What Are the Different Types of Forklift Extensions?

Malcolm Tatum

People are often surprised to learn that forklifts are frequently designed to support the use of a number of different forklift extensions and attachments. These ancillary devices help to broaden the range of tasks that can be accomplished using a basic forklift, saving the owner from the expense of purchasing multilple lifts that may only see limited usage. By using forklift extensions that go beyond the typical two blades or forks that are part of the standard equipment, it is possible to easily use the same lift for tasks on a manufacturing floor, in a warehouse or storage area, and on a loading dock with equal ease.

Jibs can be attached to forklifts to allow the vehicles to work as cranes.
Jibs can be attached to forklifts to allow the vehicles to work as cranes.

One of the more popular types of forklift extensions is the fork sleeve. Often composed of some type of strong material such as polyurethane or a resin compound, the sleeves fit easily onto the existing forks to create simple platforms that make the transit of loose goods from a storage area to somewhere on the plant floor an easier task. Some sleeves are designed to simply cover each of the forks without creating a platform between the two. These more simplistic extensions are ideal when the bare metal of the forks would be more likely to cause damage to the goods being moved, making the sleeves helpful in maintaining the quality of the goods.

Along with forklift sleeves, there is also a device known as a drum handler. Forklift extensions of this type come in several different sizes and models, making it easy to purchase different extensions equipped to manage goods of different sizes and weights. An extension of this type makes it easier to grip the sides of a drum containing petroleum or other products, transport the drum to a destination, then rotate the handler so that the contents from the container can be emptied without the need to manually handle the drum. Extensions of this type are sometimes designed to fit over the forks or blades of the lift, or at other times may require detaching the blades in order to connect the handler for use.

Forklift extensions of any type can be utilized in a number of settings. Along with moving drums with the intent of dumping the contents into some sort of feeder equipment, the handler can also be used to load full drums onto a trailer for transport or to reorganize drums stored in a warehouse. The sleeves can also be used for loading large spools of warped fiber onto trailers for transport to customers, with the sleeves effectively preventing damage to the cardboard or other coverings that are wound around the spool to protect the warped fiber.

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