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

Archive for the ‘Skolnik Newsletter’ Category


March 29th, 2022 by Howard Skolnik

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

PHMSA and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission are jointly seeking comments on issues concerning requirements in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) regulations for the safe transport of radioactive materials. The IAEA is considering revisions to their regulations as part of its periodic review cycle for a new edition. These changes may or will “run downstream” and can impact regulated transport under the 49 CFR and other modal regulations. Interested parties may wish to explore this subject and contribute. Submit comments by March 4, 2022. Find out how right here.


March 22nd, 2022 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter

It’s confusing to many people that steel cable, rod and sheet stock are measured using a system that appears counter-intuitive. As conventional measurements increase in number, so does weight and thickness, right? In fact, not right! The thickness of metal cable, rod and sheet stock is often measured in gauge, and gauge refers back to a system in which the physical properties actually decrease as the rating number increases. It’s uncommon knowledge!

Few people know why the thickness of steel diminishes as the gauge increases (ie: 16 gauge steel is thicker than 20 gauge steel). The explanation comes from the early development of a steel gauge measurement system in which the control measurement was based on a 1? thick steel plate. The 1? thickness of the steel was measured in diminishing fractions such as 1/14? thick, 1/16? thick, 1/20? thick, and so on. The bottom number of the fraction became an easy identifier and eventually was adopted as the “gauge number.” Thus, 1/16? became 16 gauge and the thinner 1/20? became 20 gauge. The concept makes sense but without explanation, the converse number is often confusing. By taking the gauge number and returning it back to a fractional format, one can discover the actual nominal thickness dimension, in inches, of sheet steel.

Skolnik Industries manufacturers steel drums from 16, 18 and 20 gauge steel. Check out the online steel drum product catalog.

Is Wine Tasting better in the Dark?

March 15th, 2022 by Jon Stein

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

In a recent article for The Wine Spectator, Collin Dreizen writes that: “We’re big fans of blind tasting around here. Wine tends to prefer to keep things in the dark as well: Prolonged exposure to light, especially direct sunlight, can damage wine—that’s one of the reasons wine bottles are made from colored glass.

In pursuit of a wine that’s never seen the light of day is Slovenian sparkling wine house Radgonske Gorice, whose “Untouched by Light” sparkling Chardonnay is made, aged, and bottled in absolute darkness.”

“We wanted to do an experiment, to see if there’s a difference in the taste if we secure the ideal conditions for the wine and exclude all potential influences on its aroma or character,” Gorice’s enologist Klavdija Topolovec told Wine Spectator that. “We are making a sparkling wine as a reflection of our terroir. We are proud that we have succeeded.”

Gorice’s team cites a 1989 study authored by now-retired U.C. Davis Professor of Enology Ann Noble and published in the American Journal of Enology and Viticulture; it concludes that fluorescent light can give wine a “light-struck” aroma, muting citrus notes and enhancing unpleasant accents like cooked cabbage, corn nuts, wet dog, and marmite aromas.”

But Gorice isn’t just fighting fluorescents. “We went a step further and eliminated light from the entire process, from harvest to tasting,” said Topolovec.

To make “Untouched by Light”, Gorice harvests estate grapes on moonless nights before moving the crop to a darkroom-like cellar where the winemaking team must wear night-vision goggles. “Untouched by Light” is then bottled in light-resistant black glass and sealed in a light-proof black foil bag. (But that still doesn’t mean you can leave it sitting in the sun—heat kills wine too!)

Topolovec says the first vintage of Untouched by Light, 2016, was largely well-received, and the wine made its U.S. debut with the 2017 vintage.

“At first we didn’t know what to expect and were not 100 percent sure if the consumer will recognize the difference between “Untouched by Light” and our regular sparkling wines,” said Topolovec. “But positive feedback both from consumers and professionals confirmed our hopes.”

The winery hosts comparative “Under the Rock” tastings, giving guests the chance to enjoy “Untouched by Light” in the natural darkness of a cave cellar. “They can even put on eye covers” said Topolovec. “This is meant for them to be able to focus on their sense of taste completely.”

For consumers tasting at home, Gorice sells an “experience box”: Along with the wine, each box includes a cooler, four black wineglasses and four blindfolds. Alas, night-vision goggles are not included.

Here at Skolnik Industries, you will love the experience of using 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.

Do Your Employees Need Hazmat Training?

February 22nd, 2022 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, HazMat, Skolnik Newsletter

The U.S. Department of Transportation requires every hazmat employer to provide one or several types of training to hazmat employees that perform hazmat transportation functions. Industrial packaging manufacturers, reconditioners, distributors and shippers that cause packagings of hazardous materials to be shipped in transportation, are considered hazmat employers. A hazmat employee is a part-time or full-time employee whose job responsibility “…directly affects hazardous materials transportation.” There are several tiers of training that may apply to your business facilities. They are:

General awareness. This basic level of training applies to all covered employees and includes and is intended to familiarize employees with the basic requirements of the Hazardous Materials Regulations.

Function specific. This secondary training level applies to employees performing key job functions, such as applying markings to containers or operating the leakproofness tester.

Safety. All hazmat employees must receive safety training concerning how to respond to emergency situations; how to protect themselves from exposures to hazmat; and procedures for avoiding accidents. If you provide OSHA, EPA or other training on these subjects, you are not required to re-train employees.

Security awareness training. All employees should receive some basic plant security information, which is required as part of this training level. This training need not be extensive   as it might be for a chemical facility, for example   but be sure to inform your employees about security access points, etc.

In-depth security training. If your plant is required to develop and maintain a security plan, employees must be aware of the plan and its contents.
When must hazmat employee training take place? All new employees performing hazmat functions, and employees that change jobs in a company and become a hazmat employee, must be trained within 90 days. Even though the regulations state that during the initial 90-day period newly hired employees may work in the plant if they are directly supervised. However, hazmat employees are subject to training once they begin actively working.

Testing. DOT requires employers to maintain proof (“certification”) that every hazmat employee has been trained and tested. Be sure your training certificates are dated and signed by the employee and the person doing the training.

Record keeping. Training records must be maintained for each covered employee and be retained for as long as the employee works for the company, and 90 days thereafter.

U.S. Supreme Court Stays Enforcement of OSHA Vaccine/Testing Mandate

February 15th, 2022 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Industry News, Skolnik Newsletter

In a 6-3 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court has halted efforts by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to require that companies with 100 or more employees ensure their employees are vaccinated against COVID or submit to weekly testing.

After cutting through all the legal jargon, the substance of the Supreme Court decision is that the OSHA mandate is effectively dead because the Court ruled that OSHA does not have authority from Congress to impose such a broad public health requirement on employers.

Importantly, this decision does not affect the COVID vaccine mandate for federal contractors and subcontractors. That mandate was established under the federal procurement laws, a separate statutory scheme than the one underlying the OSHA mandate. But the contractor mandate has also been stayed by the lower federal courts and is not currently in effect. Those court challenges are making their way through the appellate process.

Supply Chain Issues Continue in 2022

February 8th, 2022 by Jon Stein

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

Historic trucker shortages, port logjams and labor strikes are just some of the elements that are bringing the wine industry to its knees this year. Supplies are down, and prices are up, across the board. Writing in The Wine Industry Advisor, Kathleen Willcox reports that: “Turning the page on 2020, the wine industry was optimistic about the year ahead. But sunny predictions were eclipsed and chaos—caused by weather challenges and supply chain disruptions — reigned. Now that we have entered 2022, the following issues from 2021 are predicted to recur:

Glass & Labels: Kathleen Inman, owner and winemaker at Inman Family in Santa Rosa, says “glass prices have increased, as have shipping costs and even the costs of printing labels.” Currently, Inman says, it costs more to ship bottles than the base cost of glass itself, and “labels have almost doubled in price.” The price increases for raw materials mean the 2021 vintage will cost $14.95 more per case to produce.

Barrels & Capsules: Bobby Richards, winemaker at Seven Hills Winery in Walla Walla, says driver shortages meant a delay in his barrel delivery. “It’s a perfect storm of delays,” Richards says. “It seems as though everyone is expecting to receive their orders in early versus late spring or early summer, causing many people to over-purchase because they think our suppliers will run out.”

Cardboard & Cans: Ryan Ayotte, CEO and founder of Ohza, a canned mimosa, says that “everything from the cans, to the cardboard to shipping has increased and is harder to come by. Extreme cardboard delays recently went from six to 15 weeks, and it has forced us to change how we forecast sales and find better finance options.”

Labor & Shipping: Hans Herzog Estate in Marlborough, which produces 2,500 cases of organic wine, has overcome several problems—including a 40 percent lower harvest. But their biggest challenge was labor, says co-owner Therese Herzog. “With closed borders there are just not enough laborers in New Zealand,” Herzog says.

Tom Steffanci, President of Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits, which has 24 brands producing 12.9 million cases under its umbrella, agrees that “labor shortages at warehouses, production facilities, and transportation companies” led to “extended fulfillment times and a reduction of service.”

Willcox concludes that “Rethinking the supply chain on the fly isn’t easy, but these producers prove that a steady supply of creativity and flexibility pays off in customer loyalty now, and hopefully into the future.”

Here at Skolnik Industries, our customers are very loyal to 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.