Whilst a 200-liter tight-head steel barrel drum is ideal for containing chemicals and other liquids, it poses more than one headache when it comes to moving and transporting it around the warehouse, on the road, and in the air. A simple and effective Dutch stabilizing innovation weighing in at just 100g a piece has recently hit the market, enabling huge cost and weight reductions in transportation. CFG interviewed Wouter Geldhof, the owner of Geba Innovations, to hear more about the Drumclip.
When faced with a problem, you have two possibilities – suffer and continue, or think and come up with a solution. Andre van Goch, a forklift driver in a Rotterdam chemicals company, confronted with the daily problem of shifting large, unstable drums on pallets, did just that. After developing a 90°-angled steel clip prototype which could be placed on the rim of two drums, securing them together and stabilizing them on the pallet, he approached his good friend and aeronautical engineer, Wouter Geldhof, for help in fine-tuning the idea. Since Wouter runs the family-owned injection molding company, Gebaplast, the logical next step was to transform that prototype into a plastic version. Just three days later, the first 3D printed sample was ready. That was back in the summer of 2017.
Vorsprung durch… German certification
The ingredients for a successful product launch are an excellent idea, funding to allow for several design versions, and a number of tests and trials ideally leading to a patent to secure the intellectual property rights and a quality stamp in the form of recognized certification. A third friend, military defense and air force IT specialist, Fekke Bakker, soon joined the project both as an investor and a key player in sorting out the patent rights for the initial basic Drumclip at the end of 2017.The next step was applying for the rigorous German TÜV Rheinland certification for cargo transportation on the road, which was accorded on 18MAR19 after over 1000 hours of chemicals and weathering testing (amongst other things).
"Our clip is unique and, used in combination with Signode® lashing straps, is the only DIN EN-12195-1 certified cargo securing equipment solution of its kind allowing the transport of drums on road feeder services. We had our product tested by the German institute TÜV Rheinland and are now officially certified," Wouter explains.
There are two ways to palletize drums – one involves plastic wrap, where a single Drumclip can be used to hold the wrap in place, the other is using straps and a top pallet. It is this latter method whereby the top pallet is replaced by 2 Drumclips used in conjunction with 2 straps (1 horizontally, 1 vertically), which has been certified as DIN EN-12195-1 and ISTA 3 E. Given that different straps behave differently with the Drumclips, Geba Innovations decided to work with Signode® straps to ensure consistency during the tests.
22kgs versus 200g – that’s a weight reduction of 99% per pallet!
Weight reduction is an excellent USP when it comes to transporting goods, since less weight means not only less overall transport weight, but also less fuel consumption and less CO2 emissions. If you calculate a standard pallet containing four drums previously requiring a top pallet weighing around 22 kgs in order to stabilize the barrels, and now only needing 2 Drumclips at 100g each, then that is a saving of 21.8kgs per pallet. Multiply that by an entire truck load, and you are talking about a weight reduction of around 450kg. Multiply those 450kg by the number of trucks per year, and the savings are immense. These cost reductions are reflected in other processes, too: for example, less damage to the straps (less wear and tear since the plastic join is kinder on the strap than rough wood), means having to order less straps. In addition, a reduced need for pallets (in the past, double pallet usage per truck, now the upper pallet is replaced by 2 clips). Using the Drumclips also leads to faster handling processes (it is easier to strap, load and unload a pallet stabilized by light-weight clips instead of a heavy pallet), thus greater overall resource efficiency.
Airline testing in progress
The Drumclip’s official debut was the Hardenberg Transport Compleet trade fair in April 2019, which generated sample order and interest from around the world, and from different customer segments – among them, chemical companies, resellers, trucking companies and a large, international airline based in North America. That airline is currently testing the clips in its transportation processes. The CO2 emission and weight saving potentials would be a huge boost to air cargo, if certification for air transportation is also achieved.
CFG enquired as to the sustainability aspects of the Drumclip. Wouter, who also runs an injection molding company and works together with others on innovative bio solutions such as, for example, using coffee grounds as a material compound for molding cups, explained “given the gravitational force on the Drumclip, it needs to be of a strength not yet achievable with recycled plastic.” The lifespan of such a clip is 2 years. Circular economy solutions are in consideration, along with continued development of the clip make-up.
The clip is locally produced by Geba Innovations in the Netherlands, and a box containing up to 2,000 pieces on a single pallet weighs just 250kgs, so transportation costs are not high.
More to come…
The three friends set up Invago in early 2019 in order to market the Drumclip and similar solutions produced and further developed by Geba Innovations. “We are working on a similar project for the smaller green barrels, too,” Wouter Geldhof tells CFG. “Certification should be ready in a few months.” The use of plastic drums is on the increase and they pose new challenges when it comes to loading and securing, since plastic can deform under pressure, and become slippery when wet. Currently, there are two different clips on offer and in development – a red one for tight head drums, and a green one for open head or plastic drums.
If you are interested in trying the Drumclip or learning more about it, Wouter Geldhof can be contacted via the soon to be overhauled www.Drumclip.nl website, which also provides Drumclip usage manuals in different languages.
We always welcome your comments to our articles. However, we can only publish them when the sender name is authentic.