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What Are the Different Types of Forklift Equipment?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

Forklift equipment generally falls into two categories: lift attachments and basic components. Most basic components are included with the forklift at purchase, though they can be changed or otherwise replaced during the course of the forklift's usable life. Lift attachments are various tools that can be fitted to the lift to accommodate different applications. The most common fork attachment is a regular, two-pronged fork, but other forklift equipment may include a sideshifter, rotator, or even a man basket that allows a person to be lifted safely instead of goods.

Many attachments work in conjunction with traditional forks rather than in place of them. This category of forklift equipment serves to enhance the functionality of the forks themselves. A telescopic attachment, for example, features forks for lifting pallets or goods, but unlike a traditional fork system, the telescoping fork system can extend outward to allow pallets or goods to be shifted inward into a shelf or onto a truck. A sideshifter allows the operator to shift the forks to the left or right, which means he or she can reposition a pallet without having to reposition the entire truck. A rotator allows the user to rotate the forks on angles, which is useful if a pallet is set on an uneven surface.

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.

Other forklift equipment may come standard with the vehicle. An overhead guard, for example, is essentially a metal cage that fits around the cab of the forklift truck to protect the driver should any pallets or other objects fall on top of the truck. Some forklifts are fitted with outriggers, which are supports that extend outward away from the body of the truck to provide extra stability when lifting or lowering extremely heavy objects. Telehandler forklifts often feature outriggers since the load is likely to throw the forklift off balance in telehandler applications.

Man baskets and scales are forklift equipment pieces that do not resemble the tines of the fork at all. A man basket is affixed to the lift, and it allows a person to be lifted safely. It usually features some sort of security system such as a harness to prevent the person from falling out of the cage. The cage itself is made of durable metal to prevent the person from being crushed should the cage be driven toward a solid object or otherwise operated incorrectly, putting the human at risk. A scale is an attachment that allows the lift operator to weigh pallets or goods before loading or unloading them.

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    • Jibs can be attached to forklifts to allow the vehicles to work as cranes.
      By: bugphai
      Jibs can be attached to forklifts to allow the vehicles to work as cranes.