Two different types of hoist are referred to as drum hoists; one is designed to lift drums and barrels, and the other uses a drum to wind and pay out lifting rope, cable, or chain. Both designs are available from a variety of manufacturers. It is possible to order customized products for special applications, usually for an increased fee to reflect the extra work necessary to construct and deliver the hoist. Rental may also be an option in some settings.
The first type of drum hoist typically operates as an attachment for a crane or other hoisting device. It uses two or three arms to grip drums in an upright position. This allows the operator to move drums around a facility. The device may be usable with both open and closed drums, depending on the design. Warehouses and loading docks at facilities that commonly package materials in drums, like chemical plants, often have a drum hoist installed to allow them to move products.
In the second case, the drum hoist rotates to wind and unwind cable to raise and lower objects. A double drum hoist design is common, with two drums operating simultaneously. This style of hoist is widely used in the mining industry, where technicians position the hoist over shafts to move equipment, personnel, and raw materials. The drum hoist is very stable and highly reliable, with an extremely low failure rate. This can make it appealing for mining companies that do not want complex and failure-prone machinery.
The size of the drum can vary to allow a mining company to select the most appropriate drum hoist for their needs, taking needs like available space and work environment into account. The controls typically permit the operator to adjust rotation speed and engage in some other simple tasks to control the raising and lowering capacity. It is important to use lifting chains appropriate for the application. Rope, chain, and cable should all have capacity ratings that indicate the maximum weight they can bear, and these numbers must be respected in the operation of a hoist for safety.
If a company needs a drum hoist of either type for temporary use, it may consider equipment rental. Rentals may be available through some manufacturers as well as contracting firms. These firms may also provide an operator familiar with the hoist an advantage on a job site where personnel may not be comfortable operating the hoist on their own. Rental fees can vary and tend to be higher when an operator is included.