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People who don’t work with forklifts all the time often assume that there is only one type of forks that fit onto lift trucks. There are actually many different types of forks, most of which are interchangeable depending on how you plan to use your forklift.
Forklifts can different types of forks. Here are 11 forklift fork types:
Standard ITA Forks — These are the types of forks most often found on standard forklifts. But even standard forks come in different lengths, widths, depths, and capacities. It’s important to know your vehicle’s capacity before installing new standard ITA forks onto your mast.
Folding Forks — These forks are hinged so they can fold up to allow the vehicle to maneuver in tight spaces, such as elevators.
Carpet Poles — Single extended poles that are used to lift heavy carpet rolls.
Fork Extensions — Fit onto to standard forks to extend their length for handling longer loads.
Shaft Forks — These are used to suit all pin type carriages.
Lumber and Plywood Forks — Feature a forged heel, square heel, single taper or double taper.
Tire and Barrel Forks — Feature semi-circular cutouts mid-fork to accommodate the lifting of barrels, drums, and tires.
Coil Handling Forks — Feature a contoured blade to lift handle coils. Warning: The capacity may be reduced depending on the size of the contour.
Block Forks — Specially designed to accommodate the safe handling of bricks and construction blocks.
Spark Retardant Forks — Made from non-sparking materials for use in hazardous locations and atmospheres, such as those with combustible gasses of materials.
Non-Current Forks — Forks to fit older vehicles that don’t use standard ITA forks.
Pin vs Hook Type Forks
Even standard forklift forks can be separated into two categories: Pin type forks and hook type forks.
Pin type forks fit onto the forklift carriage by use of a pin or shaft, which locks the fork onto the carriage of the forklift. Some pin type forks are telescopic, meaning they can be extended to various lengths and locked into place using the pin.
Hook type forks bend over then lock onto the fork’s carriage bar. Both hooks must slip into the end of the carriage bar in order to make a proper fit.
There also are various types of forklift blades. For example, there are tapered blades and blunt ended blades. , which offer different levels of protection against puncture of loads from the piercing ends of the forks.
Standard forks are tapered, which accommodates the lead end of the fork more efficiently fitting into the pallet slots. Blunt ended forks are used to provide a higher level of protection against puncture of loads from the piercing ends of the forks, such as when lifting drums or breakable plastic bins.
Some forks are made of specialized materials. For example, stainless steel forks are often used when handling food or chemicals to provide additional protection against cross-contamination.