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Take a walk around your dock or warehouse. Don’t look at the inventory or even your employees. Instead, look at the walls. Look at the shelving support beams. What do you see?
If you notice a lot of dings and dents — or even holes in walls that are the distinctive shape of a fork end — you may be using forks on your lift trucks that are too long.
Causes of Fork Damage
Pallets typically come in standard sizes. So when your operators pick up a loaded pallet with their forklifts, the forks should be long enough to fully support and stabilize the load so that it can be safely transported where it needs to go.
If the ends of the forks extend past the outside edge of the pallet, they can create a problematic, and even dangerous, situation. Overly long forks are like an accident waiting to happen.
In fact, they most likely are what are causing the holes, dings, dents, and other damage you noticed during your tour of your operation.
On most modern lift trucks, the forks are fully replaceable. The entire assembly usually can be detached from the mast and replaced with a fork assembly with different sized forks.
When you replace forks that are too long with those that are the proper size, operators can still maintain stability and lift ability but without the risk of causing or damage or injury due to the ends of the forks sticking out of the far side of the pallets they are transporting.
Extendable Forks Forklift Attachments
Another option is forks that can be extended or retracted by operators at a touch of a lever and without getting out of the forklift’s cab. Hydraulic extendable forklift forks let drivers create different length forks depending on the job at hand.
For standard pallets, the forks can be set to a standard length. But when something larger or longer needs to be lifted and moved the operator can simply extend the length of the forks to the desired size, perform the task, then retract the forks back to their original length.
Other Uses of Extendable Forks
Extendable forks offer more versatility than standard forks. For example, they can be used to convert standard forklifts into single or double-deep reach trucks, improving space utilization and storage density.
These convenient forklift attachments also can be used for loading and unloading trailers or rail cars from one side. This can save time, fuel, and labor costs while improving productivity.
Having the proper sized forks on your lift trucks can make your business safer, more efficient, and more profitable.