Easy lifting with Forklift Attachments
Thursday, 17 Nov 2016 ( #796 ) – Forkliftaction.com
Special Loads – Special Attachments
All forklifts come with standard forks and, for the vast majority of day-to-day needs, these are more than adequate for the job. But what if you have something that is not an ordinary load? Melissa Barnett takes a look at the world of attachments, why they are such vital pieces of materials handling equipment and how technology is influencing current attachment design.
Attachment manufacturers are born problem-solvers. Show them a load-lifting problem and they’ll more often than not find a solution. Lifting an awkward size or shape presents the forklift driver with a distinct set of problems; these are exacerbated when the load is large, heavy or bulky. Product damage is most commonly the result of a poorly lifted item, but safety and efficiency can also be compromised.
Benefits of an attachment
Even off-the-shelf attachments such as sideshifters, fork-positioners, work platforms and cages can enhance safety and efficiency. John Regan, vice president of sales and marketing for Bolzoni Auramo USA, believes that versatility on standard equipment is vital for today’s customers. Bolzoni Auramo offers dual-mount capability on its heart-of-the-line attachments. Regan believes dual-mount gives flexibility to both the customer and dealer, and added versatility to the growing rental market. He adds that it is also a useful selling point for second-hand attachments.
Mary Nicodemus, spokeswoman for Arrow Material Handling Products in the USA, sees the main advantages of off-the-shelf attachments as universality and speed of delivery, especially in the rental market. Gang Fu, marketing manager for Chinese manufacturer Longhe, agrees and adds that quick-mount technology allows for multi-purpose use, rapid dismantling and less pollution.
Off-the-shelf attachments are often the customer’s first experience with attachments, says Ralf Taubenheim, export director for German company Durwen, leading the customer to develop an idea of what they need for a job and improvements for any bespoke product they may require. Taubenheim says that the development and continuous advancement of off-the-shelf attachments can be almost as challenging as bespoke. “Our latest off-the-shelf product is a range of hydraulic telescopic forks (which) help reduce loading/unloading times by up to 30%. By allowing the forklift driver to unload all the freight from one side, turnaround time is significantly reduced and the forklift is utilised more efficiently.”
Occasionally, a bespoke product becomes so essential or popular that its manufacturer makes it a standard piece of equipment. That is what happened when Unit Load Handling Systems designed its GA30D slab bundle extractor attachment. The attachment, says Brian Scally, a spokesman for the USA-based company, is a compilation of all the ideas and suggestions offered by its marble and granite industry customers over the years. The attachment sports a plethora of features such as rubber pads as standard, adjustable and replaceable fork blades, wider opening range, a sideshifter for moving stone bundles, and quick-change mounting from clamp to forks without the need for tools – all resulting in faster, safer stone bundle carrying and loading.