Drum Handling Equipment Tips

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What are some other drum handling equipment on the market?

Drum Handling Equipment and Accessories

There are plenty of accessories and other drum handling equipment you can buy to ensure the job of lifting, moving, racking, stacking, weighing and pouring your drums is done right. Here are just some of those accessories, courtesy of beacontechnology.com:

  • Portable drum jacks: grasps the drum securely to prevent spilling during movement
  • Drum lifter/transporter/rotator: a multi-functional unit that lifts a drum and rotates while it dumps
  • Drum stacker: a machine that picks up your drums and positions them on shelves
  • Drum caddies: transport drums to desired location
  • Manual drum upender: for the controlled inverting of materials by rotating them. It clamps onto the drum from the top and bottom instead of from the sides and rotates it 180 degrees
  • Chain drum lifter: secures onto top drum lip to lift
  • Drum clutchers: allows you to easily lift and move steel drums with an overhead lifting chain or hoist
  • Drum slings: lift drums in the horizontal position quickly and easily
  • Drum dollies: transports drums easily
  • Drum cradles: pour fluids from a drum into a smaller container and avoid a mess by nestling the drum in one of these

What safety concerns should I have with the purchase of new drum equipment?

First Aid and Safety Issues

The work area's first aid training and supplies kits should reflect the kinds of mishaps likely to happen with the gear you're using.

If you are using overhead drum equipment, your crews should be trained in procedures for dealing with shock, head trauma and eye injuries. Additionally, your protective gear should be updated to include helmets, hearing protection, heavy-duty gloves and eyewash.

Transporting drums means potential leakage either from factory defects in the drum, damage to the drum before you took possession, or an accidental drop or tipping. If you currently don't have eye protection or eyewash onsite, it's in your best interest to provide these items for your workers. The expense of adding these today is the money you'll save on doctor bills and lost productivity tomorrow.

I'm thinking of a new drum storage solution. What are some important questions to ask myself before the buy?

Thinking of New Drum Storage?

When looking for drum storage, it's important to consider a few different factors in the equation.

  • Is your storage long-term or do you find that frequent rotations in and out of drum storage areas is a way of life in your work space?
  • How much volume do you have?
  • Is your current drum handling equipment up to the task of dealing with drums in a different configuration, or would the design of your proposed new drum storage create problems with your existing equipment?

If you haven't taken a poll among those who work in drum storage situations on a daily basis, it may be wise to learn what the 'on-site' wisdom is with regard to a new drum storage solution. The input of your trusted workers may surprise you.

I'm currently using only manual drum carrier solutions, but I'm thinking of the future. What's out there for me?

Drum Transport--Manual or Hydraulic?

Manual drum carriers are less expensive than their hydraulic counterparts. If your shop only requires "over-the-ground" drum transport in small volumes, you will probably be safe using the inexpensive manual version.

A hydraulic drum carrier comes with features that are not always available in a manual version--the drum carrier/rotator model is a good example. This equipment still requires only a single operator and uses a foot pump, and can be a major help for jobs beyond 'casual use' quick trips across a dock or service area.

The hydraulic drum carrier requires the drum be strapped in, but the ease of operation and "one-man" nature of the work makes this piece of equipment a valuable part of a busy work area's productivity. This equipment often comes with a modification to handle smaller drum sizes, adding to the versatility of the machine. As always, if you aren't sure whether this equipment is necessary, take a poll of your most trusted on-site people.

You may not need the gear today, but if your company is about to outgrow its current operation, you'll want to schedule purchases like these into your upcoming budgets.

Why bother buying little 'luxury tools" for my shop?

A Thirty Dollar Tool Can Save Thousands

Equipment for drum handling can come in a variety of configurations. Some of the most basic gear are accessories to the more expensive equipment such as fork truck or pallet truck. These items may seem like miscellaneous purchases, but in the long run they can enhance productivity and reduce the potential for injuries due to repetitive use, leaks and spills.

A manual drum upender is an excellent example. This simple drum handling tool sells for around $30, and is used to help a worker move a drum onto a dolly or fork truck. The proper use of this drum handling tool prevents injuries that can occur when trying to use the arms and lower back to do the same job.

What will a new purchase of drum equipment include in terms of planning?

New Drum Equipment? Plan Ahead!

New drum equipment, or drum equipment use with inexperienced people, requires some additional risk management planning and training. Your new workers may be unfamiliar with situations involving overhead hazards, or potential hazards. Additionally, some drum equipment is only designed or rated for closed containers.

Your new drum equipment purchase may also require contingency planning for mishaps including spills, dropped drums due to operator error, and procedures for dealing with equipment malfunctions. There is much to plan for with a drum equipment purchase. Don't wait until the last minute to add to your risk management plans and maintenance schedules to accommodate the new additions to your workplace. Your training should be done in advance of and not in reaction to a mishap or breakdown.

How should I care for my hydraulic drum dumper?

Caring for and Using Hydraulic Drum Dumpers

If you plan on buying a hydraulic drum dumper, here are some guidelines to follow, courtesy of beacontechnology.com:

  • Read and understand the owner's manual before using the machine
  • The load must be removed from the chute and the chute fully lowered before any work is performed on the lift
  • Make sure all safety labels are in place and legible
  • The dumper's frame must be securely anchored to the floor
  • Do not use the dumper if you see any damage or hear an unusual noise. Before each use, inspect for frayed wires, oil leaks, pinched or chafed hoses and proper functioning of all limit switches
  • Always watch the chute and barrel carefully when the dumper is being used
  • Do not perform any modifications to the dumper without the manufacturer's approval or your warranty may be compromised
  • Maintenance and repairs are to be done only by those authorized to do the work
  • The oil should be changed if it darkens, becomes gritty, or turns a milky color (which means there is water in it). Do not use break fluid or jack oils in the hydraulic dumpers. If oil is needed, use an anti-wear hydraulic oil or Dexron transmission fluid
  • Only use replacement parts supplied or approved by the manufacturer

What is a drum positioner?

Drum Positioner

A drum positioner is a heavy-duty steel apparatus that is slid around a drum, latched on and then used to rotate a drum from a vertical to a horizontal position and vice versa. It can lift up to 800 pounds. Drum positioners allow a fork truck operator to easily secure, move and release drums without ever having to leave the fork truck seat. A safety chain is a nice feature, which secures the drum positioner to the carriage of the fork truck. This equipment will cost you around $900 for one that handles 55 gallon drums and slightly less for one that handles 30 gallon drums.

Why use a hydraulic portable drum dumper?

Go Hydraulic and Portable With Your Drum Dumper

If you are a company that deals with heavy drums full of materials on a daily basis, you'll want a hydraulic drum dumper to increase your efficiency and cut down on worker injuries. A hydraulic drum dumper is easily controlled by a button and can dump 55 and 30 gallon drums weighing up to 6,000 pounds in less than 60 seconds. Get a portable drum dumper while you're at it and you'll be able to move drums on or off pallets, floor scales and conveyors. This is an excellent way for workers to be efficient at moving heavy drums, all without the back injuries and pinched fingers that can occur when trying to lift and lower drums without a fork lift. Hydraulic drum dumpers ensure drums remain vertical without tipping so you don't have to worry about spilling your contents.

Portable and hydraulic dumpers are available with different dump heights and dump angles. The best angle for dumping is 60 degrees, which will empty a drum of any type of material. Get a portable drum dumper with a built in scale and you can skip the bulky floor scale when weighing your drums. These machines are capable of handling drums that are nestled tightly together. And they can roll through tight aisles with ease. They have locks that keep them still when you do not want them to move.

What should I consider when choosing a drum dumper?

About Drum Dumpers

A drum dumper picks up heavy 30 to 55 gallon steel, plastic or fiber drums with the intent of dumping the contents inside. Using a drum dumper reduces the risk of injury to workers because it is physically straining to empty a drum manually. It is also time consuming to do it manually and there is plenty of opportunity to spill the contents as the materials shift in a tilted drum. Using a machine to lift a drum to a certain height and dump with precision decreases the chance that potentially hazardous chemicals inside will spill out and cause health concerns to workers and damage to surroundings. And it improves a company's efficiency because drum dumpers can lift and empty drums at a fast pace.

When trying to figure out which drum dumper is right for you, you need to consider:

  • How much weight your drum dumper can lift
  • At what angle your drum dumper can tilt your drum
  • How high your drum dumper will lift your drum

Does "spark resistant" equal "explosion proof"?

Spark Resistant Drum Handlers And The Fine Print

For material handling operations that deal with flammables, explosive materials, and other hazardous items, it is a very good idea to invest in drum handlers made with spark resistant materials. With that in mind, it's important to know that manufacturers of spark resistant equipment sometimes include fine print with their products informing buyers they haven't submitted their materials to be certified by a regulatory agency. "Spark-resistant" does not necessarily equal "explosion proof". If your drum handling equipment has electrical power, the electrical assembly will need to meet certain requirements in order to be safely operated near combustible materials. "Spark resistant" does not equal "non-sparking", and are not a substitute for proper grounding to prevent static electricity discharges and other fire hazards.

Are there special considerations for empty drum transport?

Empty Drum Transport

Empty drum handling means respecting a different set of physics than the kind for hauling full loads, which is one of the reasons most manufacturers recommend using a drum truck to transport your "empties". A four-wheel drum truck is perfect for individual transport of empty drums, but there are special considerations for drums that once held flammable materials. Flammable residues from kerosene, paint, lubricants, and other materials can give off fumes, raising the danger factor when it comes to sparks and other sources of ignition. Your company should invest in drum trucks made with spark resistant parts (Monel is one type of spark-resistant material used in some trucks) to reduce any potential fire hazard.

What is "half-full" capacity?

The "Half Full" Load Capacity

Did you know that a drum handler's load capacity drops considerably for a half-full drum? The carrying capacity can drop as much as three hundred pounds, depending on the load.a This is due to a constantly shifting load in the half-full container as it is tilted during certain kinds of drum transport operations. A full load is stable and consistent, where the half-full drum can easily go out-of-balance in the wrong conditions. Beware the half-full drum, make sure your workers know the carrying capacity for your drum handling equipment's half-full rating.

How Much Drum Handling Power Is Right For Me?

Drum Handling And Weight

In drum handling operations where weight is a critical issue, there is no better tool than a drum transporter with a built-in scale. Unfortunately, if you need heavy lifting capacity over 1000 pounds or a powered lift, the price tag can increase up to over two hundred percent on an original cost well under a thousand dollars. The good news; you may be able to get a free test with a few different models and options to learn what works best in your operation. When purchasing drum handling equipment, look for a vendor that offers a 30-day free trial. If you find that a non-powered lift works just as well, or if you discover you really don't need that 1500 pound lifting capacity, you will have saved yourself hundreds of dollars simply by taking advantage of the free trial period. The hassle of returning the gear is outweighed by buying the model that's a better fit for your operation, and possibly saving money in the process.

What is a counterbalanced drum transport?

Counterbalanced Drum Transport

One of the most important issues with any kind of heavy transport trucks, dollies, or drum handlers is balance. Every truck and dolly is labeled with a weight rating that must not be exceeded; going over the rated limit creates a tipping hazard. Counterbalanced drum transporters give extra protection against tipping, and allow you to locate drums in cabinets and other areas where manual transport isn't practical. Even with a counterbalance, workers should not exceed the rated load for the drum transporter. If you aren't sure how much weight capacity is needed on the shop floor or construction site, poll the workers directly involved in the operation to find out what the average daily load is expected to be. For maximum safety, purchase drum transporters which exceed these expectations.

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