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September 10, 2020

Is Your Bulk Bag Lifting Device Tested & Certified?

Many firms hope to save a few bucks by going with a less expensive model for their bulk bag lifting adapters or spreader bars. 

But as with so many things, the old adage applies here: You get what you pay for.

Money saved on a lower-quality unit today could end up costing you later, in the form of OSHA violations or workers’ compensation claims.

All spreader bars must be OSHA-compliant, so it’s important to know what to look for. It’s also essential to keep up with required inspections to avoid fines and accidents over the life of the product.

FormPak’s bulk bag lifting adapters are designed and shaped by our in-house Professional Engineer. All of our units are subject to rigorous testing and certification to meet ASME’s below-the-hook lifting device standard.

ASME B30.20 & ASME BTH-1 Standards

To achieve certification from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, FormPak’s spreader bars undergo a load-to-failure test using a SATEC Universal Tester. A follow-up engineering letter attests to the maximum capacity of the lifting device. Each unit must be visually inspected annually and proof tested every five years. 

When it comes to lifting devices, the two most important standards for both manufacturers and purchasers are ASME B30.20 and ASME BTH-1

  • ASME B30.20 outlines many requirements for a variety of below-the-hook lifting devices. These include construction, installation, inspection, testing, maintenance and operation standards, along with required markings for each unit.
  • ASME BTH-1 establishes minimum design criteria for ASME B30.20 lifting devices. Requirements include structural and mechanical design standards and criteria for the selection of electrical components.

Requirements for Below-the-Hook Lifting Devices

At a bare minimum, lifting devices must be OSHA- and AMSE-compliant. Here are some of the specific characteristics to look for when shopping for spreader bars

  • Rated load markings: The unit’s rated load must be legibly marked on the device, or present on a tag attached to the unit.
  • Identification and/or tags: A nameplate or permanent marking must contain a unique serial number along with the manufacturer’s name and address. The unit’s rated load, ASME BTH-1 Design Category and AMSE BTH-1 Service Class must be present. For lifters weighing over 100 pounds, the weight must be listed. Some units must also list cold current amps and rated voltage. 
  • Below-the-hook design category: Category A pertains to units designed for a predictable and/or consistent magnitude and variation of loads, and accurately-defined or non-severe environmental conditions. Category B indicates that magnitude and variation of loads are not predictable and that environmental conditions are either severe or not accurately defined. 
  • BTH Service Class: This gives you an estimate of the service life of the lifting device. It’s based on the number of load cycles per day and the total load cycles the unit is designed to withstand.
  • Product safety labels: These may be affixed to the product, available on the manufacturer’s website or both. The labels include rules for safe operation and warnings against improper usage. 
  • Welding requirements: FormPak and other reputable manufacturers will ensure that all welding is compliant, so that you as the purchaser don’t have to worry about this step. Welding must comply with ASME BTH-1 and ANSI/AWS D14.1 Specification for Welding of Industrial and Mill Cranes and Other Material Handling Equipment.

It’s also essential to stay up-to-date with required inspections and documentation after purchase. Below-the-hook lifting devices are often ignored when safety and compliance teams are reviewing lifting programs. Routine inspections should always take place prior to and during use.

Frequent inspections are required monthly for devices subject to normal service, weekly to monthly for heavy service and daily to weekly for severe service. Periodic inspections should take place annually under normal service conditions, semi-annually for heavy service and quarterly for severe service. Devices used infrequently should be inspected as recommended by a qualified professional. 

Choosing a Quality Bulk Bag Lifting Device

Besides meeting stringent ASME requirements, FormPak’s crane adapters and other spreader bars closely follow FIBCA’s approved lifting method for bulk bags. Each unit easily lifts the industry-standard two metric ton heavy bulk bag, also known as Super Sacks, Big Bags or FIBC bags. 

A special labyrinth arrangement prevents lift loops from coming off the unit. The operator can easily place and remove the bag loops in a single step. The overall result is easier, safer and more efficient bulk bag unloading and discharge operations. 

Are you looking for safe, heavy-duty spreader bars that meet the industry’s toughest standards? Contact us at FormPak today!