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

Archive for the ‘Skolnik Newsletter’ Category

BACK-OFF Prevention Addressed in Canada

November 26th, 2019 by Howard Skolnik

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

For many years, during DOT audits, customers are often asked to provide technical information regarding the prevention of the closure plug Back-Off. By definition, Back-Off refers to the potential loosening of a steel or synthetic drum plug (usually the 2” and the ¾” on the top head) after the required torque is reached when closing a drum. Currently, CFR 49, 173.227(b)(2)(ii) does state that the screw closures must be “physically held in place by any means capable of preventing back-off or loosening of the closure by impact or vibration during transportation.” Transport Canada still refers to this requirement as “closures that are threaded.” However, in a move to have Transport Canada harmonize with the US CFR, COSTHA (The Council on the Safe Transport of Hazardous Articles) has submitted a proposed revision to Transport Canada. The proposal expands the criteria so that the “inner packagings shall have closures with gaskets and which shall either be threaded or physically held in place by any means capable of preventing back-off or loosening of the closure by impact or vibration during transport.”

For information about meeting the Back Off requirement, Skolnik offers solutions to securing closures plugs.

Stainless Steel does not Rust…Wrong!

November 19th, 2019 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is a ubiquitous material with a wide variety of applications—from

use in medical devices, to automotive parts, to jewelry and cooking utensils. Much of the “magic” of this metallic material is that as stainless, in theory, it doesn’t rust. However, if you have ever owned or used a stainless steel product it is likely that you have noticed rust (corrosion) and you may have even questioned if its name is a misnomer. Why does a material touted as “stainless” rust?

Most people are familiar with metals, to include stainless steel, corroding when it’s exposed to environments such as seawater. Often, without understanding the exact science of what is occurring, people accept that exposing a metal product to seawater has a damaging effect. The science behind corrosion from seawater is that the water contains chlorine, which is corrosive to metals, including stainless steel. However, corrosion of stainless steel can also occur without producing any corrosion products to analyze (other than rust), and when an obvious corrosive environment is unable to be detected.

To understand what makes stainless steel rust it is first important to understand the science that typically prevents it from rusting. Steel is made of iron and carbon, and stainless steel contains iron, carbon, and anywhere from 12-30% chromium. Stainless steel can contain other elements such as nickel and manganese, but chromium is the key element which makes it rust resistant.

Have you ever used a steel wire wheel or steel wool to clean off a stainless steel tool, and then the stainless tool rusted in the same spot which was brushed clean? Or have you seen a stainless steel container or sink rust? Stainless corroding in the absence of a corrosive element (such as chlorine) is usually from very tiny steel particles touching the stainless steel surface. Chromium can protect stainless steel if the localized concentration is in excess of 12%, but if you cover the stainless surface with sufficient steel particles, then the localized concentration of chromium can fall below the 12% threshold and the chromium oxide layer fails to protect the stainless steel from oxygen attack. If this type of corrosion happens to stainless steel, it is fixable by: (A) Cleaning off all the rust, and then (B) removing the tiny steel particles by thoroughly cleaning the stainless steel part, usually with a solvent. These two steps should allow the chromium oxide layer to protect the stainless from further oxidation. Check out our extensive line of stainless steel drums.

Is Falconer the Coolest Wine Industry Profession Out There?

November 12th, 2019 by Jon Stein

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

I’ll come right out and say it: Of the many wine industry professions one could pursue, falconer is arguably the coolest. The name alone seems reserved for some fantastic all-knowing superhero. It’s not a character type you’re likely to run into very often, but they play an important role, especially in vineyards come late summer and early fall. In a recent Wine Industry Advisor article, Mark Stock writes: “Harvest time is a glorious stretch of fresh and vibrant wines, and agricultural camaraderie. It’s also a pensive, tension-filled time involving serious decisions about when to pick fruit and how best to ferment it. And as the grapes ripen and sugar levels rise, flying pests begin scheming up ways of feasting on your favorite vineyard block. Enter the falconer. The hero arrives in style, sporting a beautiful bird of prey on their shoulder or thickly gloved hand. The bird, often a kestrel, peregrine falcon, or some species of hawk, is highly trained. It’s released in the vineyard and it begins patrolling as it spirals above the ripening fruit, scaring away hungry birds like finches and starlings. It’s mostly a scare tactic, but the predatory birds will pick off a smaller flying snack now and again.” But with harvest on the line, some estates simply need a little extra protection from grape thieves. There are other means, such as propane cannons, reflective tape, netting, recorded bird sounds, or parading through the vineyard with a shotgun — but none is more romantic than falconry. “It’s so effective and silent,” says Nadine Lew of Soter Vineyards. “And there are no demands on my team to mess with nets or deterrents when I need everyone focused on harvest.” She adds that it’s fun for guests to witness and doesn’t come with the issues that other methods bring.

“We do love having the falconer and his falcons here,” she continues. “He knows where the birds like to hang out, knows where there might be some damage, and is really effective at flushing them off of the property.” In addition to vineyard and agricultural work, falconers also find gigs in sprawling metropolitan areas. They’re called in to scare off everything from pigeons in town squares, to gulls in dumps and recycling centers. Airports are also known to dial up their local falconer, looking to clear the runways of unwanted and potentially disastrous bird encounters. But it’s before a backdrop of vines where the birds seem most at home, chasing away harvest headaches for grateful winemakers. Here at Skolnik Industries, winemakers are grateful for our selection of 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.

What to do when the DOT Inspector Arrives at Your Door!

October 29th, 2019 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, Skolnik Newsletter

Before an inspection, all companies should establish procedures for dealing with visits by a regulatory inspector. These procedures should address a policy on taking pictures and/or recording interviews in the facility as well as security requirements. Inspections are random and unannounced. An important step in the procedure is to establish a primary and alternate contact to be responsible for interacting with any hazardous materials inspector. The primary contact should be aware of all applicable hazardous materials regulations, know where appropriate documents, such as training materials, are stored, and is knowledgeable about the basic requirements of an inspection. Important procedures to have in place include:

  1. Store applicable training certificates/materials in an easily accessible location: Evidence of training is often looked at during an inspection. Make sure that that everyone who signs shipping papers has a corresponding training record.
  2. Store applicable shipping documents in an easily accessible location: Shipping documents are often referenced and analyzed during an inspection. It is important to note that regulatory agencies only require the review of shipping papers from a certain timeframe. Any shipping documents retained beyond that timeframe should be kept in a separate location.
  3. Keep non-dangerous goods shipping documents separate from dangerous goods shipping documents.
  4. Keep any applicable regulatory manuals at the company shipping desk. These manuals should be the most current version of the regulations.
  5. Have a designated location/isle within your facility or warehouse where hazardous materials are stored. Many inspectors will want to look at how hazardous materials are stored, packaged, labeled, marked and otherwise handled prior to transport. Having these materials in a central location helps streamline the inspection process.

When an inspector arrives, it is important that the primary contact stays with the inspector as much as possible throughout the visit. The primary contact should make sure to do the following:

  1. Invite the inspector to a conference room or private office.
  2. Identify the inspector: Ask to see credentials. Write down relevant information.
  3. Determine the scope of the inspection. Ask the inspector what initiated the inspection.
  4. Advise the companies’ legal counsel of the presence of the inspector.
  5. Take notes on what is seen, what is said, by whom, and whether any samples or copies of documents are taken.
  6. When in doubt on any question posed by the inspector, do not answer. Communicate to the inspector that you do not understand the question, and ask the inspector to put the question in writing, addressed to you company counsel or designated contact. Provide them with the companies’ counsel information.
  7. Do not admit to any violation or lack of compliance verbally or in writing. Do not sign anything other than an acknowledgement that the inspector was there.
  8. Prepare a memo as soon as the inspector leaves. It should include all relevant details of the inspection, copies of documents produced or requested, etc.

At the end of the inspection, the officer will give you details regarding the outcome of the inspection and suggestions of how the company can address concerns that were highlighted.
This is normally a very fair process that helps UN shippers comply with regulatory aspects of their shipments.