# Tilting a 55 Gal Plastic Drum: Calculating Force Needed

• WilliamHerron
In summary, a pneumatic tilting mechanism is more difficult to use than a manual tilting mechanism. You need to build a frame that will cradle the drum, and use heavy casters to help push the mechanism.
WilliamHerron
TL;DR Summary
I'm trying to tilt a 450 pound plastic drum to a 20 degree angle using a pneumatic cylinder. Need to determine what size and how many to use.
I have been tasked with tilting a plastic 55 gallon drum that contains lube to an angle of about 20 degrees.

I would like to use pneumatic cylinders as air is readily available here.

The plastic barrel has a 23.5 inch diameter and is 35 inches tall.

The barrel and contents weighs 450 pounds.

What force is required to tilt the drum?

Thanks,

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Welcome to PF.
Is the lube a liquid that will remain level as the drum is tilted ?
Is the drum full ?
What centre will the drum tilt about ?
20° relative to what starting position ?

I believe the lube is quite thick/viscous.

Perhaps the consistency of a molasses.
(I'm making assumptions, I do not have any applicable data)

The drum is full.
(Filled perhaps a few inches from the top)

Center?
I was wanting the tilt cylinder to be in contact near the top of the drum... on the side... at say the "6 o'clock" position... and the barrel would tilt over onto the bottom edge of drum located at the "12 o'clock" position.
(if viewing the drum from overhead)

The drums are standing upright.

This is a straightforward torque equality (or rather, sum to zero). The barrel is full and has a center of gravity in the middle. Maximum torque is when it just starts to tilt. Torque is just force times moment arm length:

F1L1 + F2L2 = 0

dlgoff
WilliamHerron said:
I have been tasked with tilting a plastic 55 gallon drum that contains lube to an angle of about 20 degrees.
Can the barrel sit in a cradle mechanism? If so, you can decrease the tilting force required by making the barrel rotate about an axis that is closer to its midpoint vertically, instead of down on the ground. If you reduce the force enough and have an appropriate handle with good leverage, perhaps you don't need the extra complication of the pneumatic cylinder...

https://www.stewarthandling.com/mobile-drum-handlers/drum-palletizers#1

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russ_watters and WilliamHerron
I recommend an articulated frame.
Is the wall of the drum strong enough to receive the pushing force of the cylinder?
How does both remain centered respect to each other? (the drum can roll some, slip, and go back to the original position).

russ_watters
Here is the answer to your question: about 150 lbs from the pneumatics will tilt the full barrel.
But as others have said that is probably not a good design. You need to optimise.

russ_watters and WilliamHerron
Lnewqban said:
I recommend an articulated frame.
Is the wall of the drum strong enough to receive the pushing force of the cylinder?
How does both remain centered respect to each other? (the drum can roll some, slip, and go back to the original position).
I was planning on using a 3/8" metal plate a couple inches across and 10-12 inches tall (with rubber or UHMW plastic layer) to distribute the force.

As far as the barrel rolling, spinning, etc I was going to build a frame on casters that would cradle the drum on 3 sides.. (still trying to figure out exactly how)

berkeman said:
Can the barrel sit in a cradle mechanism? If so, you can decrease the tilting force required by making the barrel rotate about an axis that is closer to its midpoint vertcally, instead of down on the ground. If you reduce the force enough and have an appropriate handle with good leverage, perhaps you don't need the extra complication of the pneumatic cylinder...

View attachment 314176
https://www.stewarthandling.com/mobile-drum-handlers/drum-palletizers#1

I am hoping to build a 3 sides frame on heavy casters that could be pushed up to and around the drum.The 4th side would be a movable/removable gate.. that container a safety switch

If gate is not in position, cylinder would not be allowed to engage.

russ_watters
WilliamHerron said:
I am hoping to build a 3 sides frame on heavy casters that could be pushed up to and around the drum.
If you search eBay for 'drum trolley', you will see 50 different ways of handling 200 litre drums. The ease of tilting to any particular angle will be dependent on the position of the two trolley wheels, or the steel rocker frame, and the length of the handles.

The greatest force needed to tilt a standing drum is at the very beginning of the tilt. Because compressed air expands, the problem with a pneumatic tilting mechanism is that it must have a fixed stop, something that can prevent the drum passing the balance point, falling, and then rolling away. It is much more difficult to stand a rolling drum than to tilt a standing drum.

Tom.G

## What is the formula for calculating the force needed to tilt a 55 gallon plastic drum?

The formula for calculating the force needed to tilt a 55 gallon plastic drum is F = m x a, where F is the force in Newtons, m is the mass of the drum in kilograms, and a is the acceleration in meters per second squared.

## What factors affect the force needed to tilt a 55 gallon plastic drum?

The force needed to tilt a 55 gallon plastic drum is affected by the weight of the drum, the angle at which it is tilted, and the coefficient of friction between the drum and the surface it is resting on.

## How can I determine the weight of a 55 gallon plastic drum?

The weight of a 55 gallon plastic drum can vary depending on the material it is made of, but on average it weighs around 20-30 pounds when empty. To determine the weight of a specific drum, you can use a scale or consult the manufacturer's specifications.

## What is the optimal angle for tilting a 55 gallon plastic drum?

The optimal angle for tilting a 55 gallon plastic drum is dependent on the specific situation and the material inside the drum. In general, a lower angle (closer to the ground) will require less force, while a higher angle (closer to vertical) will require more force.

## How can I reduce the force needed to tilt a 55 gallon plastic drum?

To reduce the force needed to tilt a 55 gallon plastic drum, you can try using a ramp or leverage to decrease the angle at which the drum is being tilted. Additionally, reducing the weight of the drum or using a surface with a lower coefficient of friction can also help decrease the force needed.