Guide to Forklift Attachments
- What Are Forklift Attachments?
- Forklift Attachment Guide
- How to Choose the Right Forklift Attachment
- Working With the Right Company
- Get Forklift Attachments at Holt of California
You rely on heavy equipment to get the job done, but a machine is only as useful as its attachments. While you can use some attachments for multiple purposes around the site or warehouse, ensuring you use the right attachment for each job can save your team valuable time and money while streamlining productivity and helping you maintain safety on-site.
What Are Forklift Attachments?
By definition, a forklift attachment is a purpose-built add-on that allows an existing machine to perform additional material handling functions, transforming it into a versatile tool for multiple projects. Different types of forklift attachments are used for everything from transporting pallets in a warehouse to more niche, industry-specific uses, like bale hands for agriculture. Adding an attachment to your forklift can:
- Increase productivity: Attachments relieve unnecessary manual labor on the job site, freeing employees and crew members to focus on areas requiring their specialized skills or attention. Attachments also reduce how long a project takes since they are designed for specific tasks.
- Save resources: The less manual, hands-on time employees have to spend, the better allocated that time can be — no more bringing in extra hands for simple tasks like loading and positioning palettes or bulky objects. Saved time translates to money saved and an improved bottom line.
- Prioritizes safety: Machinery-related incidents were among the top 10 most frequent OSHA violations in 2020. Because attachments minimize the need for hands-on work, they also reduce the chance of work site hazards and create a safer environment for all. Depending on the attachment, it can help workers reach high heights, access challenging areas and sustain the weight of heavy loads.
Forklift Attachment Guide
Most forklifts come standard with a sideshifter attachment that moves from side to side so the operator can maneuver, load and carry burdens without needing to turn or move the entire machine. Though sideshifters are useful in most industries, other attachments can help your team perform job-specific tasks in less time.
Dockyard and Warehouse Forklift Attachments
Dockyards and warehouses are filled with activity all day — and often night — long. These workplaces often have tight or challenging spaces to navigate, strict safety guidelines to follow, and dozens, hundreds or even thousands of employees working on separate tasks at a time. Streamlining processes is critical in these environments to create safe practices, save time and utilize the available space effectively.
Some common heavy-duty forklift attachments for dockyard and warehouse applications include:
- Push-pull attachment: Push-pull attachments, sometimes called slip sheeters, let workers replace traditional, bulky pallets with thinner slip sheets to take up less space during shipping and storage. Unlike some attachments, you don’t need to disconnect existing forklift forks before connecting a push-pull attachment. They are commonly used in warehouses or at yards managing large bagged and packaged products, such as grains and sediments.
- Fork positioner: Fork positioners let workers get even closer to products and pallets without manually adjusting the forklift’s forks through hydraulic force. With improved control, the machine operator can handle and move objects in multiple shapes and sizes at a faster rate than without the positioners attached.
- Carton and bale clamps: Carton and bale clamps are commonplace in large warehouses that manage or move products that don’t fit on a traditional pallet because of their size, shape or fragility. With automatic pressure sensing, these attachments can detect fragile items and respond accordingly, making them ideal for glassware, luxury items, furniture pieces or some electronic shipments.
Processing and Manufacturing Forklift Attachments
Processing and manufacturing facilities deal with different loads and materials ranging in type, shape, size and composition, and many of these loads move back and forth in the same building multiple times a day. Teams can benefit from forklift attachments that can help them handle, dump or carry as many load types as possible.
Depending on the industry, you might consider investing in some of these common attachments for your forklift fleet:
- Fork rotator: Fork rotators move in a circle so the operator can quickly turn or displace loads such as waste and food products. The faster workers can complete repetitive tasks like this, the more time your team can save to allocate elsewhere.
- Bar arm clamp: Bale arm clamps are mostly used in textile manufacturing or processing facilities. These long bars attach to the end of a forklift to securely hold rolls of cloth and keep them safe from damage like tears or staining. You can find bar arm clamps in multiple lengths and weight loads to fit the products you work with.
- Paper roll clamp: Paper roll clamps, like bar arm clamps, are often found in niche industries like paper processing and manufacturing. Long, carefully covered clamps provide a place to handle and transport paper rolls without exposing them to any damaging environmental factors and keeping them safe from ripping.
- Fork extension: Fork extensions work much like sideshifters but offer a longer, stable extension for oversized or unusually shaped shipments. They are common in shipping and manufacturing facilities but are also used in some smaller-scale operations, like retail stores and some agricultural applications.
- Multiple pallet handler: Multiple pallet handlers, also called multiple load handlers, let workers manage multiple pallets at once without manually removing and replacing each load between transitions. They use hydraulic power to move pallets in different directions and can even place them side by side, making these work tools ideal for indoor aisles and narrow workspaces.
How to Choose the Right Forklift Attachment
Many facilities and work teams could probably use an entire fleet of attachments to simplify every area of production, but few have the space or funds to carry such a large complement of accessories — so how do you choose the right forklift attachment for your needs?
Consider Your Project
Keep your project, business or industry in mind as you go through this forklift attachment guide so you can choose the right fit for your current and future needs.
Consider the following:
- Scope: Your project’s scope — including the type and amount of labor and skill involved — can help you determine how much equipment you need, the quality of that equipment and which attachments will help you stay productive and streamline processes. Your project’s scope will also help you choose the right dimensions and load-bearing weight limits for your attachments.
- Timeline: While your company might consider a rented or used forklift attachment for short-term and one-time projects, investing in a quality new work tool might make better financial sense for long-term or ongoing work. If renting makes more sense for you, try to reserve your rental attachments and equipment ahead of time to ensure the unit you need is available.
- Setting: Some work settings, like those outdoors in the construction and agriculture industries, are harder on equipment than indoor facilities like warehouses. When selecting heavy equipment or different forklift attachments, keep your industry’s specific work demands in mind.
Renting vs. Buying an Attachment
If you work in an industry that would benefit from multiple attachment types for short, one-time projects or don’t have adequate storage space or funds to support attachment ownership, renting might be a good option for you.
- Cost: Investing in your own attachment gives you complete ownership over the accessory, but expenses don’t end at the initial investment. You’re also responsible for maintaining the attachment over time, including planned maintenance, proactive care and emergency repairs as needed. You also need a suitable place to store attachments securely.
- Flexibility: If you’re working on a strict timeline and don’t have the time to shop around for the best attachment model, renting offers a quick, no-commitment solution. However, this same ease of access means that the attachment you need may not always be available on the rental market when you need it, and it could change in price or quality between uses. You’re also not guaranteed the same model each time you rent an attachment for a product. Investing in a quality attachment for long-term use is a better option if you’ll need the tool frequently.
- Versatility: Attachments give you versatility around the work site, especially if you decide to invest in a work tool that can perform multiple tasks. For example, a fork extension attachment can help you move pallets and large items with ease, but you can also repurpose that same investment into other operational areas to get the most for your money.
- Value: When considering your future projects, what kind of work do you plan to take on? What can you do now to ensure your team has all the tools they need to succeed in both your current daily operations and any other projects you may take on in the future?
Used vs. New Attachments
Pre-owned attachments can be an affordable option for individuals or managers at small contracting companies who would rather own their equipment and know they have it available whenever they need it. Like heavy equipment, used attachments may have built up a few years and usage hours, but it makes them a more affordable option for small and midsize companies or large facilities that may not have the budget or need for all-new attachments.
If you’re shopping used attachments, research the company before purchasing from them and avoid private sales with individuals who may not be able to confirm the tool’s quality or working history. Certified used equipment dealerships are the safest and most reliable option when shopping for used attachments.
New attachments are a better fit if you want the most innovative and up-to-date features available, like advanced technology or materials. They often come with warranties or special financing options depending on the retailer or dealership. New attachments will have no wear and tear or repair history, meaning they’re free of potential hazards or premature aging. They have a higher upfront cost than used attachments but are worth the investment if you plan to use them for multiple projects, demanding applications or their full service life.
Working With the Right Company
A significant part of choosing the right forklift attachment is working with the right company, as a reputable dealer will help you get the best quality, prices, inventory and customer service available. Consider the following:
- Customer service: Good customer service is essential when making a large purchase, especially if your productivity depends on the dealership’s responsiveness and communication. If you have any questions about your attachment or need to bring it in for servicing, you’ll be thankful you chose a company with fast response times and friendly, knowledgeable team members.
- Product warranties: Product warranties come directly from the attachment’s manufacturer or the dealership you buy from. Some places may offer both depending on the attachment and whether you’re shopping for a new or used accessory. Warranties are useful if there’s a problem with the attachment or if it somehow suffers damage due to an incident that’s beyond your control. You might also consider adding your attachment and similar investments to the company or facility insurance plan.
- Equipment training: OSHA has strict guidelines for safe forklift operation, including rules stating only trained and certified workers are eligible to operate these machines, and all operators must be trained on the specific type of truck they’re using. These guidelines extend to any attachments connected to the forklift. Some dealerships or manufacturers offer product training information or demonstrations to help you better understand the equipment you’re investing in.
- Financing options: Dealerships may have special financing options available depending on your purchase, the total cost, your credit history, the company’s policies and other factors. If you need a new or expensive attachment and renting or purchasing used doesn’t make sense for your budget, financing can be a great option for securing the accessories you need at a price and payment rate you can afford.
Get Forklift Attachments at Holt of California
If you work in manufacturing and processing, warehouses, dockyards or similar industries, a forklift attachment can transform your daily operations by automating manual tasks, freeing up employees to take on more skilled roles and creating a safe work environment that complies with OSHA regulations and other guidelines. These changes will ultimately save you time and money, increasing productivity and profits.
Holt of California has the forklifts and forklift attachments you need to get the job done, including products from manufacturers like:
We stock new and used machinery for rent or purchase, as well as value-added offerings including forklift maintenance and repair services, premium machinery maintenance plans, operator training and more. Our dedicated team of knowledgeable professionals can help you choose the right attachment for your project or industry, including optional accessories like electric forklift batteries and battery chargers.