Tag Archives: drum handling

Giving Thanks and Looking Forward to the New Year!

At Liftomatic, we’re already preparing for the New Year. However, it’s worth remembering that many year-end chores remain to be done.  We’re working on budgetary requirements for ordering new equipment before year end and also making sure that invoicing is done.  We’re quite familiar with our many great customers who also have these requirements and our goal is to see that your year to year transition is smooth and effective. In order to do this, we work with a variety of people, products, and businesses.

First, we work closely with our production and inventory managers to see that the right mix of products, PM kits, maintenance items, and capital equipment is available to service just about any last minute requirement that our customers may have.

We also staff accordingly during the last month of the year to ensure coverage for you- the customer, so that when you call, email, tweet, fax or contact us through Facebook messenger- we’re here and able to get you what you need. Our staff is here to answer any question or help with any issue that may arise during this hectic time of year.

Although we’re extremely focused on our customers and our work, we’re always in a giving spirit as well!  Sometimes, particular models are available in higher inventory levels and we’d like to shed a few pounds before the holiday feasts begin!  Ask us about special pricing and special offers on year-end close-outs or heavy stock items.  Our goal is to ensure customer satisfaction in every possible instance.

With the end of 2014, we’re pleased to say that our customers and everyone that we’ve worked with have allowed us to serve the drum handling market for 67 years.  As we enter our 68th, you have given us renewed energy to bring even better and more efficient customer service, even higher quality products and technology innovations that will keep your operations the most profitable and productive in your field.

Thanks for letting us be a part of your drum handling requirements.  We’ll continue to work hard to earn your trust and respect.

Happy & Safe Holidays to all.

-The Staff at Liftomatic

Productivity Demands in the Process & Blending Industries

Oil prices have been dropping more than 20 percent from the levels observed only a few months previously to this article’s writing. Consequently, gasoline prices have also been heading down and for many an average citizen it has been a nice bit of savings at the pump.

However, the big question for those in the business of processing is this: What do lower prices at the pump mean for companies such as Liftomatic, a premier custom manufacturer of material handling equipment for drum & barrel applications?

Deflationary pressures, especially in regards to oil prices, can have a serious impact on the economy on companies providing support to petroleum extraction and production companies. The essential reason for this is that when oil prices are up, extractors and producers have lots of capital for expansion and new projects requiring substantial infusions of capital. As prices drop, support firms can begin to feel the pinch on necessary product purchases that often have thin margins.

In this time of deflationary pressure, Liftomatic steps up and faces the conditions head on by assisting customers in taking advantage of product purchases while they can enjoy a more substantial return on their investments. As Liftomatic services and products can help meet the needs of those wishing to improve productivity and thereby also help with the bottom line, it makes perfect sense to act now and buy. Also, considering the additional measures of safety that Liftomatic’s equipment brings to the table now is the time to act during temporary pricing downturns.

Liftomatic stands steadfastly behind the motto that “quality will be remembered long after the price is forgotten.” Furthermore, our customers will not only pay less now but enjoy greater profits in the future due to increased efficiencies, safety, and overall quality of Liftomatic Drum & Barrel Handling Applications.

Start the cycle of savings immediately by giving us a call today to discuss your current situation and requirements and the benefits of doing business with one of the industry’s premier processing companies.

New Below-Hook Lifters

As a leading provider of safe, efficient, and high quality equipment for the handling of drums and barrels, we are always looking for innovative products to better serve our wide range of customers throughout the world. We are proud to be able to expand our line of drum handling equipment and offer the new model BHDL-3A-HD fully automatic and mechanical below-hook attachment. This new model offers an impressive range of features, such as the ability to lift 55 gallon drums from an overhead position while the drum remains in a complete vertical position when used with this new below-hook model. The BHDL-3A-HD is perfect for use in the energy, hazardous waste, and chemical industries; as well as those that wish to manage drums without manual contact.


BHDL-3A-HD Top View

Additional features of the BHDL-3A-HD below-hook attachment include the ability to conform to the entire (55-gallon) steel or plastic drum body and the underside of the drum chime using three radial arms, a 3-point connection assistance to secure the drum during any movement or lifting, and an industry first “intuitive lock” system that secures the radial arms until the load is placed in its final resting location. This industry first system can manage drums with a range of 21”-23” in outside chime diameter.

Incorporating the new BHDL-3A-HD into existing handling equipment is seamless because it can be attached to any overhead lifting hoist or used with our model FTB-3 forklift adapter, allowing the unit to be used from the underside of a set of forklift forks. If you’re interested in learning more about our new drum handling equipment, visit our website.

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.

Cost vs. Value: How to determine ROI in Materials Handling: Part 1

parrot-break-2We’re asked frequently why our Liftomatic “Parrot-Beak®” products cost what they do, or why they’re “so expensive”.  Our answer typically begins with “compared to what?”  The ensuing discussion usually explores cheaper products (in technology and manufacturing technique), the use of pallets, manual handling, and a litany of issues regarding material handling in general.

The primary way we answer this question is to say that if our customers are willing to take the time to talk to us to “truly” determine and investigate the issue of “cost”, we’ll show them how our products are not only inexpensive, but a true bargain.  The answer, you see, is more nuanced than simply reading the number on the price tag of a piece of equipment.  The true value lies not in the expenditure but what that expenditure returns: very simply, “ROI” or Return On Investment.  To study the ROI as it relates to Liftomatic drum handling products, a detailed analysis has to be undertaken to see what it costs you now to handle your drums, then compare it to what it costs using a Liftomatic product.

To determine proper ROI, we ask customers to consider the following things:

  1. The cost of their space (cubic utilization of space using Liftomatic is enhanced)
  2. The cost of operating lift trucks on a per-hour basis (we’re going to reduce it)
  3. The cost of labor (imagine loading 80 drums in 40 minutes instead of an hour!)
  4. The cost of pallets (we’re going to cut your pallet usage in half)
  5. The cost of damaged drums, labels and lost product (we can help here too)
  6. The cost of a single work-time injury or accident that can be prevented using proper equipment.

It is these (and many other) items that help with the development of a true ROI calculation when using Liftomatic products.  In the next issue we’ll describe more of the process and explain why we can back up the saying that “The quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten!”

Creative Uses for 55 Gallon Drums

In the material handling business, the intersection of industry is quite diverse.  If products, parts, components, or other raw materials are shipped from supplier to manufacturer, odds are, they’re shipped in a drum.  While much of our business comes out of the chemical/petrochemical world, there are many other industries we’ve worked with that utilize the 55 gallon drum; some contain precious metals (used by companies to produce mobile devices and other electronic), some packaged tomatoes bound for the red sauce you purchase at the grocery store, still others had drums filled with rivets used to safely fasten the hull of your aluminum bass boat and keep you high and dry while you entice the new world record largemouth!

In more than 65 years of manufacturing drum and barrel handling equipment, we thought we’d seen it all – until now.  During a recent brainstorming session, one of our staff members performed an internet search and began laughing out loud during our meeting.  When we asked what the joke was, she turned the screen to show us the results of a search for different uses of 55 gallon drums.  The results -we all agreed- were pretty funny, so much so that we couldn’t help but share them with you here!  Some of the best ones were:

You can buy 55 gallons of olive oil from a company online for US$ 1650.  Make sure to invite lots of friends and have a very large cook pot to work with

  • Instructions on how to build a 55-gallon smoker – home-smoked meats!
  • Compost, anyone?  Full instructions on making a 55-gallon portable composter out of a drum.
  • Have a bug problem?  You can order 55 gallons of a natural mosquito repellent.   (Probably help when you’ve got the big party over – see “olive oil” above)
  • Another “how-to”;  Burn barrels (where legal) are commonly made of 55-gallon steel drums
  • Grains storage is apparently also popular – buying and burying grains in bulk (Trade with olive oil if push comes to shove)

The creative uses for the most widely recognized shipping container just keep on coming – tweet @drumhandling to tell us yours! As we get more news you can use, we’ll be sure to keep you in the loop here on our blog, and on our social media channels.


Go Ahead…. Take it for a spin!

Liftomatic has long believed that the Parrot-Beak® drum handling products will truly and dramatically improve a customer’s drum-handling abilities. Our sales team has it easy, because we’re selling a product that works time and again, and we have the repeat business to back it up. However, that old saying “if it looks too good to be true, it probably isn’t” has a way of making people wary when the pitch seems to be so positive. Fortunately, there’s a great way to overcome these reservations: the industry-leading Liftomatic trial policy.

Separate from our rental program, which allows customers to rent products on a weekly basis for short term drum handling needs, the trial program is free. This is only possible because we believe in our products – and know that once your team has had a chance to work with Liftomatic equipment for ten days without the pressure of a sales team’s presence, it will fit so naturally, and improve the way you move drums to such a great extent that you’ll never want to give it back – though of course, that option is there.

It’s always a proud moment when a prospect who has opted to take advantage of the trial program ends up buying the unit they’ve received and becomes a customer– it affirms our belief in Liftomatic products, and the validity of our claims to provide marked improvement for your drum handling operations. We know it’s not every company that can truly see such measurable results from their business, and consider ourselves fortunate that we have the regular opportunity to hear how well the products work for your organization.

So to those skeptics who tend to ascribe to the “too good to be true” mentality, we say, “once you try it, we bet you’ll want to buy it!” Be sure to contact us today to talk about how Liftomatic can help your business, and stay tuned for our upcoming blog series where we’ll dig deeper into the specifics of the ROI you’ll get with Liftomatic!

Staying Safe with Liftomatic

Our business was built on the idea that there was a better and safer way to transport a drum than using a two-wheel box truck.  The fact that our business is still flourishing is a testament to the fact that we’ve maintained the company founders’ original attitudes of innovation and our commitment to providing ways for safer and more effective materials handling.

June is National Safety Month, and since Liftomatic was born out of a desire for safety, we thought we’d highlight our continued efforts toward its promotion here.  One of our mottos has long been “you can’t afford to drop a drum”.  Now, you might think that this idea refers to the value of the contents in the drum – this is true, but another reason this saying rings true is because of the safety concerns involved.  If an operator gets injured while trying to move a drum (or several), and is ill-equipped, that’s a cost that goes above monetary measure.  Likewise, if a drum contains any kind of hazardous material, the consequences of contamination are dangerous, expensive, and undesirable – but they are avoidable.  Another phrase we like to throw around here is “Safety is no accident” – being prepared to move your materials the right way to avoid the aforementioned problems is a kind of insurance you don’t want to go without.

At Liftomatic, we want to make sure you have a safe June, but also a safe year, and a safe future in the business of materials handling.  We’ll be here making sure you have what you need to move your drums and barrels safely and efficiently – make sure to give us a call, email, tweet, or something else to see which solutions might work best for your business.

Supersizing the Panama Canal: the Future of Materials Handling Is Here

Panama CanalPlanned by American engineers and built by Central American laborers at the start of the 20th Century, the 77.1 km Panama Canal ushered in a whole new era of opportunity for global trade. Suddenly, in one grand swoop, the world’s merchant marine didn’t need to round Cape Horn at the tip of South America in order to get from Atlantic to Pacific, and/or vice-versa. As a result, new ports and markets were accessible to the free market’s ups and downs in a way that was without precedent.

While the Panama Canal (and the Suez Canal in Egypt) continues to provide easy passage for a large percentage of the world’s mercantile fleet, a growing number of late 20th century and 21st century “super-tankers” are just too bulky to navigate through the canal’s locks safely. Of the 50,000-odd commercial shipping vessels operating today in the world, a minority are super-tankers. While these ships, nicknamed “Panamax” or “Post-Panamax” vessels, constitute a minority of the total number of merchant boats afloat, they also happen to carry a disproportionately large percentage of the world’s total cargo tonnage. Furthermore, these same super-tankers supply a whopping percentage of the world’s total supply of oil and fuel. Without super-tankers operating in the game, the world’s economy would come effectively to a halt.

Efforts currently are underway to upgrade the Panama Canal to meet the standards of today’s merchant marine. In a referendum approved by 76.8% of Panamanian voters, the Republic of Panama adopted a resolution that would expand the Canal’s width and depth at several crucial points, thereby allowing it to accommodate the 37% of the world’s shipping that would else wise no longer be able to navigate its full course.

Being that we at Liftomatic are in the business of supply drum handling and lifting equipment to some of the world’s foremost ports and companies, and being that so much of today’s total steel drum barrel traffic comes in the form of oil barrels, we can’t ignore these developments – if simply on the behalf of our client base. The world is changing. Yesterday’s feats of engineering are beginning to look like flyweights in comparison with the engineering of tomorrow. Everyone who wants a seat at the table in determining the course of maritime trade for the next century should be paying attention to Panama.