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In today’s economy and fast-paced expectations to meet customer demands, efficiency and cost savings are key considerations when operating a successful business operation. Although automation processes continue to improve material handling, forklift clamps and attachments still continue to improve productivity in many plants and facilities.

It is imperative to have the appropriate equipment for any application. Making sure it the correct attachment or clamp is used with forklift for the application need is critical to safety as well as productivity.

Different shaped materials, products and boxes each require different special handling and special equipment. Every step of the process should increase productivity, reduce damages and above all, ensure the equipment operators are safe. To handle the various sizes and shapes of the product requires forklift clamps and attachments that are engineered to work with all products. These attachments will permit the forklift to enhance performance, gain efficiency and be more versatile with material handling.

Forklift with attachment in warehouse

Selection of Forklift Clamps and Attachments

Forklift clamp attachments are easily an excellent solution to handling large loads. There are multiple types of clamps and attachments to consider, depending on the product stored within the warehouse or distribution center. All shapes from bales, rolls, tires, drums or recycled materials can be automatically manipulated using the appropriate type of forklift clamp. Installing an attachment to forklifts can turn around productivity from slow, manual processes to highly innovative means of moving product easier, faster and safer. Adding a clamp to an existing forklift will only increase cost efficiency and productivity.

There are a variety of clamp attachments manufactured for forklifts. The forklift operators can be effectively trained to ensure the safety of the products from damage. Excellent training on the attachments will also assist with keeping other manufacturing or warehouse employees safe as they travel about the floor. Clamp pressure is important to note as various types of product are handled. Accidents and illnesses can occur if waste materials are not handled properly. Using hydraulic clamps ensures less actual hands-on touching of the materials. Some of the latest environmental reports state that reducing the use of pallets, plastic, or wood will help reduce energy consumption.

Forklift Attachment

The Types of Forklift Clamp Attachments

Roll Clamps

Roll clamps to handle cylinder-shaped products can be adjusted to any diameter, weight and type of material. These attachments are good for rolls of fabric or paper that are not on a pallet. They will also handle barrels and drums, whether empty or filled with product.

Carton Clamps

Carton clamps have been designed for handling equipment and products that are housed in a variety of manufacturing, warehousing, appliance, and electronic industries’ facilities. Products ranging from cartons of food, electronics, chemicals and paper can carefully be moved from one point to another without concern for damage to the products. Any product that isn’t on a pallet is ideal for this type of forklift clamp.

Bale Clamps

Some products such as cotton, flax, wool, synthetic textile fiber, and hay can be moved easily with bale clamps. They work effectively in high-volume environments such as transportation, manufacturing, distribution or warehousing. Bale clamps are excellent for improving efficiency and are easily adaptable to a variety of forklifts.

Bar Arm Clamps

Bar arm clamps can also be used for working with rolls of textiles. The bar arms are available in adjustable lengths and sizes.

Fork Clamps

Fork clamps are typically used to handle awkwardly shaped and hard to handle loads. Products such as tires can be moved easily with this type of clamp if a roll clamp isn’t available.

Appliance Clamp

When products are palletized and not moved very often, an appliance clamp with forks can be used. This aids the operator when transportation across the warehouse is necessary as a pallet is emptied and reloaded.

Fork Positioner Clamp

A fork positioner clamp adjusts the distance between two forks. This is extremely helpful if the warehouse or distribution center contains different pallet sizes. The movement is done hydraulically so that the forklift operator doesn’t have to leave the cab.

Push-Pull Clamp

As some warehouse or distribution center operations are moving away from using pallets, a push-pull clamp is an option. Pallets can be replaced with slip sheets that slide onto a push-pull clamp. Some food and beverage production companies are using this process resulting in greater product movement and a reduction in shipping costs.

Concrete Block Clamps

There are some clamps that can ensure concrete blocks or bricks are moved without damaging the product. These concrete block clamps are manufactured with softer elements to provide a cushion for the product.

White Goods Clamps

To handle a large range of boxed appliances or large items in clear packaging, white goods clamps are ideal. They are made using pads and stabilizers. Decreased product damage can be ensured since these clamps are designed to require less force to support the weight.

Forklift Clamp

Some specially-manufactured forklift clamp attachments have forward rotating arm clamps. There are more steps involved in moving product such as a refrigerator; however, clamping and rotating make the process safer for the operator and reduces the opportunity for the refrigerator to be damaged. The rotating arm clamps also allow loads to be dumped into other containers. Industries like waste and recycling, food and beverage processing, and agriculture often use this type of clamp attachment.


Loads that can be moved from side to side enable the operator to shift pallets without moving the truck. This capability of the sideshifters streamlines pallet loading and can assist with warehouse space optimization. It helps especially in tight warehouse spaces. The side shifters can save time and fuel consumption.

Fork Extension

Fork extension attachments enhance the ability for a forklift to carry a larger load over the usual standard-sized forks. With this type of extender, more than one pallet can be carried at a time, adding efficiency.

Based on the capacity of a forklift, a fenced-in platform or man cage allows a forklift to operate as an elevated workspace. The forklift’s hydraulics can move as many as four employees.

Shovel Bucket Attachment

A shovel bucket attachment transforms a forklift into a mini wheel loader. The scoop bucket tilts to allow for picking up bulk material. It is also equipped with fork sleeves for easy use.

Load Stabilizer

A load stabilizer offers a solution for handling unstable loads by utilizing the adjustable top plate that holds the load in place. It is great for pallets with products that are not strapped down or secured with a wrapper.

Self-Dumping Hoppers

Self-dumping hoppers can move large volumes of waste materials or bulk storage products. The various types of hoppers are designed to carry different weight loads to meet all industry standards. This attachment will also enhance the operator’s safety since he will not be manually handling the materials.


The use of hooks can safely transport non-palletized loads. They can transform the forklift into a mini crane. That is extremely helpful in lifting and moving difficult loads. There are many hooks to choose from so it is importation to find the option most suited for the workload.

Cat forklift with carton clamp attachment

Considerations for Forklift Clamp Attachment Purchase

Since forklift clamp attachments are used on rider forklifts, the forklift capacity must be determined. Industry standards classify sit-down rider forklifts as Class I, IV and V.  The weight of the product and the attachment will affect capacity requirements. Also, because some attachments can move and turn the product, forklift stability is a concern. Battery life is also something to consider. It is better to assess these conditions prior to purchasing. It is best to get an assessment from a material handling professional to determine the rating on forklifts with a clamp attachment to be sure it meets the capacity requirements.

With usage, the forklift clamp attachment will need maintenance to keep all the parts in good working condition. Be sure to discuss your maintenance program with your material handling provider to determine if the clamp attachment would be included. In some cases, an additional cost may be incurred to add the clamp to the maintenance program.

When adding a clamp attachment to an existing forklift, the reduction in capacity will sometimes change the classification. A forklift data plate must be issued that includes the details of the attachment which should be ordered from your material handling supplier.

It is important to determine if the clamp attachment will be a permanent or temporary component of the forklift before purchasing it. That is a big consideration when making this determination. An additional forklift data plate and additional storage will be needed. Because of the hydraulics, it may take effort and downtime to disconnect if used in a temporary capacity.

In-depth training is required of the forklift operators any time a forklift is modified with an attachment. Details such as how to use the attachment, how to perform inspections, how to determine the stability, and how to handle specific products are all necessary learning skills. This will ensure an increase in productivity and a reduction of damages. And, keeping the operators safe is a priority.

Call the Experts

Darr Equipment Company offers major brands of equipment including Cat Lift Trucks, Mitsubishi and Junghenrich. We can assist with selecting the best forklift as well as clamp attachment to fit any application need. Since there could be some issues with forklift attachments such as downgrading classification of the forklifts, call us for assistance in determining the benefits and return on investment.

Darr Equipment Company is a fourth generation, family-owned and operated, service first, industrial equipment supplier specializing in providing customized solutions to meet our clients’ specific goals. It is our mission to provide the industry’s best equipment and services.

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