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

Archive for August, 2021


August 31st, 2021 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Industry News, Skolnik Newsletter

It’s no secret that in the past year, the price of steel in the US has risen by a greater percentage than in all the previous steel making years combined. And in the case of steel being the primary component of a steel drum, manufacturers of steel drums, and other products, have passed on the increase to the end users. To further complicate the supply chain, there are steel shortages resulting in extended lead times for steel products. There is always the consequence that when steel prices increase, end users look for ways to offset the increase. An obvious option that some manufacturers are offering to offset the increases is to drive down the necessary wall thickness of steel drums. Drum user’s probably don’t realize that reducing wall thickness increases the risk on drum performance – and a small cost savings on the drum wall thickness exposes the much more expensive inner contents to greater risk. Furthermore, reducing wall thickness will require the need for alternative performance test certifications. On the other hand, users contemplating reconditioned versus new drums will find that a reconditioned drum is going to be thicker and heavier than many of the thin-walled new drums that cannot withstand reconditioning and are being scrapped after a single use. When choosing the best drum for your product, we recommend that thicker steel (0.9mm minimum or 20 gauge minimum) is the best choice for risk-reduced transport and storage.

A Look at Open Top Stainless Steel Drums

August 27th, 2021 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Industry News

Just as there are many varied uses for industrial containers, there are many varied configurations of the containers themselves. From the material itself, to the size, shape, closure or more, businesses have many factors to consider when choosing the appropriate container for their use. In the world of steel and stainless steel drums, one such decision is whether you need a closed or open top stainless steel drum.

An open top stainless steel drum, also known as an open head container or a 1A2 drum, has a fully removable cover secured with a lever lock or bolt ring closure. Put simply: when not closed and sealed, the entire top of the drum is open for easy access to the contents.  Open head drums are popular for a wide variety of materials and typically used in situations where regular access to the contents is necessary, whether for frequent addition or extraction.

One of the most critical components of any drum closure is the cover gasket, this is especially true when it comes to open top drums as the opening is larger and thus the contents are at greater risk of exposure and an environment is at risk of a quicker spill if the lid is not properly seated and sealed. 

Since the adoption of Performance Oriented Packaging (POPS), new gasket styles, materials and profiles have been developed to increase drum integrity and performance. Drum fillers and shippers are responsible for inspecting container gaskets for any irregularities including, but not limited to: crumbling, cracking, slicing and tearing, before sealing or closing a drum. It is crucial that anyone opening the open top stainless steel drum follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the proper seating and sealing of the container.

At Skolnik, we manufacture industrial grade steel containers to suit a whole range of configurations and materials. We are always happy to lend our knowledge to anyone seeking insights on different drum configurations, certifications and proper closure practices.


August 24th, 2021 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, Safety, Skolnik Newsletter

The Department of Transportation plays an active part in the United States Government’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19). 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. The safety of our transportation networks is vital to maintaining economic durability and the free flow of essential supplies, food, fuel, and medical equipment.

We urge everyone to help us get the pandemic under control. By getting your vaccination, you reduce the chance of getting, and spreading, the virus and ultimately, you will be saving lives. At this link, just enter your zip code to see a nearby facility that is able to give you the vaccine within hours. Plus, you can see the vaccine product that you will receive.

In English: www.vaccines.gov

En Español: www.vacunas.gov


August 17th, 2021 by Jon Stein

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

Writing in the Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray reports: “Expect to pay higher prices for wine this fall — and prepare for the possibility that your favorite wines may not make it to your local store. The reasons have nothing to do with wine itself, and everything to do with logistics. Your favorite Burgundy could be stuck anywhere along the route to your door, says wine logistics expert MaryAnn Pisani.”

Pisani is the chief revenue officer for MHW, a Long Island-based company that does basically everything in the wine industry except make and sell wine. MHW is a licensed importer and distributor, it handles regulatory paperwork, and it arranges warehouse space, trucks, and everything else in the wine logistical chain. Pisani says that right now every link in that chain is more stressed than she has ever seen.

“These are things I’ve never seen in 25 years,” Pisani said. “I’ve never seen product that’s not moving out of the warehouse. That holdup has never occurred before.”

Pisani says the crisis started before the pandemic because of the tariffs on European wine. She said a lot of big importers, surprised by the first round of tariffs, decided to bring in containers of wine before more tariffs could be imposed.

“It created a backlog in the warehouse system in the US,” Pisani told Wine-Searcher. “The warehouses were already pretty full.”

The first link to fail was shipping. Americans have been shopping online since the pandemic started, so much so that most container ships just want to work the lucrative China-US route. Wine is not the only product that suddenly found it difficult to get a ride from Europe or South America to the US.

“You have a massive backup of containers,” Pisani said. “The steamship lines are actually charging extra just to secure a booking. We’ve had boxes that have sat for months in warehouses in France and not moved. They’ve been picked up at the winery, brought to the port and never moved from there.”

Then there are dockworker shortages: “The port of Oakland’s been running 20-25 days behind,” Pisani said. “We have a box that’s been sitting in the port of Oakland since April 27.” Then, let’s say you get your container of wine to the port. You need a drayman, a specialized trucker who delivers containers to and from the port. Except, of course, there’s a drayman shortage. And when you do find a drayman, “the warehouse doesn’t have room for it”, Pisani said. “You have people storing product in a yard somewhere. People have product stored in multiple warehouses, which is terrible for logistics.”

Pisani says she believes the situation will ease by spring 2022. But unfortunately, the peak season for selling wine is from late October through early December. Therefore, expect to pay more for wine this fall, and if there are wines that you really have to have, buy them when you see them, because the next vintage might not arrive on time.

Here at Skolnik Industries, using our stainless steel wine barrels is a reliable link in your supply chain. 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.