How St Clare Engineering ensures high quality for every product

We are proud that every piece of Grab-O-Matic drum handling equipment from St Clare Engineering is built and tested by a trained expert.

From drum handling forklift truck attachments to pedestrian lifting equipment, special modifications to bespoke equipment, members of our team take responsibility for ensuring that every product is properly built and tested. In this blog we’ll take a look at how a drum handler is built at our manufacturing site in Hampshire, UK.

Introducing Bailey Mead, Specialist Lifting Equipment Engineer

Bailey is a key member of our team. He joined St Clare Engineering as an apprentice, and has worked his way through to gain the qualifications and experience needed to work in this family business, where our small team are hand-picked for their understanding, expertise and attention to detail.

“It’s a great place to work,” says Bailey. “I build any piece of drum handling equipment from scratch, taking it right through every step: from raw materials to testing, including packaging for delivery to our customers. That personal control over every aspect of fabrication gives our customers confidence that St Clare Engineering products are the best!”

Starting from raw materials

Grab-O-Matic drum handling forklift truck attachments start out as mild or stainless steel, delivered in a range of shapes and sizes – Bailey is also responsible for stocktaking to ensure everything is to hand.

The metal must first be cut down to size, then is drilled or ‘prepped’. At this stage edges may be rounded or sanded to remove sharp burrs, and cuts or holes made ready for fabrication.

Fabrication of drum handling attachments

Like a seamstress trying out the pattern for a dress, Bailey will then ‘tack’ the drum handling product together using small tack welds. At this stage the product can be checked to ensure that everything fits together and will work perfectly.

Managing Director Andy Bow is always on hand to oversee the manufacture of his equipment and will often pop over to share tips and discuss processes with Bailey, especially if they are working on modifications or bespoke lifting equipment.

Bailey then welds the product together to produce a high quality, strong piece of drum handling equipment that will last for many years.


Welding creates a ‘spatter’ on the surface of the product, as though hailstones have fallen. So, Bailey first cleans up the metal and then puts the equipment through testing.

“We always test products to ensure they meet (and usually exceed) specifications,” says Bailey. “For drum grabbing equipment we select the precise style, shape and weight of the customer’s drum and carry out rigorous testing.”

Tests for the gripping heads will involve a pull-test which confirms that they can grip and pull to an appropriate level of torque, achieving upwards of 1500kg.

Customers may demand further tests, too. For example, where drum handling equipment is designated for use with nuclear waste, we outsource non-destructive iron filing and die-penetration tests to a specialist company. We do whatever is needed to ensure that our drum handling equipment will be fit for purpose, whatever the end use.

Painting and coating

Grab-O-Matic drum lifting equipment is treated with a protective powder coating to inhibit rust and ensure long life. Once reassembled after powder coating, Bailey will ensure that it is re-tested and working perfectly prior to packing and despatch.


All Grab-O-Matic drum handlers are manufactured to ISO 9001:2015. They are issued with Test Certificates to verify the capacity, the appropriate UKCA or CE Certificate of Conformity and operating instructions.

Packing and delivery

Only when Bailey and the team are satisfied that the drum handling equipment meets all their quality and capability standards do they package the items for safe shipment to customers across the world.

Satisfied customers

Bailey personifies St Clare Engineering’s approach to high quality, British-made drum handling products with a focus on quality, and rigorous testing and inspection procedures. He has become an expert in what he does, and enjoys making sure that every piece of equipment he works on is built to last.

“Like everyone who works at St Clare Engineering, I use my skills and experience to deliver high quality, durable drum handling equipment. Every day is different, and I love my job!”

If you’d like to find out more about how we build the best drum handling forklift truck attachments at our premises in Hampshire, UK, please contact us using the details below:

Andy Bow – St Clare Engineering Ltd
Tel: 02380 643402
Fax: 02380 642189