The use of a slipsheet handling program requires modifications to the standard forklift trucks. However, these modifications are relatively minor and relate to attachments to the forklift trucks so facilitate slipsheeted load handling.
Attachments to forklift trucks and powered walkies are used to handle slipsheeted loads. There are also some forklifts which have been designed to handle only slipsheeted loads.
An attachment to the forklift truck for handling slipsheeted loads is usually known as a "push‐pull" device. The attachment consists of a horizontal support platform at the normal position of the forks of the forklift and a mechanism for pushing off loads from the support platform and for pulling loads on to the platform (and hence the term "push‐pull").Control of the push‐pull attachment is achieved usually through the normal hydraulic system of the forklift.
To move a load, the gripper is extended towards the tab of the slipsheet underneath the load. When in position, the gripper grips the tab.
The gripper is then pulled back, pulling the load onto the support platform for lifting and removal.
To deposit a load, it is held in position by the pusher plate while the support platform is withdrawn by backing the forklift away.
The growth of slipsheet handling around the world has resulted in more specialised slipsheet handling equipment being manufactured and sold. There is now a range of equipment offering different capabilities and capacities. The table below gives an indication of the costs of some configurations of handling equipment for slipsheeted loads [*].
Table showing Equipment costs for slipsheet materials handling
Operation of the slipsheet attachment to a forklift truck is an acquired skill. The amount of training varies depending on the how the attachment is operated. Many manufacturers of the attachments or of the total forklift equipment provide instructional material on the necessary techniques and skills required.
Initially, the inexperienced operator would not have the same productivity with a slipsheet attachment as he would with the standard forks. But with experience the skill developed will lead to a level of productivity comparable with what is achievable with the standard forks.
To increase the success of any materials handling program using the slipsheet technique, operator training is required. In any case, it should be included as part of the evaluation process of a slipsheet program.
Reference: * Schwind, Gene (editor), "Slipsheets: A Technology Whose Time Has Come", publication unknown.