Drum tipper for the explosion-protection area

Proplan scores points with customer-specific solutions

?The demand for customer-specific solutions is increasing. This trend also applies to industrial trucks with explosion protection, confirmed Managing Director of Proplan Transport- und Lagersysteme GmbH (Proplan), a subsidiary of Linde Material Handling (MH), at a press event in Aschaffenburg at the beginning of November. He cited the “drum tipper” as an example — a truck that has been developed with two different models for the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, and which can be used to grip and tip open or closed drums weighing up to 300 kg.

The basis for both special solutions for explosion-protection areas was a Linde high-lift truck with a shortened wheel base. The truck can be combined with a variety of attachments to allow it to grip and tip drums. In such cases, the truck and attachment are supplied as a coordinated unit.

Thanks to the drum tipper with explosion protection—a customer-specific solution—open drums can be gripped and specific amounts can be filled or metered on a scale. The handling characteristics make it easier to manoeuvre via remote control, which is performed using both hands for safety reasons.

The developers designed an initial version of the truck with combined gripping and tipping attachments for a chemical company for use in explosion-protection zone 1. Its task was to pick up, transport and tilt closed drums—with a bung opening and a diameter of between 300 and 600 millimetres—at an angle of anywhere between 0 and 180 degrees in order to pour the drum’s content into a machine. The truck is moved by the operator via the long, deep-mounted tiller, which ensures that the operator is always kept a long distance away from the truck. Additionally, the tiller is designed to protect the operator’s hands from injury, and can be operated with either the left or right hand. All hydraulic functions of the attachment—such as grabbing, lifting or turning—are controlled via a sensitive, easily reachable hand lever mounted on the battery cover with pressure-tight protection. Using this hand lever, even drums that have not been placed square on the pallet can be safely picked up. To avoid incorrect operation of the truck, two-handed operation is required for all safety-relevant functions. The short design—measuring less than 900 millimetres to the fork back (dimension l2)—also ensures good manoeuvrability. Two large load wheels provide ground clearance and allow the truck to be driven over thresholds and on uneven floors. Depending on the position of the tiller, the “SafetySpeed” function automatically adjusts the driving speed.

A second model of the drum tipper with explosion protection was developed for a customer in the pharmaceutical industry. The intended application was to use the truck to grip open drums in explosion zone 2 and to subsequently fill or meter specific amounts on a scale. Additionally, the operator had to be able to monitor the filling process. However, the 100-millimetre-longer truck—which also has a load capacity of 300 kg—does not have a hand lever to control the hydraulics. Instead, it is equipped with a remote control featuring a two-stage push button. For safety reasons, the remote control is also designed to be used with two hands.