In order to maximize efficiency, you always need the right tool for the job at hand. This principle applies across the board, but never more so than when it comes to forklift attachments for drum handling equipment. Get the wrong piece of equipment, and you’ll simply be wasting time and eating into the effectiveness of your entire end to end production process.
There are several types of drum handling equipment forklift attachments that you have to choose from in your production environment:
- Drum Grabs
- Drum Grippers
- Drum Manipulators
- Drum Rotators
- Drum Tippers
- Vertical Drum Lifters
Here we will run through a brief explanation of each, and what they can add to your production floor.
Drum Grabs and Grippers
There are several types of drum grabs, including:
Forklift Drum Grab (waist) – This is a drum grabber attachment for a forklift that handles steel drums around the waist. It is probably the most common type of drum handling forklift attachment, as it’s the most versatile and easiest to use. The grab simply grips the drum around its waist, then lifts it using the extended rings around the center for support.
Forklift Drum Grab (lip) – This drum grabbing device takes a slightly different approach to drum manipulation. A claw at the top of the assembly hooks around the lip of the drum to provide lift and stability. Further stability is provided by a cushioned butt at the bottom of the attachment. This automatically rests against the lower half of the drum to help keep it stable. This type of forklift attachment is typically only suitable for use with steel drums. Plastic drums may be weakened by the use of the gripping hook.
When it comes to storage, drums can be a slight problem. They are fine to be stacked independently in a vertical fashion, but you cannot stack several drums on top of one another. Drums are designed for storage. They aren’t designed to provide support – this is especially true of plastic drums.
So, you’re going to need to store them in some type of racking. This presents another problem, because in order to store them, drums need to be angled at ninety degrees so they can be lifted to their space in the racking.
Drum manipulators or positioners are the solution to this issue. They are attached to a forklift to provide a means of manipulating the position of a drum. The assembly consists of tines which ‘grab’ the drum from above, and then rotate it into a horizontal position.
Most drum positioners come with three tines (two long and one short), but for extra strength and safety four tines (two long and too short) models are available.
Both four-tine and three-tine models tend to have a capacity of around 800 to 900 lbs., or the standard 55-gallon capacity.
These attachments can be used to transport drums, and to load or unload vehicles, drum stands, and drum racks. You can also use them to pyramid-stack drums if necessary.
Drum Rotators and Tippers
A drum rotator is another drum handling forklift attachment with an operation that’s not too hard to guess, given the name. Drum rotators allow forklifts to pick up, turn and (if desired) empty the contents of drums in a manner that is secure and controlled. They allow drums to be manipulated and emptied without the need for human intervention other than to operate the device itself.
To enable the rotation a high-quality gear box is connected to the forklift assembly. The gear box is then manipulated by a crank. The drum tipper then comes into play, allowing the drum to be rotated through 360 degrees with minimal effort on the part of the operator.
A drum rotator attachment can be used on both steel and plastic drums. The drum is secured in place by two ratchet straps. This ensures that the drums are secured during the rotation process, and that the chances of mishaps are minimized.
The rotator itself is secured in place to the forklift’s fork with large screws.
Vertical Drum Lifters
There are two main types of drum lifters – those with tongs, and those with bands.
A vertical drum lifter with tongs allows a drum to be picked up and lifted via an overhead vertical position. This can be via a forklift with a yoke attached, or an overhead crane hook. This is an ideal attachment If drums are stacked vertically, rather than on their sides.
The lifting tongs are guided into a position over the drum, lowered and then a manual secure/release level locates and locks the tongs underneath the drum. This will then allow for the drum to be lifted securely. Once the drum has been settled into its new position, the lever is then released, and the assembly freed from its grip of the drum.
A drum clamp band is a more cost-effective option, but it is not suitable for use with drums that are not heavy-duty – i.e. typically no more than 800 lbs. in weight. Clamp bands are also suitable for use with plastic and fiber drums, as opposed to steel.
This type of vertical drum lifter operates by lowering a clamping band over the head of the vertically-stacked drum. The band is then tightened using a tightening handle at the front of the assembly. This device can be used via a forklift truck that has a yoke attached. Once the drum is placed into position, the band can be removed by a quick-release mechanism.
Learn More About Forklift Drum Handling Equipment
At Douglas Equipment, we stock all types of forklift drum handling equipment from leading brands such as Wesco and Morse. We stock lifters, slings, dispensers, grips and grabs, as well as dollies, racks, cradles and trucks.
If you’re looking for drum handling equipment, then please speak to one of our customer service representatives who will be more than happy to steer you in the right direction. We can be contacted toll free at 1-800-451-0030, or 305-888-3700 if you are based in the Miami area. We look forward to working with you soon.