Forklift Attachments


Forklift clamp (Courtesy: HoistQuip, Inc.)

Forklift clamp
(Courtesy: HoistQuip, Inc.)

Warehouse managers are probably aware of the different forklift attachments that are available in the market today. However, many might think that an attachment is designed to handle a specific task or single object. Actually, forklift attachments can help with almost any job and can help operators finish a variety of tasks faster, safer, and with a lot less difficulties.

However, forklift operators need to be aware that an attachment can change the balance of the lift and make it necessary for drivers to be trained on its use.

The use of attachments can provide a plethora of benefits including the reduction of the amount of time it takes to complete a task, less man power and employee hours operating the lift, reduce number of employees necessary for achieving an assignment, lower fuel consumption, and less chance of damaging stock.

Safety Issues

As previously mentioned, the addition of an attachment on to a forklift can present a number of safety problems, but none that cannot be easily overcome.

The forklift operator needs to understand that he will have to operate the lift a little

Fork Extension (Courtesy: PalHire)

Fork Extension
(Courtesy: PalHire)

differently if it has an attachment. That is because an attachment reduces the load capacity of a lift and also changes its center of gravity. Therefore, it is less stable than it would have been without the attachment. The reason for the threat to stability is because weight is being added to the front of the machine. This changes the pivot point of the lift even before you pick up a load. Experts suggest that operators drive a lift with an attachment as if it is partially loaded whether or not you have picked up a load. Operators are also cautioned to drive and make turns slowly and gently.

The data plate of the lift should include a list of attachments and how they affect the lift’s capacity. Forklift drivers should also be trained in the proper fitting, operations and removal of the attachment.

Experts suggest that you check to assure that the attachment fits the lift properly and that it is suitable for the type of load the lift carries, that it is properly attached, and that the data plate of the lift permits the use of the attachment.

In short, the forklift operator should always know what the forklift could do or not do with an attachment added to it.

Choosing Attachments

There are a number of attachments available with each having hundreds of different configurations and designs. Some of the most common are:

Side shifters

This attachment usually comes with the forklift as standard. The side shifter permits you to adjust and move the forks from side to side. This assists in aligning the forks with pallets without the need of maneuvering the lift. Other benefits include:

· Providing adequate fork positioning without maneuvering the lift.
· Reducing fuel use and truck wear.
· Providing faster loading and unloading of pallets.
· Minimizing damage of the pallet.

Fork Positioners

This attachment permits forklift tines to be hydraulically moved closer or further away from each other. This permits faster and more efficient handling of different size pallets and odd size objects. Other benefits include:

· Permitting proper fork positioning.
· Prevents the need for operators to manually adjust fork positioning.
· Minimizing the use of fuel and lift wear.
· Minimizing pallet damage.
· Improving load-handling times.

Carton Clamp

This attachment handles large rectangular and square-shaped objects that don’t require a pallet. It is commonly used in beverage, appliance and electronics applications as well as handling fragile goods when using automatic pressure and sensing systems. Other benefits include:

· No need for the use of pallets when handling rectangular and square objects.
· Elimination of the need for pallets.
· Minimizing weight resulting in lower shipping costs.
· Better handling of rectangular and square objects.
· Minimizing handling time of white goods, electronics, and boxes.

Single-Double Pallet Handler

This attachment allows the transportation of a single pallet or two pallets side by side. It is commonly used by high turnover production warehouses and shipping industries. Benefits include:

· Doubling the handling capacity of pallets
· The reduction of loading and unloading time.
· Minimizing forklift maneuvering to load or unload.
· Reduction of fuel use and lift wear.

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