Forklift trucks aren’t cheap. Whether you buy or lease you’ll know that the investment can be quite substantial, and then when you add on maintenance, charging and staff training, the costs really add up. A great way of optimising that investment is by using forklift attachments – add-ons that let you use your truck for many different tasks.
A knock-on effect of using attachments is that you can save even more money – you may not need to lease or purchase a crane, for example, if you have a mini-crane attachment ready to go. This approach also lets you save on space, as attachments for forklift-trucks don’t take up nearly as much space as the full-sized machines they replace.
You can find attachments for a whole range of jobs, but here are some of the most popular:
Working on the floor or ground
Sweeper attachments can turn your forklift into an industrial floor cleaner, letting you sweep large spaces quickly, effectively and with a minimum of effort.
Magnets let you clean up where metal shavings or offcuts are present. The driver simply moves the truck back and forth over the area, and the metal gets attracted to the attachment.
Ploughs let you clear snow and ice from large expanses, with a much reduced chance of slipping and falling while you do so. Great for clearing your car parks, outdoor areas and footpaths, as well as entryways and exit points. Some plough attachments can perform double duty, acting as a yard scraper in finer weather.
Working from above
Hoist attachments let you use your forklift as a kind of mini-crane. Hook-based hoists are particularly versatile and can often be found with attachments of their own for specific hoisting needs. You can find hoist attachments that are rated to lift up to 1000kg.
Extending jibs are like hoists, but with considerably longer reach. Great for reaching and transporting long, oversized or awkward-shaped loads, as well as lifting items from otherwise hard to reach spots. The best extending jib models will give you a range of lifting and hook positions and use two hooks to create a secure lifting cradle.
Drum grabs are designed to lock into place over the rim of oil or fuel drums, using two or three arms to lift the drum from above for safe and easy repositioning.
Working from the sides
Attachments that work from the side are clamps. They work by gripping the item to be moved between two arms, almost as if you were lifting it yourself manually. You can find clamps designed for drums, bales, cartons or even appliances. Advanced models incorporate pressure sensors to ensure that you have a firm grip on the item without causing it any damage.
If you need to work at height for any reason, but the job is too much for a ladder and too little to require a full platform, personnel cages or cherry pickers are the attachment you need. A great option for stock-taking, incidental maintenance/repair work or even simpler tasks like changing lightbulbs in the warehouse.
Even if you are only using your forklift truck for standard duties, you can get attachments to help you out.
Fork extenders let you move larger loads – you use the truck as normal, but the forks are longer. Extenders can be found in fixed sizes, or ones that can be manually or hydraulically adjusted as required.
Side shifters are often fitted as standard, but if your truck doesn’t have them you can add them on yourself. They let you make small lateral adjustments to your forks, meaning that you don’t have to realign the whole truck if your approach is off – a great time saver.
Author Bio: First Mats started life as safety matting specialists, but have since expanded to become a complete industrial and commercial supplies company. The focus of First Mats is to provide safety-focused products that improve the wellbeing of staff through quality approved products, backed up by extensive knowledge. www.firstmats.co.uk