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Forklift Side Shift

Could a Forklift Side Shift Improve Productivity?

Forklift side shift

A side shift is a forklift component that allows a driver to move forks carrying a heavy load left or right during forklift operation. While this function may seem simple, it's critical for forklift maneuvers in tight spaces.

A forklift side shift can be used to reposition heavy loads on shelves or racks without having to move the actual truck. A side shift can adjust loads in cramped warehouse aisles that may prove dangerous with manual lifting.

Common uses for a forklift side shift

Today, many side shifts are built into forklifts by manufacturers to provide extra precision in lifting and lowering heavy loads. If a forklift doesn't come with a side shift, it can be fitted as an extra attachment or accessory.

If a side shift is added to a lift truck as an attachment, it will change a truck's lift capacity rating. A side shift attachment will add weight to a lift truck to disturb its load center. A change in lift capacity rating means that a truck may not be able to carry as heavy of loads without the risk of tipping.

A forklift side shifter may be used to:

  • Shift loads in tight spaces
  • Move heavy equipment more precisely
  • Position cargo when loading/unloading
  • Align truck load with forklift pallets

The greatest advantage in a side shifter is its ability to move from side to side without the need to move the lift truck. An attachment like a side shifter can offer more accurate fork positioning and can reduce fuel consumption by eliminating unnecessary truck movement. In most cases, a side shifter attachment will offer faster loading and unloading times for daily tasks since forks can shift to unload directly from pallets.

Forklift side shifter pricing

Forklift side shifters are rated by class, starting at Class II with a 5500 pound capacity for $1791. A Class IV side shifter with a 15,000 pound capacity may cost up to $4124.

Prices for forklifts with built-in side shift attachments will vary greatly, depending on make, model, load capacity, and features. A side shift forklift without all the bells and whistles may cost as little as $8000, up to $23,000 for a more advanced machine.

For many forklift operators looking for a cost-effective upgrade, a side shift attachment is worth the investment. Instead of paying to replace an entire truck, costing thousands of dollars, a side shift add-on can be used to improve loading speed and precision. If truck replacement isn't an option in the near future, a low-cost side shift attachment can provide ROI in fuel savings and improved productivity and safety.