What Class is Your Crane?

Understanding CSA B167 Inspection Standards

Does your company own, operate, or maintain overhead cranes, monorails, hoists, trolleys, jib cranes, or gantries? Do you know how often these devices must be inspected? You might want to take a look at the guidelines from the Canadian Standards Association (CSA B167) discussing the required inspection intervals for different classes of cranes.

In 2008, CSA B167 saw significant changes, with the goal of bringing the Canadian standard more in line with international standards as defined by the ISO. In particular, the update clarified the time between inspections for different types of cranes based on application and intended service.

As laid out in Table 3 of CSA B167, cranes fall into five distinct categories (A1 through A8, special class, and out of service) with corresponding inspection frequencies. Here’s a quick recap.

Annual inspections (A1, A2, A3). Maintenance cranes and those used for regular light use – generally lifting less than 25% of rated capacity. Includes workshop cranes receiving regular light or moderate use.

Semi-annual inspections (A4, A5, A6). Cranes lifting moderate to heavy loads – up to 50% of capacity – with hook duty and magnet duty. Examples include container handling or other material handling cranes.

Quarterly inspections (A7, A8). Scrap-yard and steelwork cranes fall into this category, as do cranes performing intensive lifts with heavy loads – from 50-100% of capacity.

Special use cranes and those currently out-of-service require a specialized assessment by a Professional Engineer prior to classification. Examples of special use cranes include those designed for the combination of very heavy lifts at high cycles – a design life greater than two million load cycles.

For new cranes, the classification process ensures that the crane designer specifies a device meeting the desired operating life for the estimated service conditions as determined by the purchaser.

In determining the correct inspection frequency for an existing crane, a thorough engineering assessment is critical, especially when load capacity falls between categories. Engineers use original construction drawings, manufacturer operation and maintenance manuals, historical records of production rates over the life of the crane, and any service/maintenance reports, paying close attention to reports of fatigue cracking in critical areas. The assessment is also an opportunity to estimate the remaining reliable service life of the crane.

Whether you’re placing a new crane in service, estimating future capital budget costs for replacement of current equipment, or changing the service conditions for an existing crane, you’ll want to be familiar with the inspection standards for each class.

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