Forklift forks make give the lift truck its name and make it what it is ë█Ď a forklift. The forks, sometimes referred to as blades or tines, are used to lift loads which are usually stacked on pallets. Forks have a heel that curves upward and a vertical shank through which they are attached to the carriage. The average pallet fork measures 4" wide x 1.5" thick x 42" long although there numerous variations depending upon the individual task requirements.
Forklift forks are categorized by which classification of lift truck the fork is used on. The OSHA places a forklift in one of seven classifications (although Class VI is technically a ride-on vehicle for pulling carts). Class II forks are for Class II trucks, Class III forks are for Class III trucks, Class IV forks are for Class IV trucks, etc.
Forks can also be classified by type, available in either hook-style or pin-style forks. The hook-style forks bend over, slip into the end of the carriage bars and are locked into the carriage. They are used on trucks which need to lift heavy loads with a capacity of 14,000 lbs. or more. Pin-style forks are attached to the carriage with pins while shaft forks are attached with shafts through small openings at the top of the fork.
Another way to classify forklift forks is by the type of blades. Standard tapered forks are ideal for common lifting jobs since they are easily inserted into the pallets. Forks with blunt ends are preferred for handling loads like plastic bins and drums which can be easily punctured. Stainless steel-clad forks are specified for work environments with strict hygiene standards or areas that need to be kept spark-free.
Because forks bear the brunt of lifting and loading, they often times get damaged over time. Replacement forks are readily available either as OEM or aftermarket parts. It is important to replace damaged forklift forks immediately, because without working forks, the forklift will not be able to perform its main function.