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There are two basic type of fork extensions: Standard and quick disconnect.
Standard Fork Extensions
Standard fork extensions are three sided and are fitted by hand onto the top of the existing forks and simply attach to the back of the forks via a cross bar.
Quick disconnect forklift extensions are fully enclosed to ensure no movement during use and typically are secured to the vehicle’s existing fork with a heavy duty heel pin. Quick disconnect forklift extensions tend to be more heavy duty than standard fork extensions.
Using the Right Extension for the Job
Forklift extensions come in a variety of sizes, depending on their intended use.
Forklift extensions provide stable and safe positioning for loads that are longer or wider than the standard pallet. They also can be used to lift and move specialized pallets without compromising the integrity of the payload.
When fitted snugly against the forklift’s existing forks, forklift extensions reduce noise and optimize overall performance, decreasing the likelihood of tipping or lost loads.
A Snug Fit
Generally, the tip of the forklift extension will be tapered and chamfered — or cutaway from a right-angled corner to make a symmetrical sloping edge — on the sides and on the bottom. This facilitates the fast and convenient loading of pallets because it makes it easier to get the pallets on to the forks.
Forklift extensions that are made from solid steel provide maximum strength for lifting higher weight-capacity loads. Extension forks are often thicker than standard forks and feature lateral sheets of steel for added strength.
With quick disconnect fork extensions, the fork extensions are locked into place with a standard locking bolt to prevent unintentional slipping. Because they weigh more than standard fork extensions, they typically are attached by moving the vehicle so that its existing forks slide into the quick disconnect fork extensions.
Installing Fork Extensions
Because standard fork extensions tend to be more lightweight, they usually can be easily attached and removed by the forklift operator, in most cases.
When installing fork extension on to the vehicle’s standard forks, check that the mounting direction is correct. Arrows on the forklift extension should be pointing up. If there are no arrows, check to see that the flat surface is on top and the sloped surface is on the bottom.
Another thing to look for on forklift extensions is the permanent marking, or CE mark. This provides information about the attachment’s manufacturer, point of origin, and when it was made. This data can be helpful later if the fork extension needs to be repaired or replaced.
Many forklift extensions are covered by a limited warranty. When you purchase your fork extensions, make sure you keep your warranty in a safe place and register your purchase with the original equipment manufacturer, if required.