forklift fork sizes

Fork Extensions: How Long Can You Go?

Fork extensions are commonly misunderstood items in the material handling world. While they are perfectly fine to use in the right circumstances, they are not the one tool that fits all applications. Larger forks are a better solution in most applications. 

Length of loads

ANSI (American National Standards Institute) states that the forks you are using go at least 2/3rds the length of the load. For instance, a 4 foot long fork can pick up loads up to 6 feet. When doing this the load needs to be evenly distributed on the pallet or the heavier end must be closest to the forklift.

Pallet Support

At times when you are picking up loads that are not supported 100% by the forks the pallet might break or bend. To prevent this we can add fork extensions to the forklift. The extensions can be no more than 150% of the forks they are placed on, per ANSI. Using the 4 foot long fork, your extension can be up to 6 feet long.

End Result

The last two feet of the pallet that wanted to break or bend because it wasn’t supported is now supported with the fork extension. You are not able to lift a longer pallet just because you have installed fork extensions. You can lift the same pallet with greater support and that can make it safer. The fact that the forklift’s capacity is decreasing as the load length increases must be taken into consideration as well. The forklift must have the correct capacity plate for the increased load center from the manufacturer installed as well as written permission from them approving of the fork extensions.

For more information, Contact Us to discuss your Fork Extension questions and needs.