Tag Archives: 55 gallon

A Brief History of Drum Handling

fibre drums

Fiber Drums

Our readers may be aware of the many different types of 30, 55 and even 85  gallon drums that are available, and their different uses.  There is your classic  steel drum, plastic drums, fiber drums, drums with liners, drums of all different gauges of metal.  What our readers may not be aware of is the reasoning for all of these different types of drums, and how their development came to be.

Before modern drum handling techniques (like the ones Liftomatic has pioneered), the main way to get a drum off of a truck was to roll it down a ramp or even worse- right off the back of a truck or wagon- onto a pile of old tires!  This meant that the drums had to be constructed out of 14-16 gauge steel, to be able to withstand constant rolling wear and abuse of all sorts.  With the advent of top-chime handling, drum manufacturers realized that they could get away with using a lighter 18-20 gauge, as the drum was no longer being subjected to the rolling wear, and did not need to be quite so robust in the main body of the drum.

One other interesting bit of history is the proliferation of the fiber drum.  In the food industry, options were limited because steel drums had a tendency to rust – fine for transporting many things, but not things that people want to eat.  The replacement that stuck was fiber drums – they were lighter, more disposable, and, most importantly, didn’t contaminate the food product being shipped.  They could be fitted with liners for liquids, they were lighter for transportation at reduced cost and held other benefits for the users as well.  The problem with fiber drums is that most top-handling techniques would rip the drums, as they were intended for use with steel drums.  Liftomatic was instrumental in the development of handling techniques for these kinds of drums – we added another clamping beak to our signature Parrot Beak product, to spread out the pressures over a 6-8 inch surface rather than a single point.  This double clamping mechanism (models DCM and DCMJ)  proved quite effective, as it enables warehouses to move multiple types of drums, including fiber and plastic, without changing equipment.

Whether you’re shipping 55 gallons worth of garlic or industrial chemicals, tomatoes or hazardous waste, Liftomatic has solutions that will work with whatever types of drums you use.   Maybe you’re about to change the game in material handling by introducing a new drum material – we’ll be there with a handling solution.  Give us a call, or stop by our social media pages and say hello – we’d love to connect with you.