A fork lift boom attachment is a heavy duty tubular extension that converts a fork truck into the equivalent of a mobile crane. This assembly can then handle many loads that a forklift, by itself, simply cannot lift safely or efficiently. There are booms that are fixed in length, but most have telescoping capability. The larger models may have up to 13 hook points, have the capability to swivel from side to side, and have vertical risers that give them greater vertical lift so they can duplicate the functions of smaller cranes.
As complex as this may sound, the device itself is incredibly simple in its design. It is essentially a long, strong, metal arm fitted to a base designed with universal fork pockets. When fork tines are inserted into these pockets, the attachment is secured by a clamp or safety chain. The extender reaches straight out from the fork truck and has hooks on the underside which can be attached to any object that cannot be lifted safely with fork hooks or pallet jacks.
Fork lift boom attachments are used in construction sites, equipment yards, loading docks, and warehouses. Rail yards use them to move pipe, large plastic tubing, and logs to and from flatbed rail cars. Many rail depots also find that it is easier to lift crates off of flatbed cars and trailers with a boom than it is to try to pick them up with standard fork trucks. In the prefabricated building industry, booms are very instrumental in erecting building walls, and also in setting the roofs of these buildings onto the walls once they are up. Similarly, home builders will use them to set wooden trusses in place rather than going out and renting a crane for the task. Warehouses will often fit a boom to a forklift to move barrels or large heavy pipe to and from storage areas. Equipment yards will use them to pickup various items that cannot be moved quickly with other material handling products.
There are many benefits to using fork lift boom attachments for these, and other, applications. Attachment booms decrease material handling time because they increase the versatility of a forklift. Consider that booms, and really all fork truck attachments, require only one licensed forklift driver to operate. This means one individual can quickly move several different types of products and supplies using only a single vehicle while the remainder of the workforce can be devoted to other aspects of facility process flow. Booms make even the most cumbersome, oversized, and oddly shaped loads easy and safe for a fork truck to handle. No one in their right mind tries to pick up a huge pipe or one ton barrel with the flat forks of a truck or pallet jack. However, that same impossible to move item can be easily lifted up and moved around at will with the right boom attached to the forklift.
Even more importantly, standard forklifts have limited vertical range. Fork lift boom attachments safely extend that range and allow fork trucks to access higher floors on low-rise construction sites and roof tops of lower elevation buildings.