Forklifts are among the most versatile machines man has ever created. They are capable of moving loads that many men could not. Their capacity for work is astounding, and when outfitted with the most common and useful forklift attachments, they can do so much more. However, operators must be trained on any equipment that has an attachment. The attachments reduce the total capacity of the truck, so that must be considered when transporting loads. This is due to the added weight of the attachment and the increase of the center of gravity of the load.
Side shifters keep the tines stationary as the whole attachment (carriage) moves from side to side, approximately 4 inches left and right of center. This attachment lets the operator do it with simple hand controls. It can save a lot of time when placing a load in a rack. An operator can fine tune the placement of a pallet in a rack without having to backup and reposition the truck and the load.
There are many sub-categories of forklift clamps, but they all do the same thing. They all make it possible to grab and lift non-palletized or standard loads. For example, they are used a lot in paper mills to lift giant rolls of paper. The attachment has two clamps on either side of the mast, and they grasp or pinch the load before lifting it. Another type of clamp is for 55-gallon drums full of liquid like you might find at an oil refinery.
Fork rotators allow the forks to spin in a circular motion and change their plane. If you are facing the front of a forklift, imagine the forks are rotating so they can dump whatever they’re holding to the side. This attachment allows operators to get under a lopsided pallet in the racks.
On a push/pull attachment, the adjustable tines are very wide and very flat. When picking a load the operator lines the platens in front of the load, pinches the slip sheet, and then it is drawn in. To place a load the operator positions the platen in the area where they want to leave the product and then while simultaneously backing up, the operator cleanly pushes the load where they want it. It is useful in applications where there is no pallet used to store the load.
Fork positioners make it easy for the operator to line up the tines with the pockets of the pallet. The operator can move the tines, hand controls, to fit the load. This attachment allows them to adjust the forks without getting off the truck and manually moving them. It’s an invaluable feature on any forklift, especially when dealing with varying pallet sizes. In fact, it is slowly becoming a standard feature on many of the newer models.
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