Selecting a Fork Mounted Drum Lifter

Selecting a Fork Mounted Drum Lifter

Fork Mounted Drum Lifters

The safe lifting of 55 gallon (205 litre) drums using a fork lift truck is usually carried by one of a number of attachment types.

Drum Clamp Attachment

The fork truck drum clamp or belly grab has traditionally been used with steel drums and some plastic designs.  However, very lightweight, disposable drums have recently been introduced which at first look appear to be the same as traditional drums but don't have the same resistance to crushing.  In view of this, extreme care needs to be taken when using a drum clamp as the lighter weight drums can easily be dropped.

Rim Grip Drum Attachment

The fork mounted rim grip or taper attachment is designed for more intensive applications and uses a hardened steel ‘beak’ to grip, as the name suggests, the rim of the drum.

Operation is simple – drive the forks into the fork sleeves of the drum attachment, secure it to the forks by screwing down a couple ‘T’ bolts and it’s ready to go.  Drive the fork lift forward and allow the ‘beak’ to automatically grip the rim of the drum and lift.  Simply reverse the procedure to put it down.

Scissor Grips & Drum Tongs

Predominantly used with an overhead hoist, scissor grips and drum tongs may also be used in conjunction with a fork mounted hook. They allow the drum to hang down below the attachment in either the vertical or horizontal plane. 

There are many variations but their main use with a fork lift truck is where the drum needs to be lowered over a wall or other obstruction, typically into a bunded area.

Base Gripping Models

These forklift mounted attachments work by opening as they are pushed against the drum but lock closed as downward pressure is exerted as the drum is lifted.  They grip the base of the drum.  Generally they are supplied where other types cannot be used due to the drum design.

Fork Mounted Drum Tines

Where drums are stored horizontally in racking there may be a temptation to use the forks on the lift truck for lifting drums into position.  However, forks are designed to accept vertical pressure whilst the drum will also exert lateral force.  The forks of most trucks hang from the carriage and therefore have a relatively loose fit which could allow the forks to splay and drop the drum.

Fork mounted drum tines are welded into position on the end of the fork sleeves allowing the drum to be held securely and safely. Simply drive the forks into the fork sleeves of the drum tines, secure it to the forks by screwing down a couple ‘T’ bolts and it’s ready to go. 


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