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Replacing or adding attachments

It’s possible to replace an existing attachment or add one to a lift that doesn’t already have one. Considerations include forklift type, capacity, carriage type, and number of hydraulic functions (that power the attachment features). As mentioned in the preceding section, replacing or adding an attachment may reduce (down-rate) the safe lifting capacity of the forklift truck (See also General operations, below).

Forklift attachment manufacturers offer on-line calculators to estimate the safe lifting capacity when using a particular attachment, but only the forklift truck manufacturer can give accurate lifting capacities. Before installing any attachment, you should contact your local authorized dealer of your forklift brand, and ask them to begin re-rating your lift according to the attachment you want to install. Once re-rated you should receive a new factory authorized specification plate to replace the original currently found on your lift.

Adding hydraulic functions

In the context of attachments, a hydraulic function consists of a valve on the forklift with a lever near the operator that provides two passages of pressurized hydraulic oil to power the attachment features. Sometimes an attachment has more features than your forklift has hydraulic functions, and one or more need to be added.

There are many ways of adding hydraulic functions (also known as adding a valve). The forklift manufacturer makes valves and hose routing accessories, but the parts and labor to install can be prohibitively expensive. Other ways include adding a solenoid valve in conjunction with a hose or cable reel that diverts oil flow from an existing function. However, hose and cable reels can block the operator’s view and are problematic, easily damaged. The Ditto Valve kit uses a solenoid valve and special HydWire hoses, in which the wire reinforcing braid doubles as an electrical conduit. These hoses replace those already on the forklift, nesting in the original reeving, keeping it safe from damage and out of the operators field of vision.[17]