Hay Hay Hay: Bale Clamp Attachments and Hay Handling Equipment
by Trey Barber, on September 12, 2022 at 1:18 PM
Which weighs more: a ton of bricks or a ton of feathers? As any school kid will tell you, it’s a trick question. They weigh the same. But that doesn’t mean they can be transported the same.
You may not be moving tons of feathers around your warehouse. But a bale clamp attachment might be right for you if you move anything more delicate than a ton of bricks. Read on to learn what bale clamps can do for you.
Benefits of Bale Clamps
Bale clamp forklifts are a broad class of material handling equipment that excels in handling delicate material. The grip design of the clamp arms allows the forklift to firmly grip even fragile material without damaging it. Delicate is a relative term used here to describe any material that might be damaged by excessive force. This includes:
- Agricultural products (such as cotton or wool)
- Foam rubber
- Paper products
- Rags and recycled fabrics
- Recycled plastics
- Scrap metal
- And many other materials
The gentle grip of the arms then allows the bale clamp forklift’s lifting power to move heavy quantities of the material. This increases the efficiency of transporting products that would otherwise need to be carried by hand to avoid damage.
Bale clamps are also used to move oddly shaped material that doesn’t box or pallet well. For example, it’s difficult and inefficient to box or pallet scrap metal. But a bale clamp can move bundles of it with ease.
Types of Bale Clamps
Bale clamps, in general, are pretty multipurpose. However, it is best to select a bale clamp designed to meet your specific needs whenever possible.
As you might guess, the bale clamp is the typical clamp used in most configurations. It excels at handling textiles, plastics, cotton, wool, and many other materials. It can even handle pulp bales.
Pulp Bale Clamp
A specialized clamp is a strong choice if your warehouse handles many pulp bales. Pulp bale clamps are very similar to typical bale clamps. But their grip design allows the clamp to secure even easily crushed paper pulp.
Recycling clamps are a little less delicate than your typical bale clamp. They have a more robust grip configuration designed to secure less fragile materials such as scrap metal.
As the name suggests, multi-purpose clamps are designed to transport a wide range of materials. Where other clamps use steel bars in their grip design, these clamps use broad rubber strips for grip. These provide a gentle grip suitable for many materials and are a great choice when other clamps don’t quite meet your needs.
Hay Handling Equipment
Hay handling equipment is an area of bale clamp attachments that deserves its own discussion. Hay is the fourth most valuable crop in Washington State. And its production requires specialized bale clamp forklift equipment.
Hay clamps are specialized bale clamps designed to handle hay specifically. Their arms open wide and have a slight curve to them. This allows them to grip squared or rounded hay bales with ease.
Models billed as hay squeezes are a variation that uses straight, thin arms. Their design allows them to move a high volume of bales at once. These are great for loading and unloading trucks, as their size and slim arm profile maximize their efficiency.
Livestock feed is the most common use of hay. Thus, it is ruined if contaminated with even the slightest bit of forklift grease. Hay handling equipment designs use composite bushings to avoid grease and other contaminants coming into contact with the hay. This vital difference makes specialized hay handling equipment crucial for any business moving hay.
Features of a Quality Bale Clamp
The material you’re moving will play a big role in determining what features you prioritize in your bale clamps. Below are a few typical features to consider when making your selection.
Space is money in any warehouse. A thin arm profile allows a bale clamp to work with little space between bales. This saves precious inches and enables you to make the most of your warehouse space.
The material you’re handling will influence the grip design you’ll want from your bale clamps. For example, the robust grip bars of a recycling clamp could damage a bale of textiles. But jagged scrap metal could damage the rubberized surface of a multi-purpose clamp.
Sideshifters save time no matter what your forklift is picking up. Sideshifter attachments on bale clamps allow the operator to quickly line up the clamp without painstakingly realigning the forklift. This saves an enormous amount of time when moving irregularly shaped bales.
Rotators make it easy to reposition bales. Many bales benefit from being able to lay on any side. With a rotator, you can turn bales over until they are in the best position for your space.
Bale clamps aren’t suitable for every warehouse. And there are OSHA regulations surrounding what modifications can be made to your existing forklifts. But for many industries, they are indispensable.
If you want to learn more about bale clamps and hay handling equipment, ask an expert at Mid-Columbia Forklift if they are right for your business. Contact us online or reach out to one of our dealerships by phone:
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