Consider Different Forklift Accessories for Productive and Safe Material-Handling Operations

Regardless of whether you’re in a factory or a warehouse, at a port or a construction site, you’re guaranteed to find forklifts, cranes, and other types of material-handling equipment hard at work. From the electric-powered, stainless steel pallet trucks that are found in medical and pharmaceutical environments, to the 40 tonne diesel-powered forklifts used for shift shipping containers, these machines are irreplaceable at hoisting and transporting all kinds of cargo to heights and locations that would be impractical to do by any other means.

Every lifting activity is unique though, and forklifts and other lifting equipment frequently need to be outfitted with special attachments to perform tasks that would otherwise pose a risk to cargo or personnel. Safety is paramount anytime heavy or hazardous materials are being lifted, and if you’re responsible for your company’s compliance with WHS (Work, Health, and Safety) guidance, it’s good to know which types of attachments are available to stay compliant.


Adding Value with Modern Lift Attachments

With more oversized, unstable, and hazardous loads than ever being moved by cranes and forklifts, the demand for safer, more specialized attachments has also never been greater. The result is that a new generation of multi-use, purpose-designed lift truck and forklift accessories have had to be developed so that they are capable of complying with ever tightening ranges of:

·   Mandatory State and WHS safety standards;

·   Forklift and lift truck manufacturer rated capacities; and,

·   Workplace and business standards.

Within these safety guidelines, however, it’s now possible for a single forklift equipped with the appropriate fork truck attachments to be used for a variety of material handling activities that would typically require different machines. Modern attachments let businesses and lift equipment operators see an immediate savings in both their capital equipment and recurring maintenance costs, all while expanding their lifting capabilities.


Top Attachment Construction Standards

The design characteristics of high-quality forklift attachments are an essential part of their flexibility. It means that when it comes to transportation managers and safety officers evaluating the various types of attachments and accessories that are available, they need verifiable assurance that the attachments have been:

·   Designed by a body or individual who has sufficient knowledge about the precise lifting task;

·   Manufactured by a body or individual that has the demonstrated competence to build them correctly; and,

·   Certifiably load tested, and clearly marked for use in accordance with the prevailing Australian Standard for their intended operation.

As a minimum, a few of the material attributes that can be expected from a superior quality, heavy duty forklift attachment would be:

·   High tensile carbon steel construction;

·   Multiple attachment and cargo securing points; and,

·   Galvanized or zinc plated finish, including safety yellow enamel coated when necessary.

Ultimately, there’s no higher priority than safety when you need to lift personnel or heavy equipment to significant heights. It’s why the highest quality forklift truck attachments and lifting accessories are load tested to support up to two times their certified working load, as well as how they’re able to be employed so flexibly.


Flexible Lift Attachments for All Activities

If you or your company are actively assessing which types of forklift attachments for sale would be most beneficial for your operation, it’s important not to become overwhelmed by what’s available.

From forklift sweepers and tarp spreaders, to concrete pipe and pumpline hangars, there are a lot of different types of attachments capable of supporting multiple indoor and outdoor activities. Having a complete understanding of your operational demands is going to have an impact on your decision making.

Flexibility is critical though, and unless your activity is strictly one-of-a-kind, you always want  attachments for forklift that are going to provide the most versatility, such as:

·   Forklift cage attachments. Gate-sided platform and work cages can be used for everything from order picking and construction material, to maintenance and installation team support. With capacities up to 2000kg, and safety harnessing and mesh roofing on select models, these are all-purpose attachments for lifting property and personnel.

·   Tipping bin attachments. These mass capacity bins boast capacities up to 5400ltrs/3000kg and can be used for waste disposal or bulk storage of commodities such as fasteners, granules, or aggregates. Drain plugs, strainers, and crane lugs are optional on select models, and their self-dumping capabilities mean that machine operators ever needing to leave their seat.

·   Drum positioning attachments. These forklift fork accessories are perfect for loading and unloading steel or plastic drums up to 210ltrs from racks, stands, or transport vehicles. With capacities up to 500kg depending on the configuration, some of these attachments can change drum position from vertical to horizon or vice-versa.

·   Tine extension attachments. Galvanized or powdercoated tine extension slippers give forklifts and lift trucks up to 3m of horizontal supporting surface, to a maximum of 8500kg. Along with other types of extensions such 3000kg fork spreaders and pallet jibs, forklifts are able to easily manoeuvre multiple and oversized pallets and skids, from different angles.

·   Pallet hook attachments. Pallet hooks are optimum for use with cranes or other heavy lift machinery when neither forklifts nor lift trucks are available. With adjustable tine widths, these attachments are available in rates up to 4500kg and feature moveable lift rings that allow operators to ensure that their loads are perfectly balanced.

These are only a few of the different types of attachment accessories that are available, though. And as flexibility is such an important aspect of their design, some forklift lifting attachments readily allow for multiple lifting alternatives that include cranes, lift trucks, and stackers.


Verify Your Lift Equipment’s Capabilities

While forklift truck accessories and attachments are immensely effective at expanding your company’s lifting capabilities, you still can’t afford to overlook your lifting equipment’s capabilities.

Attachments will invariably change the performance characteristics of most types of lifting equipment, and a number of operational precautions may need to be considered, including:

·   Verifying that your forklift accessories are compatible with the lifting equipment’s operating range;

·   Lowering the lifting equipment’s lift capacity to compensate for the weight of any attachments; and,

·   Ensuring that lift operators and other material handlers are fully familiar with, and adequately trained on using the attachments.

With the proper safety and precautionary measures in place, you’ll be amazed at how much more productive forklift and lift truck operations will be with the right attachment.

The Final Word

At the end of the day, modern lift attachments are the ideal compromise between operations and safety. By expanding the capabilities of existing assets, they’re proof that businesses can affordably increase their range activities without investing large sums into single-purpose equipment. 

For business owners and safety officers alike, purpose-designed forklift truck attachments are among the best, and safest way to improve how a business operates. They’re economical, they’re flexible, and they’re safe; and that makes them a wise choice.

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