Key Aspects of Forklift Customisation
06 June, 2013
Although the mechanical basics of forklifts have not changed dramatically over the years, manufacturers now offer higher levels of customisation. This is in response to customers seeking to control the costs of labour, improve efficiency and simplify the job of the operator. The wide range of attachments now available has enabled this change. However, as attachments and forklift innovations continue to develop, manufacturers need to collaborate more closely with the end user to ensure it is a good match for their business.
This blog will examine the benefits and disadvantages of customisation, focusing on forklift attachments, and what needs to be considered when purchasing these attachments.
Regardless of how extensive the standard range, certain applications are going to require special products. This is particularly true for tasks involving heavy or unusually shaped loads or in complicated conditions. Customisation can improve productivity within these circumstances, making for an easier job for the forklift operator.
Forklift attachments can maximise fuel efficiency by reducing the number of movements that are required to complete a task. Although the attachment may require small amounts of fuel for its operation, some forklift owners have reported fuel savings by as much as 50% upon the introduction of specific attachments.
For example, a sideshift offers driver flexibility in placing a load by allowing the forklift carriage to slide left to right and eliminating the need for time and fuel wasting manoeuvres.
When applied correctly, forklift attachments reduce handling times and substantially increase the amount of work completed in the course of a day. A forklift that can handle two or more pallets at once is clearly going to be faster at moving multiple loads from one point to another.
A single forklift equipped with one or more attachments can be used around the site for a number of materials handling applications, as well as, with conventional forklift work, reducing the amount of forklifts needed on the site.
When chosen carefully, attachments can increase workplace safety, as they are able to make the load more secure. For example, working at height is one area where attachments are essential and accidents can be avoided by using specifically designed forklift cages or working platforms.
• The more modified features a forklift has, the lower (usually) the resale value
• Downtime can be a problem in occurrence of a break down
• Some attachments are extremely expensive
• Visibility through the forklift mast can be significantly worsened by the use of attachments
• Most attachments need servicing every 250-300 hours and can be subject to intense wear and tear
What to Consider
• Attachments reduce your forklift nominal load rating, therefore your forklifts capacity will need to be de-rated by an experienced dealer or attachments specialist.
• You will have to replace your forklifts plate
• Your drivers may require additional training on the correct use of the attachment
• Your new attachment will need to be included in risk assessments and daily checks
It is best to book an application review in order to get advice regarding what will work for your site. Your dealer will assess factors that will affect the load, including dimensions and stability and will consider your operating environment, taking into account challenging conditions such as corrosion, gradients or uneven working surfaces.
A good dealer will consider the economic benefits of introducing attachments to ensure they are of benefit to your application and your business.
Forklifts are versatile machines and can be equipped to do a variety of specialised tasks in your plant or warehouse. There are a number of benefits to introducing attachments to your forklifts; however, it is important to ensure the customisation of your forklifts is of benefit to you and your business.
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Filed under: Forklift Attachment Basics
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