You remember getting your first Swiss Army knife as a kid. In your pocket, you suddenly had seven or eight tools at your disposal, all in one handy unit. Clearly, doing real and tangible work even with that little knife played a part in setting you on the path you’re on today, working in the construction and demolition industries.

The excavator, in its way, is sort of like a really big Swiss Army knife. Thanks to the dizzying number of attachments that it can take on, this amazing machine can complete a multitude of necessary tasks on the job site by changing attachments as necessary. Yes, the excavator can still excavate with the best of them, but by swapping out the usual bucket for one of many grapples, an excavator can go from digging to lifting with ease—though perhaps not as easy as toggling that little multi-tool. Today, we’ll take a closer look at the different types of industrial grapple attachments and their uses on traditional excavators.

Orange Peel Grapples

First, let’s sort out the adjectives here. The name has nothing to do with the color of the unit, nor does this attachment do any peeling. Rather, this industrial grapple model gets its name from its resemblance to an orange peel—not one of those uber-fancy spiral cuts you’d learn from a culinary tutorial, mind you, but simply that traditional four-quarter cut that lets you get to the good stuff within. An excavator orange peel grapple, too, helps you get to the good stuff by extracting large scrap from a pile with unmatched strength. Set 90 degrees apart from one another, the four tines of an orange peel grapple converge to place maximum pressure on a target, raising up a sizable piece of scrap while allowing smaller detritus to fall. It’s some of the tightest gripping you can get from a grapple. Painting it orange to match its name, however, would probably be an unnecessary extravagance.

Demolition Grapples

These grapples don’t handle with care. When you deploy a demolition grapple, the objective is to lift, remove, and tear down heavy and stubborn material without doing damage to your equipment. These heavy-duty grapples often feature the strongest construction of any similar attachment, implementing maximum-strength steel bodies with chromium-tipped rods. Demolition grapples from Moley Magnetics also feature specially treated tine tips for withstanding wear at the most sensitive points of the grapple.

Magnet Grapple

The four pressure points of an orange peel grapple give it more gripping and lifting power—that’s just physics. A magnet grapple builds upon an orange peel grapple by combining physics and magnetics. With a similar appearance to the orange peel, a magnet grapple receives a charge from a 24-volt battery to lift up ferrous metals both large and small. Its magnetic field can do a little cleanup duty on a pile, picking up the smaller bits that larger grapples would leave behind while still capturing the big pieces.

Material Handler Grapples

Not all industrial grapples are about lifting with brute force and indiscriminate targets. Some grapple models do value precision and accuracy in their work. Material handlers are one such example. These grapples are a variation on orange peels that feature a somewhat finer touch, making them the right choice for picking up and putting down items such as railroad ties, other wooden objects, and irregularly shaped materials that would take unnecessary damage from the tighter grips of other grapples. As for railroad ties, however, some applications may call for an even more specific attachment.

Railroad Grapples

Meet the truck-crane railroad grapple, a purpose-built attachment that grips railroad ties especially well for both replacing and maintaining railroads already in place and laying down new trackage. Moley Magnetics’ railroad grapples come in two styles: the bypass style, in which the tines cross over each other and interlock to cradle a railroad tie as they grip, or the butt style, in which the tines come to a point and exert pressure upon the tie as they lift and place it. This attachment is invaluable if you’re in the railroad construction industry or planning to enter it. With the increased need for repairing and expanding our national infrastructure, it’s a business you should consider.

Truck Crane Grapples

To this point, we’ve provided information on grapples for full-sized excavators—those enormous Swiss Army knives of the construction and demolition world. However, not every job site can accommodate a full-sized excavator. Smaller models call for smaller grapples, and our truck crane grapples provide lifting capacity for those smaller excavators as well as boom trucks. Using orange-peel construction to provide high pressure even at a smaller size, these junior partners to your usual attachments can still handle respectable capacities in tighter quarters or on smaller jobs.

Rock Grapples

How do you move a giant boulder when saying “open sesame” doesn’t magically do the trick? Here is an industrial grapple at its most durable—the rock grapple, which features abrasion-resistant steel to deal with the rough surfaces of rocks, boulders, and other encumbrances on your job site. Both the grapple’s body and tines stand up to their targets in ways that other grapples might not. If you have to deal with large stone removal, you’ll need this attachment in your arsenal. With rock grapples from Moley Magnetics, you may not move mountains, but you’ll do the next best thing.

Start Shopping and Start Grappling

Having completed this overview of the types of industrial grapple attachments and their uses, it’s time to put your new knowledge to use. The construction and demolition industries rely on each of these attachments for specific jobs, and at Moley Magnetics, we keep those industries supplied by stocking each one of them. In our full catalog of excavator grapple attachments, you’ll find orange peel, demolition, magnet, truck crane, rock, and railroad grapples for your excavators and boom trucks. Grapple attachments from Moley Magnetics back up their durable construction with extensive warranties and service after the sale, ensuring that each purchase you make is a lasting and meaningful one. Look through our selection and see what grabs you.

Types of Industrial Grapple Attachments and Their Uses