvage drum.

Furthermore, overpack and overpack salvage drums are not meant to hold liquids. In the case of a traditional overpack drum, it is only certified to hold another container. That other container is considered a solid, no matter what materials are within that container.

As for salvage drums, to bear the UN certification, an overpack salvage drum is rigorously tested. This test includes a leakproof test. However, the DOT recommends that, once over packed in a salvage drum, a leaking or non-compliant container should be immediately routed to a facility for disposal or re-containment. Again, a salvage drum is Plan B. They are a solution to be implemented in response to a problem. 

You can never be too careful. Always consult regulatory materials and industry specialists before choosing a container.

DGS Symposium on Dangerous Goods will now be Virtual and Free!

May 26th, 2020 by Howard Skolnik

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

Hosted annually by Labelmaster, this year’s DGS Symposium (Sept 9 – 11, 2020) was planned for Chicago. However, due to the social-distancing mandates that will be imposed during the autumn months, they have decided to create the industry’s first virtual Dangerous Goods Symposium that will include live streaming panels and 1:1 conversations, on-demand regulatory updates and more featuring the most sought-after DG experts.

From your home, you will be able to attend:

  • Live Q&A sessions and panels with industry and regulatory leaders scheduled at specific days and times between September 9th and September 11th
  • On demand regulatory update presentations for viewing on whatever day and time is best for you
  • Live streaming small group sessions, based on industry or interest
  • Private, one-on-one meetings with industry leaders
  • Networking opportunities and games
  • And, it’s FREE

Topics will range from:

  • International and North American regulatory updates
  • PHMSA work session for operations, investigations and looking forward
  • The FBI, Homeland Security and Dangerous Goods
  • Compliance vs. Competence
  • A look at China’s regulatory complexities
  • Technology in transportation
  • Cross generational training: Challenges and opportunities
  • And, of course, Lithium Battery Friday!

Put the Symposium on your calendar for Sept 9- Sept 11, 2020.

Then register to attend at: www.labelmaster.com/symposium Thank you Labelmaster for turning lemons into lemonade!!!

Hazardous Waste Container Regulations and COVID-19

May 20th, 2020 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Industry News

When transporting any hazardous materials or hazardous waste, it is important to know your materials, their characteristics and what containers are designed and approved for those materials. Infectious substances and materials always face very stringent packaging and transportation regulations, and, given the current challenge facing our world population with COVID-19, it is no wonder that healthcare organizations and transportation professionals are exercising caution and continuously checking in on the latest guidance for COVID-19 waste disposal.

For weeks now, red bags of medical waste laden with coronavirus-tained materials have been flowing from hospitals treating affected patients. But, according to current information on the organization’s website, the CDC reassures us that “medical waste (trash) coming from healthcare facilities treating COVID19 patients is no different than waste coming from facilities without COVID-19 patients. […] There is no evidence to suggest that facility waste needs any additional disinfection.”

While routine procedures seem to be fine for the trash coming from these facilities, what about other COVID-19 tainted materials such as specimens, cultures and isolates that need to be transported? To provide guidance in that area, PHMSA has developed a COVID-19 Quick Reference page.

Furthermore, one can consult The Department of Transportation (DOT). Responsible for the regulation of packaging and transport of materials under Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR), and determinations made under the HMR in the context of transportation (such as the classification of wastes as ‘Infectious Substances’ or ‘Regulated MEdical Waste’), the DOT is continuously reviewing and updating their recommendations per the CDC.  Of note, the CDC and OSHA do not consider the COVID-19 virus a DOT Category A Infectious Substance.

The classification of wastes as Infectious Substances or Regulated Medical Waste can be found under Title 49 of the Code of Federal regulations section 173.134 Class 6, Division 6.2. Regulations specific to steel drums, such as the steel hazardous waste containers manufactured by Skolnik, are in chapter 178.601.

As the current situation with COVID-19 unfolds and the response efforts progress, so too may the regulations surrounding the packaging and transportation of potentially tainted materials. Please defer to current CDC and WHO recommendations and consider asking a dangerous goods consultant if you have further questions.