Attachment purchases seem simple… until your
attachment doesn’t perform as you expect. You invest a lot of
money in equipment to get the job done and an incorrect attachment
purchase will waste money. In today’s economy, every ounce of
productivity squeezed from your equipment provides more flexibility
to profitably run your business. If attachment purchasers make
their choices solely on price, critical issues that define the
true attachment value might be ignored. Common poor choices include
buying attachments that are the wrong size, too low quality for
your application, or not compatible with your machine and application.
Knowing the right facts and questions to ask can make the process
“A lot of buyers make the mistake of trying to gain a certain
productivity level without proper consideration of machine and
attachment compatibility,” said Jamie Adams, product manager
for JRB Attachments, a Paladin Construction Group brand. “Most
operators are smart and know what their machine can handle, but
even the most experienced operators run into trouble when switching
between multiple applications and attachments on a regular basis.
It’s important to know your application and machine and then
discuss it with a dealer you trust to ensure your safety and
achieve the best productivity for your money.”
Some attachment purchasers prefer to buy through low cost avenues.
While they often get burned due to a lack of serviceability and
the low quality of these attachments, the biggest mistake they
make is not taking advantage of the application knowledge of
a qualified dealer.
Dealers know what will work on your equipment because they talk
with customers every day, and often work directly with multiple
manufacturers. And don’t forget about the inevitable – all equipment,
including attachments, sometimes requires service. Because every
hour that your attachment isn’t working for you counts, dealers
that have strong service capabilities will move your projects
along faster. If you go the low-cost route, you will often lose
more money repairing a low-quality attachment than you saved
on the purchase price. Consider using a reputable manufacturer
and dealer in your purchasing decision for the lowest overall
Make your attachment purchase easier by knowing these simple
- Application – Know your material density and/or job requirements.
If possible, bring a small sample to the dealership. It’s also
important to know how you will be using the attachment. For example,
do you need to work at specific heights or angles?
- Cycle time – Know the required speed to get the task done
on time and the estimated amount of travel needed to get around
the job site with the attachment.
- General machine specs – Know the equipment model numbers,
tip load, lift/weight capacities and any other basic information
for all machines the attachment will be working with. In addition,
know the non-standard features on each machine (e.g., changes
to hydraulics, tires, engine, etc.).
- Hydraulic capabilities – If your attachment requires hydraulics,
make sure you know your machine’s hydraulic flow (gpm) and pressure
(psi) output capabilities. In addition, make sure you understand
your hydraulic plumbing, the number of outlets and its function
capabilities. Not all machines have a third or fourth hydraulic
function capability and yet a lot of attachments require this.
- Mounting ability – Dealers may assume you have a universal
coupler, especially for skid steers and compact wheel loaders.
If you have a quick coupler, know the brand and model, and bring
the serial number of the coupler if available. When possible,
bring a photo.
Quality and reputation are always important. Sometimes thinking
ahead about what you might need in the future can save a lot
of headache. Some questions to ask your dealer include:
1. Have you seen this brand of attachment succeed or fail in
other customer applications? If so, what applications?
2. What repair capability do you have on this attachment and
do you stock all replacement parts? If you don’t carry the parts,
how quickly can you get them?
3. Does the manufacturer of this attachment specialize in this
application or is this just something they manufacture or merely
buy to complete their line? Is this attachment and/or application
one where they have a proven reputation for quality?
4. What would you estimate is the overall cost of ownership of
Find an attachment manufacturer that has a proven history for
quality in your application. Once you find a reputable manufacturer,
you will have the confidence in the quality of its attachments
when making future purchasing decisions. A broad product line
is also important. The more a manufacturer makes and specializes
in, the better chance you have of finding a lifetime attachment
brand partner for all of your attachment needs.
Many manufacturers and dealers compile guides that are sorted
by brand, model or machine size, and/or attachment, so you can
easily match the proper machine and attachments. Dealers are
still the best source for help because they know other specialty
information. For example, it’s important when buying two or more
attachments that will work together (e.g., thumbs and quick couplers)
to buy them at the same time so compatibility isn’t an issue.
With the many brands and coupler systems available, finding the
perfect match is easier this way. Remember…whether you’re buying
forks, buckets or any other type of attachment make sure they
are designed for your specific industry or application.
Be sure to talk with your dealer about the best way to accomplish
a job. Not all attachments are ideal for all equipment types.
When in doubt, using the rental avenue is a good way to decide
the best attachment option for your business. Renting first can
help you decide the ideal fit for your application.
Using the correct attachments wisely and effectively for your
particular application is the first step toward completing your
job safely, on-time and on-budget.