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

Archive for November, 2021

Choosing a Packaging is More Than Just an “X” Rating!

November 16th, 2021 by Howard Skolnik

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

When shipping dangerous goods, only the shipper knows the potential perils that a packaging might face. Many in industry assume that if they are in possession of UN tested packaging and a packaging test certificate, they have met the requirements of the regulations concerning the packaging of dangerous goods. However, nothing could be farther from the truth! The UN requirements state that in addition to the appropriate packaging test selection, shippers should consider the mode of transport as well as conditions of climate when choosing a packaging. Failure to select the right package for a journey is often the result of shippers assuming that UN packages will perform their job unimpeded. Although the principal cause of leaks in transport is usually due to handling, initial package selection for other types of failures is critical. Therefore, when purchasing a packaging, specifically a steel drum, a shipper must request more from a drum supplier than “I want an X drum for a product.” The shipper should request “ an X rated drum for a product which will be shipped all over the world and needs a packaging that will minimally meet the UN criteria and will not be unduly affected by vibration, temperature, pressure, various types of handling equipment, and the like.” In all, the selected package must be able to successfully transport the contents safely to their destination. A cushion of safety is wise to incorporate into every drum purchase.

The Great Supply Chain Kerfuffle of 2021

November 9th, 2021 by Jon Stein

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

Jeff Siegel, writing in an Editorial for “Wine Industry Advisor” reports that: “Delays in deliveries are affecting viticulture and winemaking procedures, product launches, and limiting consumers’ options during the peak of holiday wine-buying. Brian Talley ordered a new grape elevator in January, figuring that would allow plenty of time for him to use it this harvest. He figured wrong. The elevator not only didn’t arrive on time—it showed up three weeks after harvest started. And it came disassembled and broken.”

“That was pretty much a fiasco,” says Talley, whose 20,000-case Talley Vineyards in Arroyo Grande, Calif., specializes in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. “The freight forwarder had all kinds of problems.” Siegel goes on to elaborate: “Welcome to the Great Supply Chain Kerfuffle of 2021, which has made itself felt up and down and throughout the wine business. In Texas, some wineries aren’t sure they’ll have enough bottles for the 2021 vintage. A California broker got one shipment of Australian wine in the spring but has no idea when the next will arrive. Wholesalers in a variety of states are scrambling to get product from producer to retailer—and sometimes coming up short. Some state ABCs are weeks behind in label approval. Even wine writers have been affected: One Texas reviewer was expecting a Chilean sample in July. It showed up at the end of October. Perhaps the most telling? In Napa, a French barrel manufacturer expected a shipment in June. Now it’s supposed to arrive in November—maybe.”

“When I kept telling them their barrels were going to be late, they were all angry and wanted to know if I actually knew what was going on and if the barrels were actually going to arrive,” says Françoise Gouges, who represents Burgundian barrel manufacturer in the U.S. “Now they’re sending me newspaper articles, saying, ‘We understand and we’re with you. We’re not mad at you anymore.’”

Siegel concludes: “All of this supply chain havoc has its roots in the pandemic, say a variety of people in the wine and shipping businesses, who cite ships backed up in ports around the world and a shortage of the containers used to ship goods internationally. And the supply chain problems are certainly not just about wine. One estimate by the Marine Traffic consultancy found 10 times as many ships waiting to unload in and around Los Angeles in October 2021 compared to October 2020. Depending on who is doing the estimating, the delays and shortages could last into next spring or into the beginning of 2023. At the end of the day, the wine industry and wine consumers need to understand the supply chain woes are bigger than any one person or company.”

Here at Skolnik Industries, we stock an inventory of our stainless-steel wine barrels. Note that our stainless-steel wine barrels are durable, 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.

International Travel Alert for Those Flying to the United States

November 6th, 2021 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Industry News, Safety, Skolnik Newsletter

The White House announced that vaccines will be required for international travelers coming into the United States, with an effective date of November 8, 2021. For purposes of entry into the United States, vaccines accepted will include FDA approved or authorized and WHO Emergency Use Listing vaccines. More information is available here.

The Ongoing Dilemma of Nuclear Waste Storage

November 5th, 2021 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Industry News

Waste from nuclear power and weapons is a reality. And, as nuclear waste continues to pile up, scientists are keen to determine the safest long-term solution. These waste materials can be harmful to human or animal health and the environment, and so finding a safe way to store them is a perpetual puzzle. Especially considering that as scientists deliberate long-term storage solutions, the containers nuclear waste are currently held in continue to age and, in some scenarios, leak.

Nuclear waste leftover from nuclear power plants or by facilities involved in nuclear weapons production is highly radioactive and can remain dangerously radioactive for many thousands of years. For that reason, this accumulation of waste demands a permanent depository. 

Some nations have chosen to store liquid nuclear waste by vitrifying the hazardous material into glass. As an immobile solid, glass is highly durable and prevents toxic materials from leaking into the environment and also provides some shielding against radioactivity leakage. India, France and the UK are among the countries who have favored some vitrification of liquid waste for a number of years. While some operations in the U.S. do utilize this process, it isn’t considered a favorable solution long term.

For many countries with large quantities of waste to contend with, the plan is to develop deep geological repositories. In the U.S., one such proposition was a repository 300m below ground level beneath Yucca Mountain in Nevada. Until a decision is made and acted on, much of America’s nuclear waste has been sitting in interim storage since the 1940s.

Tens of thousands of metric tons of radioactive spent nuclear fuel currently sit in a combination of stainless steel and concrete storage casks as they await permanent disposal. Here in Illinois, where Skolnik is headquartered, over 4,000 metric tons of uranium are sitting in storage. Stainless steel casks and salvage drums are a safe and preferred short term storage solution for spent-fuel and other nuclear waste materials. Scientists trust stainless steel, especially in conjunction with concrete, to keep controlled solids safely contained and protected from any corrosion from the dangerous materials themselves. The long-term issue lies in eventual aging and degradation from the environment itself.

These dry-cask containers and salvage drums were manufactured to withstand high levels of stress and damage. However, as these containers sit in limbo, above ground, they remain exposed to the outside elements for decades longer than originally intended.