Handling with Care

Features - Scrap Handling Equipment Focus

A new version of ASME’s B30.25 standard will provide guidelines and recommendations for the safe design, operation and maintenance of scrap and material handlers.

June 6, 2013
Kristin Smith

Mark Osborne takes the safety of material handling seriously as evidenced by his role in developing standards for the material handling equipment sector. The president of E-Crane International USA, Galion, Ohio, is chairman of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Subcommittee B30.25.

The ASME writes codes and safety standards that the engineering community adhere to. Osborne was a founding member of the B30.25 Subcommittee, which was started more than 15 years ago. At the time, Osborne recalls there was no standard that really fit the scrap and material handling business. As production of excavators from companies like Caterpillar, John Deere and Case Construction were converted into lifting machines for scrap handling, “there was no safety standard that worked,” he says. “Nothing made sense for that class of equipment under the B30 umbrella.”

Subcommittee B30.25 is specifically focused on scrap and material handlers. These standards apply to all material handlers that are made up of a base, revolving upper structure, operator station and front for lifting scrap or other materials using attachments like magnets or grapples.

Crawler-, rail-, wheel- or pedestal-mounted scrap and material handlers are all included in the standard set by the ASME B30.25 Subcommittee.

According to Osborne, the industry wanted to have its own safety standard for this type of hydraulically powered material handling equipment. The subcommittee was formed in 1996 and for the past three years Osborne has been chairman of the subcommittee. In 2012 he was re-elected and is serving another three-year term.

ASME Subcommittee B30.25 will publish a new edition of the standard later this year. Osborne discusses the purpose of the standard and what will be addressed in the new version with Recycling Today.

Recycling Today (RT): What is ASME B30.25?

Mark Osborne (MO): B30.25 is a safety standard specific to scrap and material handlers. It is one of 28 safety standards developed under the B30 charter. This volume contains provisions that apply to construction, installation operations, inspection, testing, maintenance and use of scrap and material handlers.

The charter of the main ASME B30 Standards Committee on Cranes and Related Equipment is to develop, maintain and interpret safety codes and standards covering various aspects of cranes and related equipment.

Each volume has been written under the direction of the ASME B30 Standards Committee and has completed a consensus approval process under the direction of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

B30.25 is approximately 30 pages and is a general safety standard that covers a little bit of the construction of the equipment but it is more on operations, maintenance, operator qualifications and just a place that you can look to see other standards that are more specific, like lifting capacity calculation methods.

This committee is very important in the scheme of things. It is a group of volunteers from manufacturers and other interested industries who volunteer to write a safety standard that covers this type of equipment. I don’t think there is any other standard that comes close in the world for this kind of hydraulically powered material handling equipment.

The subcommittee is made of up representatives from various manufacturers of scrap and material handlers, plus a smaller number of general industry members. These members could be from an insurance company, or a trade organization in a related field.

We have our disagreements; but, we have one goal, and that is to create a safer machine. A certain manufacturer may have his own bias and may not want to change or conform. We are quite careful not to let one manufacturer influence the standard more than he should. It should be made up of a diverse group of people. We have someone from Caterpillar, Liebherr, LBX and E-Crane on the committee.

RT: Who is the standard developed for?

MO: It should be for both the owners or the operators of this equipment as well as be a benefit to the manufacturers. It provides a standardized control scheme, so if you sit down in the cab of a material handler and you push the joystick to the left, it is going to swing left. A lot of them have a hydraulically movable operator’s cab, which could be a potentially hazardous area. We spent a lot of time on that.

There are numerous design and construction characteristics that are referenced in this standard, such as nomenclature, lifting capacity/rating methods, control layout, cab construction, inspection procedures, maintenance procedures, operator qualifications and hand signals.

It is very minimal in regard to design. There are a few exceptions on the operators cab and layout of the controls. We leave the design to the manufacturers. It is more about having a consistent nomenclature, inspection, maintenance and operator qualifications.

In the brand new edition of this standard, there is a lot of new information as it relates to inspections, maintenance and the responsibilities of the owner of this equipment to have qualified individuals who take care of it and qualified individuals who operate it. It quantifies responsibilities of the owner, the operators and the maintenance people. Those are important changes. It is important to have safety standards and a document you can refer to.

It doesn’t take the place of a maintenance manual, that’s for sure, but it is a general safety standard. It is a collection of facts and definitions. I think it is more guidance for an owner/operator to set up his own program and a checklist of what is important and who is responsible.

RT: What necessitated the update?

MO: We publish every five years. As part of our job as a committee we also interpret questions for the industry. We had some questions about who was responsible to do what. It was part of a global change throughout the B30 subgroups to be consistent in how we deal with these subjects. It was more of a directive from B30 to put more of an emphasis on responsibilities. All the B30 subgroups have to be consistent in how we deal with at least these subjects.

It is a copyrighted document. ASME is a nonprofit organization. It sells its standards at a cost of approximately $50. The new version will be published in the fall.

There is a rigorous approval process when writing this new content. It has to go out by ballot to all of the B30 committee members, and we can’t go forward unless we have 100 percent concurrence/approval. We have to make changes and reballot and we finally did it. We got through that whole exercise earlier this year.

There are three main chapters. The first one is Construction and Characteristics. It talks about lift capacity for example. If you have a material handler on crawlers, you can have a capacity of up to a maximum of 75 percent of a load that would cause a tipping condition and it can’t exceed that. There are other percentages based on how it is mounted. In addition to lift capacity percentages of stability, backwards stability is covered. Then it goes into some of the control functions. All functions need to be clearly labeled. The second chapter is titled Inspection Testing and Maintenance, and the third chapter is Operations.

The subcommittee has spent a lot of time in the construction / characteristics of the operators cab and controls. We feel it is important that operators can go from one manufacturer’s equipment to another with a confidence that the basic control layout is fundamentally the same. That way if you sit down in a cab from a different manufacturer you don’t have to guess.

The next edition of the standard B30.25 will be published in 2013. There are a significant number of global changes to organize this volume consistently with the other volumes. We also spent significant time improving the inspection and maintenance sections defining responsibilities of owners and operators.

RT: How might standards put in place by the subcommittee change or evolve in the coming years?

MO: We expect this standard will be picked up nationally under the code of federal regulations, as is the case with B30.5, the standard for Mobile and Locomotive Cranes.

If the standard is used, you are bound to get someone asking for an interpretation. Interpretations will drive it as well as feedback from people who read it.

I think there are a few technical things that will happen too. This only applies to hydraulic machines. In today’s world, most of these machines don’t have any safety holding valve. In the event it would fail, you could lose control of the boom. The only way the cylinder can retract is for this special valve to be piloted open with a special system. I think that will become a code for this type of equipment for the future.


Mark Osborne is president of E-Crane International USA, Galion, Ohio, and chairman of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Subcommittee B30.25. He can be reached at mark.osborne@e-crane.com. More information on the standard can be found at www.asme.org.