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Selecting a Fork Mounted Drum Rotator

Fork Mounted Drum Rotators

At first glance it can be difficult to understand why there is such a vast range of prices for what appears to be a simple mechanical fork truck attachment.  However, as this article hopefully demonstrates, there are good reasons for the price difference and unsurprisingly, the cheapest fork mounted rotator is not always the best option.

Controlled decanting of the drums contents is achieved by turning the drum via a gearbox mounted on the frame of the rotator with either a handle or if working at height, a chain.  This is a critical part of the unit as it will typically be turning in the region of 250 kg or a quarter of a ton!

Most units rotate the drum forwards and so it's important to check the distance between the forks when they're fully open.  A minimum of 705 mm is usually needed between the forks to ensure that there's sufficient space for the attachment and the drum but check with your supplier before ordering. If this is a problem, side tipping units are available or a crane mounted unit may prove to be may be a better option.

If the fastening which attaches the drum to the rotator is exactly half way up the contents of the drum (not necessarily half way up the drum) when it is picked up, then it will be turning on its centre of gravity (c of g) which will require minimal effort and place only a small strain on the gearbox.  In reality it is more likely that the centre of gravity will be slightly above or below the fastening which will exert far greater pressure on the gearbox so the quality of the gearbox is paramount for reliable service.

Fastening the drum to the attachment can be achieved by using:

  1. Chain.  Low cost but unlikely to effectively hold either steel or plastic drums securely.  We don’t sell or recommend this system.

  2. Ratchet strap.  Ideal for steel drums as it not only grips the drum securely, the rolling rings of the drum stop it travelling far should the drum start to slip eg if liquid is present on the outside of the drum.  This is the best solution if damaged drums are regularly handled.  Safe with plastic drums if used with a rim adaptor to prevent slippage.

  3. Steel band.  Ideal for intensive applications as it is less prone to wear than a ratchet strap, it usually has an over centre clasp to secure it.  Safe with plastic drums if used with a rim adaptor to prevent slippage.

Finally, the chassis of the drum rotator must be robust and have a safe method of fixing it to the fork truck e.g. ‘T’ bolts to screw it on the forks or pins to slide behind the heels of the forks.

Normally available ex stock for handling standard 205 litre (55 gallon) drums bespoke models are available for other drum sizes and designs.

 

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