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

Archive for January, 2020

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.

Rogue Lithium Battery Shipments Under Scrutiny

January 21st, 2020 by Howard Skolnik

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

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), in partnership with the Global Shippers Forum (GSF), the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA) and the International Air Cargo Association (TIACA), are amplifying their efforts to ensure the safe air transport of lithium batteries. The organizations are also renewing calls for governments to crack down on manufacturers of counterfeit batteries and of mis-labeled and non-compliant shipments introduced into the supply chain, by issuing and enforcing criminal sanctions on those responsible. But, we are seeing an increase in the number of incidents in which rogue shippers are not complying. The industry is initiating a campaign to raise awareness of the need to comply. The campaign includes four specific initiatives:

  1. New incident reporting and alert system for airlines: Creating an industry information sharing platform that will allow real-time information about dangerous goods incidents to be reported.
  2. Industry awareness campaign on the dangers of shipping undeclared and misdeclared lithium batteries: A series of dangerous goods awareness seminars has been developed in collaboration with the World Customs Organization (WCO).
  3. Facilitation of a joined-up industry approach: The adoption of a cross-domain approach to include aviation security, manufacturing standards, customs and consumer protection agencies. Currently air cargo is scanned for items that pose a risk to security such as explosives, but not for items such as lithium batteries.

    Responsible shippers rely on government enforcement of standards to protect their investment in training and safe operating procedures. Air freight remains a vital link in international supply chains and it is essential that the rules for ensuring the safe movement of all cargoes are understood and acted on by all parties involved. Safety is aviation’s top priority.

  4. Passengers traveling with Lithium Batteries: Lithium batteries carried by passengers remain a safety focus for airlines. Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs) guidance is available to travelers in eight languages detailing what items must be packed in carry-on baggage.

Salvage Drums: Choose the Strength of Steel

January 20th, 2020 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Industry News

Salvage drums are containers designed and certified to hold other damaged, leaking or non-compliant containers. Because the transportation of any leaking materials, but especially hazardous goods, can be dangerous, salvage drums are heavily regulated by the Department of Transportation. These regulations don’t dictate that the drums must be made of steel, in fact, certified salvage drums can be made of polyethylene, aluminum or other metals as well. But we at Skolnik recommend steel salvage drums over other materials – and not just because we make them that way. 

Steel is stronger. And because salvage drums are designed to carry and protect damaged or leaking containers, why wouldn’t you want the strongest container possible?

What’s more? Skolnik’s steel salvage drums are built to surpass the industry standards and UN performance requirements.

The UN dictates that, at minimum, a salvage drum must pass the standard requirements for shipping solids plus a 3 psi air leakproof test. Skolnik salvage drums are built thicker and stronger.

Our steel salvage drums are constructed of high quality carbon steel and are rigorously tested to ensure UN and DOT compliance. Our 85 gallon salvage drums are even T-rated, meaning they have passed the UN ‘T’ test allowing it to hold liquid or solid materials. This test and rating were created to give shippers the confidence that their damaged drum will be securely contained, even if it is holding liquid.

Federal law doesn’t require shippers to use steel salvage drums. However, when considering the safety of the environment and population, steel provides a peace of mind that other materials cannot. 

The fines for non-compliance are high, but the potential cost of safety or damage to the environment should be enough to deter a business from skimping on the safe containment and transport of dangerous goods.

Making Premium Wine That Just Happens To Be Kosher!

January 14th, 2020 by Jon Stein

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

Technically, all wine is made with kosher grapes. But that doesn’t mean wine itself is necessarily kosher. That, in part, caught the attention of Hagafen Cellars founder and winemaker Ernie Weir. And he decided to do something about it. Weir returned to UC, Davis, for his degree in viticulture and enology; he began work at Domaine Chandon in 1973. In 1979, Weir and his wife founded Hagafen Cellars.

Hagafen means ‘the grape vine’ in Hebrew. It’s the last of a nine-word prayer, called Kiddush, traditionally recited over wine. Hagafen makes premium wine – “wine that just also happens to be kosher”, Weir likes to say. Kosher wine made its modern appearance in the United States in the early- and mid-20th century, following successive waves of Jewish immigrants. The East Coast saw the growth of vibrant Jewish communities, for which wine is an integral part of almost every major holiday and life event. They turned to the only varietal readily available: Concord grapes. As a result of (Concord’s) low sugar maturity, it makes very bad wine,” Weir relates. “So they added sugar to the wine to make it palatable.” That American-born “sugary, syrupy” wine became the face of kosher labels. It birthed brands like Manischewitz, one of the most famous kosher wines, which Weir jokingly calls “the M-word”.

There are about 20 kosher wineries in California today, according to Rabbi Nachum Rabinowitz. As a rabbinic coordinator, Rabinowitz oversees the wine portfolio of the Orthodox Union, the supervisorial body that certifies Hagafen wines as kosher. Certified kosher wineries must adhere to kashrut, the guidelines defining what is and isn’t kosher. Wine, for example, must be handled through the winemaking process only by Sabbath observant Jews. Sabbath observant individuals must not perform any kind of work during Shabbat, which falls from sundown Friday until sundown on Saturday.

There are other kosher labels in Napa, though they’re produced by non-kosher wineries. St. Helena’s Marciano Estate makes a kosher Red Blend, called Terra Gratia; then there’s Covenant Wines, a kosher winery that relocated from Napa to Berkeley in 2014.

Napa is one of the hot spots for premium wine production, according to Gary Freeman, owner and wine buyer for Oakland Kosher Foods. Weir also goes on to say: “Talking about kosher wine – we can talk Cabernet Sauvignon, organic grape growing, that we’re fish-friendly and bee-friendly farmers.” In a sentence: “kosher” is not a flavor profile. “Some know, but some don’t even know when they leave that there’s anything here having to do with kosher,” Weir said, of the winery’s guests. “They just like the wine.” Here at Skolnik Industries, we know that people like our stainless steel wine barrel for the food industrys. 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.