Spreader Bar Rating Plates

Part of being OH&S or OSHA compliant is having a rating plate on your lifting equipment. This is often a forget part when quoting or building spreader bars and can be difficult for some shops to execute on. Building rating plates takes a slightly different skill set and different machines then it takes to build the equipment themselves.

Lets see what the code actually says:

ASME B30.20 under section 20-1.2.1 Marking states the following needs to be on all lifting equipment:
  • Rated load
  • Manufactures name and address
  • Serial number
  • Lifter weight, if over 100lbs (45kg)
  • Cold current amps when applicable
  • Rated voltage/amps when applicable
  • ASME BTH-1 Design category
  • ASME BTH-1 Service Class

If you buy lifting equipment drawings off us at the Basepoint Store information will generally come in the form of a table on the cover page of the drawings here is an example:

It is common to have some confusion over who the manufacturer is. This can be especially true if a retail rigging shop is getting the bar built at a local manufacturer- who’s name goes on the bar? I usually allow a lot of flexibility on this front and list the manufacturer as the company that wants to keep all the information on file and answer the phone call if there is questions or problem. In the past when I manufactured bars at the wholesale level and I would list my company as the manufacture but brand the rest of the bar for the customer (paint color decals etc) and no one would ever ignore the branding and look at the rating plate and then phone us so I wouldn’t be too concerned about loosing business because of the name in this spot.

For serial number it is really up to the manufacturer to decide but I often use the model number and append it with the sequential number of the unit being produced. So, in the example above it would be 10FE05-04-06-001. What ever the system you decide you need to track the serial number on a unit by unit basis so some system needs to be in place.

Making Rating Plates:

Over the years I have used a few different techniques for manufacturing rating plates. By far the best looking rating plate was an anodized aluminum name plate. You can order these online or locally. They take a laser engraver/etcher to produce which you can spend a lot of money on if you want to build them yourself. To make these work we would weld a ¼” plate roughly the same size as the rating plate with 4 tapped holes in it on the lifting beam so these could be bolted on after. Riveting can also work well especially if it’s a blind one sided rivet but be sure the engineer is okay with your drilling holes into a structural member before you do this. In my experience you are paying $15-$60 per rating plate depending on quantity and how fast you need it.

"borrowed without permission from Express: https://www.expresscorp.com/Industrial-Nameplates/Industrial-Nameplates “

We also produced many rating plates using a CNC milling machine or with hammer and punch sets. We did this before we got serious about producing lifting equipment. We had the manufacturing tools and some spare steel so it wasn’t such a big deal to machine a rating plate. The finished product doesn’t look nearly as sharp as the weight of machined letters tends to be large and takes a lot of space to get the information on it. This is also a expensive way for most people to make rating plates because you are paying for an expensive machine and programming to make each rating plate. I have paid up to $100 per rating plate for this style.

Lastly, I have never tried this but I think a semi-permanent aluminum foil sticker could also be sufficient for rating plates. For structural inspections we adhere a special aluminum foil sticker to the equipment we inspect and then write the details with a ball point pen on the sticker. These stickers have no problem lasting the year between inspections and depending on wear can last many years. If you can re-adhere the sticker on request or during the annual inspection I think this is a solution that could happen for less than $1.  I might put these on our online store but in the meantime you can get something similar from http://www.screencraft.ca/

Above and beyond the rating plate ASME B30.20 also requires warning lables. This is what the code says: “Where the size and shape of the lifter allow, all lifters shall have labels, affixed to them in a readable position, that include appropriate single word, according to ANSI A535.4 that include cautionary language to provide danger warning or caution to operators and others against:

  • Exceeding the rated load, or lifting loads not specified in the instruction manual
  • Operating a damaged or malfunctioning unit
  • Lifting people
  • Lifting suspended loads over people
  • Leaving loads unattended
  • Removing or obscuring warning labels
  • Operating without having read and understood the operating manual
  • Not staying clear of the suspended load
  • Lifting loads higher than necessary
  • Making alterations or modifications to lifters

Hopefully that gets you thinking about rating plates and maybe there will be less chance that the rating plate gets forgotten on future builds. Thanks for taking the time to read this article. If you are hungry for more content you can read a bit about the service class and design catagories at this article ASME B30.20 & BTH1: intro to below the hook design