Information Category

Fork Specifications and Why They Are Important to Safety

Welcome back to the Arrow blog! As a true dealer partner, we strive to add value to your daily operation, in addition to engineering quality products for your customers.

With National Safety Month right around the corner, we wanted to gear up by covering a topic that affects safety that you might not be thinking about: Fork Measurement.

For the sake of this blog, we will look at measurement in two different ways: Specifications and Wear.

Fork Capacity

Operators should know the technical specifications of their forks, specifically capacity. Fork capacity is important to safety, since it tells you how much weight your forks can hold. If a forklift operator does not know the capacity, they may overload the forks and cause damage to assets and/or injury to themselves and others. Capacity related accidents are all over this Most Common Forklift accidents list, which is unfortunate because many accidents are easy to avoid.

How to Find Your Specifications

If you are using the correct forks for your machine, the capacity on the machine’s data plate will be correct. Forks are usually ordered by length, so the length should not be hard to find, but you can also measure your forks to determine the length as well. While length does not impact capacity, it is important to know for irregular load situations that may require tools like fork extensions.

Fork Wear & Capacity

Forklift forks need to be in good condition to work safely and efficiently. According to Tri-Lift Industries, once forks are 10 percent worn, capacity decreases by 20 percent. That means a 1,000-pound reduction on a 5,000-pound capacity forklift! That is why it is so important for your forklift operator or technician to check all their equipment before using it. Our patented Fork Wear Indicator makes this a much easier task. The first step toward keeping people safe on the job site is knowing how much weight each piece of machinery can safely lift!

How to Measure Fork Wear?

If you’re using Arrow ITA forks, you might have our patented Fork Wear Indicator, which would be the fastest and easiest way to measure your fork wear.

Measuring fork wear is also pretty simple with a Fork Wear Test Caliper. Test calipers are a quick way to understand how worn your forks are and what that means for your capacity and maintaining safety. All the instructions for use are on the linked page.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more safety conversations from now through June!

Why Does ISO Certification Set Us Apart?

ISO Logo

Welcome back to the Arrow blog! As a true dealer partner, we strive to add value to your daily operation, in addition to engineering quality products for your customers.

We often talk about the quality and consistency of our products. This is because we believe in our process, and we have the credentials to prove it. Arrow is an ISO 9001:2015 Certified company. This certification requires us to uphold high quality process standards that lead to better products and more customer satisfaction.

As a bonus for this blog, we were able to get some thoughts and insights from Clyde Pearch, owner of Eagle Group. Pearch and Eagle Group have prepared hundreds of companies for initial ISO Certification and recertification audits. He is here to make sure we uphold the ISO standards and prepares us for recertification. Hopefully his perspective can provide further understanding of ISO in general, the certification process and what it means for Arrow and other ISO certified companies.

What is ISO?

On their website, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) describes themselves as an independent, non-governmental international organization that brings experts together to develop voluntary, consensus-based, market relevant International Standards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges.

According to Reciprocity, ISO has developed around 22,000 standards across many industries, but there are four main categories that standards can fall under:

  • ISO 9000 – Quality Management
  • ISO 22000 – Food Safety Management
  • ISO/IEC 27000 – Information Security Management Systems
  • ISO 31000 – Risk Management

ISO standards are an internationally accepted way of optimizing your business process with a focus on improved quality and consistency. For the sake of this blog, we will focus on the certification held by Arrow Material Handling Products: ISO 9001:2015.

What is ISO 9001 Certification?

ASQ breaks down ISO 9001 perfectly:

“ISO 9001 is defined as the international standard that specifies requirements for a quality management system (QMS). Organizations use the standard to demonstrate the ability to consistently provide products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements. It is the most popular standard in the ISO 9000 series and the only standard in the series to which organizations can certify.”

ISO 9001 is based on seven Quality Management Principles (from ISO QMP Book):

  1. Customer Focus
  2. Leadership
  3. Engagement of People
  4. Process Approach
  5. Improvement
  6. Evidence-based Decision Making
  7. Relationship Management

These QMPs are a set of fundamental beliefs, norms, rules and values that are widely accepted for use as a basis for quality management. ISO suggests that these QMPs be used as a foundation to guide an organization’s performance improvement.

ISO 9001:2015 refers to the most current version of ISO 9001 that was released in September of 2015.

Pearch believes ISO 9001 certification can be a powerful asset for many businesses. When asked why, he said, “ISO 9001 Quality Management System (QMS) can be used as a tool within an organization whether it is privately held or a public company, NGO, etc. The QMS requires a company to clearly define, document and monitor key business processes. By doing so the leadership of the company establishes key performance indicators or KPIs to set goals, objectives with targets to support operating the business in an effective and efficient manner.”

Why is ISO Important for Arrow?

Arrow is one of over 1 million companies worldwide (Jill Jusko, Industry Week 2010) that is ISO 9001 certified. According to Statista in 2020, Arrow was one of only 20,900 companies in the United States with an active ISO 9001 certification.

Even though many companies adopt the ISO standards, many will execute and implement things differently. Arrow uses the PDCA model. As further explained by our auditor:

“The PDCA model is the key principle that company leadership applies to ensure the QMS is being maintained. Principles and phases are applied as follows:

  1. Plan – company leadership works with employees and other interested parties establishing the framework of the QMS to align with the ISO 9001 requirements, establishing methodology and objectives to monitor and measure QMS performance.
  2. Do – company leadership and employees apply the documented QMS policies, procedures, work requirements within the business.
  3. Check – Leadership and employees report on the performance of the QMS with company established KPI’s, QMS audits, Management Review of QMS with updates to QMS, KPI’s, overall system performance including Risk & Opportunities all with assigned actions to support Continual Improvements.
  4. Act – is taking the results of the Check phase to adjust the products, procedures, processes by rolling out changes needed to support (Delight) the customer!”

Pearch adds, “Big picture – using ISO 9001 (QMS) as a tool in the leadership tool bag that helps keep employees, suppliers, contractors and distributors focused on keeping customers happy, being more productive, fostering team commitment, promoting the use of best practices (5S, Lean, safety in workplace, etc.) and lastly will help a company to improve business success with increased revenue and profits.”

Not only does ISO 9001 certification place us in exclusive company, but it also represents a commitment to excellence. ISO 9001 certification requires passing performance audits as well as a 3-year recertification process. This means that in addition to optimizing our process for the initial certification we also subject ourselves to regular audits to maintain our certification and ensure the continuous improvement of our processes. This commitment to a superior quality management system has led to many quality improvements for Arrow and we strongly believe this commitment contributes to the consistent production of quality products.

We hope this provides some context on why we are so confident in our products and capabilities. We are committed to quality and consistency, to produce better products for you and your customers.

Thanks for supporting the Arrow MHP Blog! Join our email list below to be notified of future blog posts and product updates.

Attachment Awareness 3: Skid Steer Attachments

Welcome back to the Attachment Awareness series on the Arrow blog! This series explores how attachments for various pieces of equipment can improve the overall experience of operation. Throughout this series, we will explore attachments for forklifts, telehandlers and skid steers and the benefits these attachments provide: improved safety and increased productivity. 

In our first and second installments, we looked at static attachments and hydraulic forklift attachments and what benefits they provide for operators. This installment will provide an overview of the attachments Arrow offers for skid steers.  

Skid Steer Loaders were created in 1957 and get their name from the way the vehicle is driven. The skid steer uses differential steering to make turns. This means that the wheels or tracks only drive forward. Each side of the skid steer has its own engine and controls. Turns are made by adjusting the speed of either side of the skid steer, causing the vehicle to “skid” in the direction you would like to turn. This type of steering allows for very crisp turns that are useful in tight spaces — illustrating the precision the skid steer is known to provide.  

Skid Steers are one of the most common and versatile pieces of equipment you can find; being used in demolition, construction, loading, digging, mowing, landscaping and more.  

Types of Skid Steer Attachments 

As mentioned above, skid steers have attachment options in the static and hydraulic category. We will explore some of our most popular options of each that your customers can use to add efficiency and productivity to their operations.  

Static Attachments

Buckets – Buckets allow for more efficient movement of materials. There are different types of buckets that can be used for digging and shoveling as well. 

Pallet Forks – One of the most common tools used in material handling, pallet forks give a skid steer the capability to lift and move pallets of different sizes and weights. This essentially transforms the skid steer into a forklift when the transportation of pallets is needed.  

Grapples – An add on or accessory for buckets or pallet forks, grapples allow the skid steer to grab larger objects like big pieces of debris and move them. Hydraulic option also available.

Hydraulic Attachments

Auger Drives – Auger drives attach to a skid steer to allow for drilling into many different ground types. With the appropriate bit, auger drives can be utilized to remove stumps, mix concrete or split logs

Tree Shears – Help keep large plots of land clear of trees and shrubs. Tree Shears can be specifically designed for your skid steer to cut flush to the ground to ensure efficient clearing.  

Brooms – Attaches to the front of the skid steer to help collect debris and sweep it into a bucket for easy dumping. 

auger drive skid steer attachments
Auger Drive Connected to Skid Steer

With in-house engineering and production teams, custom forks and attachment requests are always welcome. Help your customers do more with their assets — with solutions from Arrow!   

We hope you were able to take valuable information about the versatility and productivity skid steer attachments can add to your operation. 

If you have questions on skid steer attachment options from Arrow, please contact us. Do you have a favorite attachment for your skid steer? Do you get requests from customers for specific attachments?  Let us know what you learned in the comments and don’t forget to follow us on social! 

Equipment Winterization

Arrow Material Handling Winterize Post

Happy New Year and welcome back to the Arrow MHP blog!

As a true dealer partner, we strive to add value to your daily operation, in addition to engineering quality products for your customers.

This month we want to share useful information about Equipment Winterization that you can use to add value to your customers.

What Does That Even Mean?

Winterization, in layman’s terms, means to prepare equipment for harsh winter temperatures and elements. Whether or not the equipment is being used during the coldest winter months, there are steps that should be taken to protect and maintain the equipment during this time of year. This is important information for you to know and pass along to customers to avoid potential future machine issues.

What Does Winterization Consist Of?

As mentioned above, winterization is something that should be done for machines that are both in use and resting through the winter months. Altorfer provides a great list of tips to make sure equipment stays in peak form during the winter months. These tips include things most people would anticipate like filling with proper lubricants, checking fluid levels before each use, inspecting and inflating tires, storing indoors away from freezing temperatures and precipitation and keeping batteries charged and in warm conditions.

Other tips that may be less obvious that can also be helpful may need a little more explaining, so we will break those down below:

Condition hydraulic hoses

Hoses can strain and crack in cold conditions, so it is important to condition the hoses before each use. This means running the motor to raise the hydraulic oil temperature and keeping the machine running for at least 60 minutes. Using special arctic hydraulic oil can also help performance during cold conditions.

Inspect the engine, body and undercarriage

Perform a visual inspection before each use to make sure all parts inside the engine are clean and free of wear and cracks. If any wear is found, those parts should be replaced before use. It is also a good idea to have a mechanic inspect the machine before winter to ensure optimal performance.

Refill fuel tank after each use

Refilling the fuel tank after each use can prevent the tank from freezing overnight. Cleaning and draining the water separator will also help protect the fuel tank from dirt and other debris.

Safety in Winter Conditions

We are always concerned with safety and how we can help our dealers and their customers promote safer conditions. The winter has adverse effects on certain pieces of equipment and the safe operation of those machines. For example, forklifts can face a 25-50% decrease in cycle times in cold weather. This can lead to an inability to perform tasks that are usually easy. This can also slow down reaction times for the machine. This is something to keep in mind when selling forklifts during winter months and when customers are having machine issues during winter months. Some of the tips above would help them get closer to normal effectiveness.

Protecting people should also be a big priority in these conditions and Equipment World provides some things to remember in extreme conditions:

  • Be more careful when entering and exiting machines. Surfaces can get slippery and cause falls leading to injury.
  • Keep job site clean and organized to eliminate accidents and damage. In lower visibility and precipitous conditions, it is more imperative to be proactive.
  • Use insulated gloves to touch the metal surfaces of the machine. Some of the surfaces can get so cold as to cause instant skin damage upon touching with bare skin. Additionally, The Forklift Pro reminds operators that tight fitting and high visibility clothing is still the recommendation. It is imperative to uphold these standards in cold weather to protect from injuries that can be caused by wearing bulky, loose-fitting clothes.

Having your customers follow these steps should help their equipment (or your equipment if you are renting to customers) work more consistently in colder temperatures and help prevent downtime due to unexpected maintenance and accidents. As a bonus, providing useful tools and insight can strengthen your relationships with customers and help build trust. We hope you were able to take valuable information from this blog to pass along to your customers. Are these tips you already knew? Any tips you would add for fellow readers? Let us know in the comments!

Thanks for supporting the Arrow MHP Blog! Join our email list below to be notified of future blog posts and product updates.

Attachment Awareness 2: Hydraulic Forklift Attachments

Welcome back to the Attachment Awareness series on the Arrow blog! This series explores how attachments for various pieces of equipment can improve the overall experience of operation. Throughout this series, we will explore attachments for forklifts, telehandlers and skid steers and the benefits these attachments provide: improved safety and increased productivity.

In our first Attachment Awareness installment, we looked at static attachments and what benefits they provide for operators. This installment will begin our conversation on hydraulic attachments; focusing on what they are and how they work.

What Does Hydraulic Mean?

When hearing the word “hydraulics,” many people might think of the hydraulic switches on cars that we see in competitions and parades that make them jump and bounce. While the hydraulics we will focus on in this blog are for different functions, the science behind them is the same. Hydraulic principles are used in many different avenues including NASA operations, construction equipment and forklifts. From a science perspective, hydraulics can be described as the study of liquids and how they function. Furthermore, the science of hydraulics is used to create hydraulic systems. Creating and releasing fluid pressure is the basic description of a hydraulic system. These systems put pressure on a fluid (water, oil, etc.) to work with a piston and generate the energy to create movement. The pressure can be released to reverse that original movement.

Hydraulic Attachments = Hydraulic Systems

The reason the specifics of hydraulics and hydraulic systems are relevant to Arrow is because they make it possible to produce hydraulic attachments. There are hydraulic attachments for many different pieces of equipment like excavators, skid steers, telehandlers and others. At our sister company OE Attachments, we specialize in hydraulic forklift attachments in partnership with KAUP GmbH & Co. KG. For this installment, we will focus on our most popular hydraulic forklift attachments from our OEA Kaup product line.

Fork Positioner

The fork positioner is designed to easily handle loads of different widths. It allows operators to control fork distance and handling capacity without ever leaving the driver’s seat, offering superior safety and versatility over other attachments.

Fork Clamps

Offering additional stability and range, fork clamps allow the operator to handle various pallet types in the safest manner. The fork clamps give the operator the option to select the opening range of the forks and squeeze them together around oddly shaped or hard to grasp items for transport.

Multi-Pallet Handlers

A staple in the food/beverage industry, multi-pallet handlers are the perfect solution for transporting multiple loads at the same time. Combining stability and visibility to essentially double your productivity.

As we progress through this series, we will explore other hydraulic attachments that fit into other categories like safety and productivity as well as hydraulic attachments for other equipment like skid steers and telehandlers. We’ll also explore other elements of hydraulic systems. Stay tuned!

Do you have experience with hydraulics/hydraulic systems? What is your hydraulic attachment of choice? Let us know in the comments!

Why is Process Optimization Important?

process optimization picture

Welcome back to the Arrow MHP blog! As a true dealer partner, we strive to add value to your daily operation outside of engineering quality products for your customers. For this edition, we want to dive into process optimization — why it is important and how to go about improving your processes and ultimately your customer experience.

What is Process Optimization

Process optimization is the practice of incrementally adjusting a business process towards its maximum potential without negatively affecting other parts of the process. The most common goals of process optimization are minimizing costs and maximizing efficiency, common and ongoing goals for almost any business.

Why is Process Optimization Important?

At first glance, it may seem like process optimization is a fancy way of saying “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” However, you could find ways to make small improvements that result in big rewards by examining your processes. Any function of your business can be explored as the “process” in question and evaluated step-by-step to identify areas that have room for improvement. Refreshing the approach can breathe new life into a business that is stuck in its own way or only thinks certain areas are improvement opportunities. Process optimization puts all options back on the table and can be treated like a return to the drawing board.

How should it work?

When embarking on process optimization, you should look at every step of your chosen process while asking questions from the following assessment list found here (or a similar one) to identify potential improvements:

Streamlining

  • Are we using antiquated methods that can be improved with new tools?
  • What repetitive steps can be consolidated?
  • Are some steps blocked by other processes?

Answering these questions and others that come up will get you much closer to having a cohesive process that moves as quickly and efficiently as possible, getting you out of the doing-things-the-way-they-have-always-been-done mentality.

Resource Management

  • Are we wasting money on things that we are not using?
  • Wasting product or resources that could be allocated elsewhere in the process?
  • Are we wasting time?

Identifying wasted money, product and time is critical in optimization because it is going to be the easiest area to see results. Sometimes it can go hand in hand with streamlining and you realize that you are already saving time, but other times it encourages you to be more resourceful and consider everything that you are spending money on as a resource. This mindset can open the door to drastic improvement.

Error Reduction

  • Are there mistakes that are made consistently in this process?
  • What steps carry the most risk for error?
  • Can these errors be corrected during the process or prevented by changing the process?

Correcting common errors in the process you are evaluating can be as simple a tweak that has not been thought of before. Understanding what steps or actions in the process carry the most risk also allows you to insulate those steps and make sure you keep the errors to a minimum. Without evaluation, common errors can just become another part of the process instead of being addressed correctly.

Quality

  • What are the common concerns with our products or services?
  • Do we have to send a lot of replacements or provide refunds for similar issues?
  • Can our products or services be better?

Assessing quality is something every business should do. The keys are to listen to both your customers and internal stakeholders and continuously review your product, services and processes. Identifying areas for improvement before a customer reports a quality issue can save valuable resources in the long run. Proactive improvement is vital to improving overall customer satisfaction.

Satisfaction

  • Are we asking customers what they think?
  • Are more customers satisfied than not satisfied?
  • What do our customers like about us?
  • What can be done to address these concerns?

Customer satisfaction should be objective #1 for any business. If you cannot answer the above questions with insightful information from customers, that is where this step should begin. When you don’t offer a constant repository for feedback, you often only hear negative issues or complaints. By constantly soliciting feedback, you are offering customers a place to share the good, not just the needs improvement. You can use the feedback to replicate the positive experience for more customers or even adjust your target audience if you see trends in the types of customers that are satisfied with you.

What Does It Look Like?

Here is a brief example of what happened when we used process optimization in our daily procedures:

At our corporate manufacturing facility, we constantly handle forklift forks. Between selling and using them, forklift forks have a big footprint on our business. Through conversation and observation, it was realized that the way forks were being handled was not as efficient or safe as it could be. Some of the process optimization checklist items that applied in our case were:

  • Streamlining: Forks are being transported one at a time or having to be touched multiple times to be placed on pallets separately.
  • Resource Management: Pallets were being used unnecessarily; more time was being taken to transport forks; more people had to be involved in the transportation because there was no uniform way of handling forks.
  • Error Reduction: Handling forks different ways always left more room for forks to be dropped or mishandled.

To improve this process, our engineering, production and material handling teams worked together to create a new tool for internal use: “the fork handler”. This new tool transports multiple forks safely at once, and can be used to install forks on a forklift without ever needing to touch the forks by hand. This tool made a positive impact on efficiency and reduced the possibility for several OSHA recordable workplace injuries. Dealers and others who handle forks have shown extreme interest in the fork handler and we are now offering them as a new product – passing on the benefits of our process optimization to end users.

What do you think is the most important step above? Do you have any process optimization success stories to share? Questions about process optimization? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Thanks for supporting the Arrow MHP Blog! Join our email list below to be notified of future blog posts and product updates.

 

Join the Newsletter!

Attachment Awareness 1: Static Attachments

extension boom attachment

Welcome to the Attachment Awareness series! The Awareness series will explore how attachments for various pieces of equipment can improve the overall experience of operation. Throughout this series, we will explore attachments for forklifts, telehandlers and skid steers and the benefits these attachments provide. These benefits include improved safety and increased productivity. Without further ado, let’s learn about some attachments.
Arrow Material Handling Products offers two types of attachments for forklifts: static and hydraulic. This first edition will focus on static attachments and the value they can add to an operation. Static attachments are placed directly on the forks to add new capabilities to the machine. While these are fully manual and require some installation before use, the different functions they offer can transform a piece of equipment into a Swiss Army knife for material handling! Our product experts have highlighted some of their favorite static attachments to give you an idea of the major upgrades these attachments can provide to forklifts:
  • Booms (extension boom pictured above): Used for a variety of purposes, booms can extend reach, handle loads of abnormal shape and manage specific tasks like installing trusses and frames. With a high weight capacity and fully customizable design, booms are a popular static attachment because of their versatility.
  • Carpet Poles: While not quite as universal as booms, these unique attachments have saved many operators headaches and frustration. Trying to carry something long and cylindrical using traditional forks is not only difficult, but also dangerous to the product. Carpet poles allow operators to safely and easily move rolls of carpet and similar items in a fraction of the time.
  • Fork Spreaders (pictured below): These fully customizable attachments are a must have for any facility that is moving loads of different sizes and shapes. Fork spreaders stabilize wide loads and make moving them as easy as sliding the forks in. These are custom made to fit all carriage types and can be used with adjustable carriages for a more versatile experience.
  • Fork Extensions: This heavy-duty attachment is a safe and cost-effective option for extending the reach of forks as well as adding stability to longer loads. High-strength steel works to prevent wear to the extensions while the curved tip design protects people and assets during use. For those not ready to make the jump to hydraulic attachments, these extensions are a great addition to the fleet!

fork spreader attachment

Already have a favorite static attachment? Have questions about the attachments we covered? Let us know in the comments. We want to hear from you!
Our next attachment awareness topic will cover hydraulic attachments for forklifts, which can elevate your fleet to maximum, safe performance. Join our email list below to be notified of future blog posts and product updates.

Join the Newsletter!

When To Replace Forklift Forks

The forklift fork is often overlooked and under-inspected. Many are unaware of how often one should inspect their forks, and how to inspect them. Federal law (OSHA Standards 29 CFR 1910.178) mandates that forklift forks which see around-the-clock use should be inspected on a per-operation basis. As part of a pre-operation inspection, forklift forks should ideally be inspected for signs of cracks, bends, excessive wear or damage to either the fork tine or the positioning lock when using an ITA mounted fork.

What to look for:

1. Excessive wear to the forks Forklift forks decrease in thickness over time due to normal wear. However, any wear to the fork over 10 percent of the total thickness is considered excessive. Forks that show this amount of wear should be replaced.

2. Fractures due to stress or collision Be sure to inspect the forks closely for fractures and gouges. The fork heel and parts of the fork closest to the machine typically receive the most wear. Even small cracks and gouges are signs forks need to be replaced.

3. Damage to the fork tip Since fork tips are usually the first part of the fork to come in contact with material, excessive wear or damage to the tips is a clear indicator the forks should be replaced.

4. Any bends or uneven surfaces on the fork All forks are delivered with a 90 degree angle from the shank to the blade. If any bend or uneven surface is detected on either the blade or shank, the fork(s) need replacing.

5. Difference in fork blade height A difference in the height of each fork blade should stay within 3 percent of the fork length. Therefore if the forks in question are 42 inches long the allowable difference in fork height would be 1.26 inches. Any difference in fork height beyond 1.26 inches is a sign that both forks need to be replaced.

6. Wear or damage to the fork hook Noticeable wear, crushing, pulling, and other deformities are signs that the fork hooks need to be replaced. Furthermore, if the wear to the hook is causing an excessive amount of distance between the fork and the carriage, the hook(s) should be replaced.

7. Wear or damage to positioning lock If a positioning lock is no longer capable of locking completely due to wear the forks should immediately be removed from duty until the part is replaced. Operating without a fully functional positioning lock is a safety hazard and illegal.

When it does come time to replace forklift forks here are some common questions.

1. Can a single fork be replaced or should they be replaced in pairs? While only a single fork might show signs of excessive wear or damage, it is not safe to replace only one fork. It is highly recommended forks be replaced only in pairs to ensure equal performance. Having two different forks with unique amounts of wear and disproportionate hourly usage is provides a number of safety concerns. “Replacing just one fork may seem like a good idea, but can actually lead to serious safety violations.” says Terry Melvin, CEO of Arrow Material Handling Products.

2. Is it ok to make custom repairs or modification to the forks? It is typically recommended that only the fork manufacturer make repairs or modifications to ensure forks meet safety standards. Always contact your fork provider first when in need of modification.

3. How do I determine replacement fork quality? Forks made from high quality boron-carbon alloy high strength steel are rated 20% stronger than those made with 40CR. In addition, forks that are fully immersed into industrial heat treatment ovens and cooling pools are the most durable. Premium quality forklift forks should meet or exceed all ANSI/ITSDF and ISO standards.

Arrow Material Handling Products has been a leading supplier of replacement forks for over 40 years. With North America’s largest stock of forklift forks and an expert sales team, Arrow specializes in customer care and quick turnaround.

A Guide to Replacing Skid Steer Buckets

One foot on the top of the bucket, the other in the cab, turn around, roll cage down, take a seat, parking break off, ignition engaged, you peer out over the edge of the bucket…dang. There it is.

The cutting edge of the bucket is curled back, worn out, and ready to be replaced.

Sudden expenses are always frustrating and this is no different. However, with better technique, a few industry tips, and some preventative steps, forecasting future bucket issues will become easier and you can increase the lifespan of your bucket.

Proactive Purchasing

The very best way to avoid unexpected bucket issues starts with the purchase process. Matching bucket capacity and size to the machine is critical to optimal bucket performance, as is quality materials and construction.

Choosing the Right Bucket


Bucket Capacity

Bucket width should be at least as wide as the outside width of the tires or tracks loader. If not you will not be able to dig or scoop in one pass. The tires or tracks will ride up on the material and the bucket will not remove that material. In contrast, buckets that exceed the capacity rating of the machine risk imbalance and tipping due to load size. In addition, larger buckets can handicap the operator’s vision if installed on a smaller machine.

Bucket Construction

Steel is important. The quality of the steel, the thickness of the steel, and the process the steel goes through when being made are at the foundation of a good quality bucket. High-quality steel resists wear and lasts longer increasing the lifespan and productivity of a bucket. Beyond the steel, there are both some design and reinforcement elements to look out for.

Bucket Design

Certain telltale design elements can be found on high-quality buckets that will indicate the longevity of the bucket design. Tubular construction of the upper lift and hardened edges are clear indicators the bucket in question was built to last. Also look for a radius bottom. This allows for material to curl at the back of the bucket providing a more even load and increasing lifespan.

Bucket Reinforcement

In addition to the construction and design of the bucket, a variety of reinforcement plates are sometimes added to high-quality buckets to enhance durability. Look for reinforcement plates on the heel, sides, and radius of the bucket. Skid plates are also sometimes added to the bottom of a bucket to reduce wear

Choosing The Right Accessories

The Cutting Edge

The most common location of excessive wear on a skid steer bucket is at the cutting edge. When the cutting edge grinds against hard surfaces like asphalt or concrete the center wears unevenly, resulting in a scallop shape.

Option #1: Weld-On Cutting Edge – Technically, every bucket comes with a weld on cutting edge, however, when excessive wear causes the cutting edge to recede into the bucket, replacement can exceed the total cost of the bucket.

Option #2: Bolt-On Reversible Cutting Edge – These replaceable cutting edges can be reversed before the edge scallops back into the bucket. Once both sides wear completely, the edge can be replaced.

Quick tip – Don’t try to reuse the bolts when reversing the bolt on edge, as the threads get damaged in use and the bolts won’t be reusable. Instead, just cut them off with a torch and replace.

Bucket Teeth

On tooth buckets, the tooth shank is welded to the weld-on cutting edge. Here, the use of a weld-on cutting edge is common because bucket teeth receive all the wear, therefore protecting the cutting edge. Bucket Teeth attach by pin or crimp on to a shank. Pin on style teeth are typically recommended, are easy to change, and are less likely to dislodge while in use. Regular inspection of these teeth is recommended. On a general purpose tooth, if the flat is missing or worn back to the shank, it needs to be replaced.

Quick Tip – Don’t use a tooth bucket with missing teeth. This will wear out the shank and the tooth will not fit properly when replaced. It’s best to keep extra teeth on-hand and replace them as needed.

Maintenance and Technique

Bucket Inspections

Inspections are critical to the ongoing upkeep and maintenance of both your machine and attachments. Being aware of cracks, stress fractures, excessive wear, loose hoses, dirt buildup in or around hydraulic fittings, and damage to hydraulic hoses makes identifying and fixing future problems easier. The bucket coupler is the most commonly damaged part of the skid-steer bucket. Scott Clevenger, Vice President of Sales at Arrow Acquisition LLC. stated,

“This is where the bucket connects to the skid loader and requires a good solid fit. If cracked or extremely loose, don’t use it. Have a welder repair it or maybe it’s time for a new bucket. Don’t let mud or other debris build up in this area or in the pin holes at the bottom of the coupler. Keeping this area clean will only make your job a lot easier when it’s time to change out to a different attachment.”

When Grading

It’s all in the technique. Pressure is probably the most important factor when grading with a bucket. Too much pressure and you’ll find it hard to grade with any kind of finesse, also you’ll wear down the bottom of the bucket. Speed is also a factor. Grading too fast can cause unnecessary damage and wear due to collisions with unseen and sometimes immovable objects.

When Back Dragging

Similar to grading, pressure is key. Again, too much and this time the cutting edge will bear the brunt of the damage. A popular way around this snafu is to both practice, and utilize your machine’s “float” function if equipped. The float function disables hydraulic flow to the vertical lift of your machine. This means the weight of both the arms and the bucket will fall to the ground allowing the bucket to move, or float, over the contours of the terrain. Keep the speed in check and avoid impact as much as possible.

Looking for a durable high quality and heavy duty skid steer, tractor, or wheel loader bucket? Arrow Material Handling products manufactures a wide variety of buckets for multiple applications. Arrow’s high-quality materials and an expert sales staff combined with the largest inventory in North America and custom capabilities mean customers get expert advice, quality product in an industry-leading turnaround time. Call Arrow today at 913-495- 4800 or visit Arrow online at ArrowMHP.com to locate your nearest Arrow Material Handling Products dealer.

 

Hydraulic Attachments by Arrow’s sister company, OE Attachments, can make your customers more efficient and minimize downtime due to maintenance. Our engineered attachments offer the quality you’ve come to expect from Arrow with several models in-stock and ready to ship!

Learn More