FAQs Forklift Boom attachments

Forklift boom attachments transform a common lift truck into a mobile crane. (Courtesy: Monica Zou at flickr.com)

Forklift boom attachments transform a common lift truck into a mobile crane.
(Courtesy: Monica Zou at flickr.com)

There are a plethora of accessory attachments that can be used to expand the capability of a forklift. One of the most important is the forklift boom. The boom transforms a common lift truck into a mobile crane. The boom offers a great deal of flexibility because it can rotate and swivel. So it offers the forklift operator many more motion alternatives to help him lift, move and set down heavy items.

What follows are some frequently asked questions concerning mobile booms. It is hoped that the answers will enlighten you as to the practicality of this accessory.

Q: What is a forklift boom attachment?
A: A boom attachment is designed to attach to a forklift and give the forklift the ability to lift, move and lay down heavy items.

Q: Do boom attachments come in one length and specifications?
A: No. There are a number of different sizes and specifications available. Size and specifications are chosen based on the load of what is to be lifted and transported. The average length of a boom is about 12 feet. The boom is capable of lifting a weight of about 3,000 pounds.

Q: Are the booms available only in one style?
A: No. There are actually four styles of booms. Each is used for different applications. The four styles are the coil poles, carpet poles, telehandler or shooting forklift boom, Each is attached to the carriage of the forklift. There are two other boom styles each of which attach to the forks of the lift truck. These booms permit an easier transition from handling pallets to dealing with coiled or rolled items. These booms also offer a better line of sight for the forklift operator.

Coil poles are designed to lift and move rolled coils and other rolled materials including reels of wire or concrete poles as well as rolled or cylinder items.

Carpet poles are a heavy-duty accessory made of EN24T metal. They are designed to lift and move rolled up carpet as well as other types of rolled floor coverings and cylinder items. They don’t have the capability to lift very heavy items like coil poles or concrete pipes.

Telehandlers or shooting forklift booms are also referred to as telescopic booms and are ideal for use on rough terrain. It has the capability of lifting an item between 20 and 40-feet. These booms are commonly used on construction sites or by companies involved in the agricultural trade.

Q: Can booms be used to lift and move any heavy item?
A: It is discouraged to use a boom to lift and move a pipe because it can cause extreme damage to the pipe’s interior. It is encouraged that a lifting sling be used to lift and move the pipe instead. However, under many circumstances, a lifting sling may not be available. In this case, a boom can be used to lift and move steel pipes and cylinder-shaped pipes. However, the lift truck operator should perform the task carefully to guarantee that the pipe’s interior is not damaged.

Q: Does a forklift operator have to be trained to use a boom?
A: Yes. He needs to be trained in the proper use of the lift to assure that the boom will be utilized safely. The training is meant to keep the forklift operator and any other people who are working within the same area safe from injury. Several boom manufacturers offer training courses on the use of various types of booms and some actually train workers directly on-site.

Q: Besides lifting and moving heavy items, what other benefits are there for using a boom attachment?
A: Booms can be used to accomplish the same task as a crane, but cost less. The boom also allows the forklift driver to reach over things to lift a heavy item; it can be used to place a heavy item on high platforms, decks and rooftops; and it can be maneuvered to reach through entrance ways and windows so it can place heavy items on the second or third floor of a building. It also permits a forklift to assist in the unloading of flatbed trucks and trailers.

About Robert J