By John Lamberth, Operations Director, B&B Attachments. Industry today is faced with increasing health and safety legislation yet needs to operate in a manner that provides a fast turn around, lower costs and increased profits. The pressure on industry to be competitive has been reflected in the materials handling industry which now not only has to turn forklift trucks into multifunctional tools but also needs faster, easier and safer ways of interchanging forklift attachments.
Forklift trucks fitted with dedicated attachments may restrict the use of the truck effectively costing a company by being idle for some of the time. By utilising forklift attachments together with quick release systems companies not only have the potential to severely cut fleets costs but also provide better utilisation of their fleet.
There are two types of quick release systems available. Fully automatic quick release systems enable hydraulic attachments to be connected in just 25 seconds with the operator remaining seated in the cab. Semi-automatic systems require the operator to quickly engage and disengage the hydraulic hoses in less than 90 seconds. All types of hydraulic attachments can be changed using quick release systems including fork positioners and specialist brick and block clamps which makes them particularly useful for sites were fork truck attachments have to be changed several times a day.
Semi-automatic quick release systems are manufactured as single units whilst fully automatic systems consist of a two-piece male/female unit, which is quickly and easily fitted with one component attached to the forklift and the other to the attachment. A clamp table is also usually supplied with the quick changeover system to ensure that each attachment to be changed over is at the correct location and mounted at the right height and orientation to provide ease of use.
A major advantage in using quick release systems is the ability to improve site safety. As these systems can be quickly and easily changed over either from the cab or with minimal intervention, the operators are more inclined to select the correct equipment for each task rather than compromise safety by using whatever attachment is fitted. Visual and audio warnings ensure the attachments are secure and as the profile of quick release systems is almost identical to a standard truck, they afford excellent visibility through the unit and the attachment.
Reduced Operational Costs
In today's competitive markets downtime on forklift trucks is a major consideration. Previously, interchanging attachments necessitated the use of skilled personnel in a workshop environment. Now with the introduction of quick release systems companies with multiple attachments will not only be able to save costs on time and labour, but will also be able to reduce the size of their fleet, both in terms of hardware and drivers, as it will no longer be necessary for forklifts to be set up with different attachments.
In applications where a vehicle requires loading using multiple attachments this can provide major savings in time and resources as a single forklift truck can complete the loading operation without having to what for another truck and driver with the correct attachment.
Quick release systems are versatile enabling hydraulic attachments to be coupled even under full truck pressure and as the weight lost load of the unit is minimal, the host truck de-ration is very low. They can be fitted to virtually any forklift truck, even retrospectively, and their uncomplicated design and reliable proven movement ensures that they require minimum maintenance.
Where an electrical connection/signal is required between the truck and the attachment, this can also be incorporated within the quick changeover system.
Not only can quick release systems be used with forklift trucks they can also be used on excavators to team up with a range of hydraulic attachments including Grab John bucks, sorting grabs, concrete crushers, hydraulic breakers and shears. This type of application can be even more critical as it usually involves only a single excavator on site with the need to change over between attachments on a regular basis, which can lead to higher costs if this cannot be achieved quickly and efficiently. They also eliminate difficult dripping hose couplings, minimises the dirt entering the hose couplings and stops oil spillage.
The enormous variety of attachments now on offer turn the forklift truck into a multi-functional vehicle which not only makes safer handling possible but also reduces or eliminates the need for any manual interface with the truck. Quick release systems are a win, win combination ensuring attachments are used to their maximum advantage and removing the need to take engineers off other duties to change over attachments. Ends
B&B Attachments Ltd.
Berkshire RG14 1NX
Tel: 01635 232000
Fax: 01635 237444