Case Study 1: A MORE EFFICIENT, COST-EFFECTIVE SHIPPING SOLUTION
Challenge: A government agency asked Skolnik to manufacture an oversized container suitable for use as HazMat packaging. However, due to the excessive size requirement, the overall dimensions of the drum would reduce trailer capacity. Thus, each shipment would be costly. Skolnik was tasked with developing an improved way to ship the oversized drums.
Solution: We relentlessly investigated alternative methods for shipping the oversized drums. The conventional method of shipment is to vertically stretch wrap the drums to a pallet. With the drum height 35" and the trailer height 102", even packing each pallet two drums high still resulted in a 30% underutilized shipment. Confident that there was a better way, we collaborated with a pallet manufacturing company to develop a horizontal palletizing concept that used customized pallets to cradle each drum.Even though the pallets were individually designed to fit the oversized drums, the cost was reasonable, and the sideways design allowed three HazMat containers to be stacked on top of each other. This lateral pallet configuration yielded yet another unexpected advantage—a forklift truck could now be used for loading and unloading, making the process faster than manual handling.
Results: Skolnik utilized nearly 100% of the trailer capacity, reduced initial shipping costs by 50% and accelerated the loading and unloading process.
Case Study 2: MULTIPLE, PRECISION REQUESTS THAT NO OTHER MANUFACTURER WOULD ATTEMPT
Challenge: A customer asked Skolnik to manufacture a 55 Gallon Steel Drum that meets exacting specifications for the type, number and placement of four fittings in the drum top head and body.
Top fittings had to be a specific diameter with a highly unusual tight tolerance of ± 0.030". Also, they were inverted 3/4" fittings that needed to be exactly 180 degrees apart. In addition, there were two 2" standard orientation body fittings that had to be exactly 180 degrees apart on the body and at a critical distance from the top of the drum ± 1/4". The tolerances alone were of such critical dimension that no other industrial packaging manufacturer would even attempt to produce these drums. In addition to these critical tolerances, all four flanges had to align linearly.
Solution: To address these precise, multiple requirements, we enlisted the creative talent of our manufacturing, production and machinery design departments. Thorough review of our machinery settings and the purchase of new digital micrometers allowed us to address and confirm the tolerance issues.
Next, it was an engineering/maintenance challenge to develop a method to prevent slippage during the seaming process. Since Skolnik engineers brainstorm daily to meet customer needs, they are accustomed to developing innovative solutions. Here, they devised a way to seam the heads onto the body while both parts were rotating, and perform a welding operation prior to seaming. To achieve this, they developed a robust welding fixture that captured multiple degrees of freedom. This was accomplished by containing the assembly in a free form, which allowed for multiple position spot welding between the head, fittings and the drum body.
Results: Each unique requirement was executed flawlessly, and our customer learned what sets Skolnik Drums apart from commodity drum manufacturers—a willingness to do whatever it takes and find creative solutions to meet unusual requirements.
Case Study 3: IMMEDIATE RESPONSE TO A NATURAL DISASTER
Challenge: After Hurricane Katrina decimated the Gulf of Mexico, a disaster response company contacted Skolnik to supply—overnight—a sizable quantity of 85 Gallon Salvage Drums. Typically, natural disasters unearth large quantities of steel drums filled with unprotected dangerous contents. They are often exposed or beached, distant from their original locale. This request came during a peak period when our production schedule was full and we were already running a partial second shift.
Solution: To meet the quantity of the request, we required one-and-a-half day’s production time. It was a natural disaster that was quickly becoming a “national disaster” and we were eager to participate in reducing the effects of the already escalating spill damage and danger.
At Skolnik, we are proud of the close relationships we forge with businesses and government agencies, and in this rare instance, we drew on these bonds to address the emergency situation. We quickly contacted customers with orders in production and notified them of this urgent request. We explained that we needed to postpone their shipments by just one day, and this would allow us to meet the delivery requirement for the storm’s aftermath. Fortunately, they agreed to the inconsequential delay for the receipt of their industrial packaging. Production for the emergency order was immediately scheduled.
Results: The urgent shipment was produced, loaded and transported to the Gulf of Mexico within 24 hours of initial phone calls, faster than anticipated. Afterwards, production immediately returned to existing orders to accommodate scheduling with pre-storm customers.
Case Study 4: INNOVATIVE PACKAGING FOR LOW-LEVEL RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL
Challenge: Skolnik received a request from a customer that was working with a United States Department of Energy nuclear agency. The goal was to develop a packaging method that allowed common carriers to transport low-level radioactive waste. This practice was typical until the year 2000, when common carriers were banned from transporting this type of critical contents in conventional packaging, thus halting the disposal of low-level radioactive waste from a specific DOE site. A new packaging method needed to be developed to allow for the disposal process for shipping these low-level radioactive materials.
Solution: Skolnik's team of engineers worked with our customer to develop an innovative double-walled drum that would also utilize impact-resistant foam insulation. Manufacturing tolerances were critical. Our engineering and machinery design departments worked together to develop a new welding process that seamlessly welded the packaging. The ultimate packaging was required to pass the testing requirements of the United States Code of Federal Regulations Section 173.465 for Type A packaging. In this requirement, the filled drum must successfully pass a series of tests, the most severe being a 30-foot drop onto an unyielding surface.
Results: The final package successfully passed CFR testing and has allowed for the continuation of low-level radioactive material transport by common carrier.