Types of Forklift Forks / Blades / Tines
Forklift Forks are one of those common components of industry that for some reason manages to allude us in establishment of common vocabulary. Referred to in different circles as forks, forklift tines , forklift blades , forklift teeth, etc. they are essentially the load bearing components on the front of standard configuration forklifts. Not only can we in the industry not come to a singular mind on what to call Forklift Forks, outside of the ITA/FEM Standard for Hook Type Forks (sometimes called Pin Type Forks) we have yet to see a standardization of design in how to affix the forks to the front of a Forklift and any number of other dimensions of the ever-so-simple, yet ever-so-complex forklift fork.
Hook-ITA fork classes are the same world -wide under ISO standards. The standard FEM hook style fork arms come in two types, “A’ & “B”. The difference in the types reflect differences in the ground-to-carriage distance when the mast id fully lowered. Type “A” is primarily used for indoor and many outdoor trucks. Type “B” is primarily intended for outdoor trucks. However, the applications can be interchangeable. Type “B” forks can replace type “A” forks, but not vice-versa because the type “A” would not reach the ground.
Hook Fork Classes
- Class I is forklifts up to 1,999 LB at 24” load center
- Class II is forklifts rated 2,000 LB through 5,500 LB @ 24” load center
- Class III is forklifts rated 6,000 LB to 10,000 LB @ 24” load center
- Class IV is forklifts rated 10,000 LB to 17,500 LB @ 24” load center
- Class V is forklifts rated from 17,500 LB to 24,000 LB at 24” load center
Can’t tell what you have? Measure the Carriage Bars! ( Top of top to Bottom of bottom)
- Class I: 13”
- Class II: 16”
- Class III: 20”
- Class IV: 25”
- Class V: 28.67”
Under-Clearance by Type
- Class I a 3” Class I b 4.5”
- Class II a 3” Class II b 6”
- Class III a 3” Class III b 8”
- Class IV a 5” Class IV b 10”
- Class V a 5” Class V b 10.12”
*Rough terrain trucks will possibly have higher under-clearance, but not always.
Pin type forks have no standard shape or size. They vary from OEM to OEM and by trucks within a brand. Because of this we ask many questions of customers. We use 2 drawings to gain dimensional data needed to make the forks to fit. These tell us where the fork tubes are located. The most important dimension is the location of the tube center in relation to the rear face of the fork shank. This dimension tells us the “offset” or “inset” of the tube, or whether it is “in-line.”
In relation to the rear face of the fork shank, offset means the tube center is located toward the driver. Inset means the tube center is located toward the load. In line means the center is directly above the rear face.
Block Forks are narrow forks, usually used in multiples, that enter the openings of concrete blocks that are turned on their sides. A layer of these blocks is used as the actual load carrying pallet in unit loads of blocks.
Lumber Forks or Full-Tapered Forks or Full-Taper and Polished Forks are made with a typical maximum thickness of 1.5 inches and in various widths, depending on the load weight. They are all made as full bottom taper forks, meaning the taper runs from the tip , back to approx. 2 inches from the bend. The top of the blade is polished, unpainted, for ease of entry and exit. Tips are thin with a top chamfer for chiseling between plywood sheets and the tips are squared off, not rounded, to assist the chiseling effort. When these forks become very wide, they can block the driver’s visibility. Therefore, a “peek-a-boo” fork is used. This fork has a shank that is thicker than the blade. At a certain distance above ground level the shank narrows to allow the driver better visibility.
ITA Class II & III Folding Forks
Folding Forks fold up against the shank. They are used to shorten the overall length of a forklift. Uses could be in space restricted areas like elevators, or on forklifts that are transported on the platforms built onto the rear of flatbed trailers. Minimum thickness of these forks is 2 inches and they are mostly in class II or III hook configurations.
Coil Forks are used to handle steel or other coiled materials. These forks made with the top corners of the blades chamfered or radiused to prevent scoring or denting of the inner layers. When both forks are used together in the core, only the top outer corners need this shape. If each fork is used to handle one coil each, then both top corners of the fork are chamfered.
Kiss Forks are used to handle coils and are made with a bend in the lower shank. The bend shapes the fork shank so that even though the shanks are separated, they offset toward each other so that the blades “kiss” each other. The forks are then used in the core of the coil. The reason for this offset is that the center vertical support bar of the pin type carriage on which they are used does not allow the forks to touch. The standard width from outside to outside of the forks when fully closed down may be too wide for the core.
Spark retardant forks are used in hazardous operations where spark-proof forklifts are used or where sparks may caused combustion/explosion. These forks are brass coated both on the blade and the face and sides of the shank. The brass is usually 1/8” thick and perhaps a little thicker on the bottom for wear resistance. The brass cladding is a weldment made to fit tightly onto the fork. It is not removable. Stainless steel cladding can be used for applications where sanitary requirements are prevalent: Pharmaceutical, Beverage, food processing, where the fork is exposed to the product in the manufacturing process.
Tire Forks are forks having a full length bevel along the inner face of the fork. This bevel is used to allow the forks to slide under the tread of a tire or stack of tires for damage prevention and stability during handling. Tire forks have a blunt tip and no bottom taper.
Drum forks are forks having the inside of the blade radiused to match the wall of a standard steel 55 gallon drum. This design is used on fork positioners and pallet fork clamps. These cut-out forks can be configured as one cut-out on each fork to handle single drums or two drums side by side, or two cut-outs per fork to handle two drums or four drums. The thickness of these forks should be increased due to a loss of capacity caused by the radius cuts.
Usually the fork is bolted all the way up the upright.
In most instances, the bolt-on design reduces deflection in the upright of the fork, thus reducing the overall deflection.
The forks can either be bolted on from the front or the back of the carrier.
If bolted from the front, the holes will be counter-bored/sunk to alleviate projection of the bolt heads and damaging product.
Obtaining the correct bolt-hole pattern for each set of forks is very important. If measuring the pattern on-site, it is important to first identify if the bolt pattern is inch or metric. Attachment make and model information is also helpful.
Bolt holes should not be drilled on the outside heel radius. The start of a bolt-hole pattern should begin at a minimum of 6 in. (152.4mm) above the top of the blade.
Gypsum Forks are forks having a tall shank that extends very high above the top hook. To this shank, a synthetic covering, usually replaceable, is added.
Replacement pads are available. The pads are impervious to grease and do not mark the sheet and are extremely durable. The 70 durometer pad is bonded to a steel plate for stability and rigidity. The slide-in feature of the pad makes replacement quick and simple, averting expensive down time.
Hook or shaft type mountings are available to suit your lift truck.
Bent and upset heel section.
The blade is polished and all sharp corners removed preventing damage to gypsum board.
There is a double-sided bevel at the tip for easy entry between gypsum sheets.
Fork widths are normally up to 12″ (300mm).
Square corner-in heel prevents damage to edge of gypsum sheet.
High back support is available.