Remotely operated magnet lifters allow workers to maintain a healthy distance between themselves and the loads being lifted.

However, even though an operator is away from the magnet and does not have to be hands-on with the load, there are many inspection, testing and maintenance requirements to keep them in safe working order.

There are six types of below-the-hook lifting devices:

Each device is used for different purposes, and as such, has its own inspection, testing and maintenance requirements. In this piece, we will look at remotely operated magnet lifting devices and provide the following information as listed in the ASME B30.20 Below-the-Hook Lifting Devices standard:

  • Inspection classification for remotely operated magnet lifting devices
  • Removal from service criteria
  • Testing of repaired remotely operated magnet lifting devices
  • Maintenance for remotely operated magnet lifting devices

What Types of Magnets Are Referenced in ASME B30.20?


There are two types of magnets the ASME B30 Committee has outlined regarding installation, inspection and repair standards for in ASME B30.20:

  • Close proximity operated lifting magnets
  • Remotely operated lifting magnets

A close proximity operated lifting magnet is defined as: “a lifting magnet used in such a fashion that the operator manually positions the lifting magnet on the load, and manually guides the lifting magnet and load during a lift.”

A remotely operated lifting magnet is defined as: “a lifting magnet that does not require the operator or other personnel to be in close proximity to the lifting magnet or its load while the lifting magnet is in use.”

What Is the Inspection Classification of Your Remotely Operated Lifting Magnets?


What Are ASME’s Inspection Standards for Remote Operated Magnet Lifters? - Inspection Requirements

There are six types of below-the-hook lifting devices for a reason. Because they are designed for very specific tasks, each has its own inspection and testing requirements. Also, there will be times when repairs need to be done, and the process for inspecting and returning repaired devices to service is outlined in ASME B30.20.

In Chapter 2 of the ASME B30.20 Below-the-Hook Lifting Devices standard, the B30 Committee outlines the following:

  • Inspection
  • Testing
  • Maintenance

General Inspection Requirements

All inspections shall be performed by a designated person. Any deficiencies identified shall be examined and a determination made by a qualified person as to whether they constitute a hazard, and, if so, what additional steps need to be taken to address the hazard.

Inspection of slings (ASME B30.9), hooks (ASME B30.10), rigging hardware (ASME B30.26), or other special devices shall comply with the inspection requirements in the applicable volume.

Initial Inspection

New and reinstalled lifting magnets shall be inspected prior to initial use to verify compliance with applicable provisions of this Volume.

Altered or repaired lifting magnets shall be inspected. The inspection may be limited to the components affected by the alteration or repair, as determined by a qualified person.

Inspection procedures for lifting magnets in regular service are divided into two general classifications, based upon the intervals at which the inspections shall be performed. The intervals, in turn, are dependent upon the nature of the critical components of the lifting magnet and the degree of their exposure to wear, deterioration, or malfunction.

The two general classifications are designated as frequent and periodic, with respective intervals between inspections as defined below.

Frequent Inspection. Visual examination by the operator or other designated persons with records not required.

  • Normal service — monthly
  • Heavy service — weekly to monthly
  • Severe service — daily to weekly
  • Special or infrequent service — as recommended by a qualified person

Periodic Inspection. Documented visual inspection of apparent external conditions to provide the basis for a continuing evaluation.

  • Normal service for equipment in place — yearly
  • Heavy service for equipment in place — quarterly
  • Severe service — monthly
  • Special or infrequent service — as recommended by a qualified person before the first lift and as directed by the qualified person for any subsequent lifts

Mazzella / ITI Rigging Gear Inspection Reference Guide

What Inspections Are Performed on Remotely Operated Magnet Lifters?


Along with the initial inspection, ASME B30.20 lists two other types of inspections for remotely operated magnet lifting devices to make sure they are in working order and safe for employees to use.

Inspection procedures for remotely operated lifting magnets in regular service are divided into two general classifications, based upon the intervals at which the inspections shall be performed. The intervals, in turn, are dependent upon the nature of the critical components of the lifting magnet and the degree of their exposure to wear, deterioration, or malfunction. The two general classifications are designated as frequent and periodic, with respective intervals between inspections as defined below.

Frequent Inspection

Lifting magnets shall be inspected for damage at intervals as defined in para. 20-4.3.1(b)(1), including during operation for any deficiency that might appear between inspections. Conditions such as those listed in para. 20-4.3.6, or any other condition that may constitute a hazard, shall cause the magnet lifter to be removed from service. A qualified person shall determine whether any deficiency constitutes a hazard, requires a repair, requires disassembly for inspection, or will require more frequent inspection. The lifter shall not be returned to service until approved by a qualified person.

***The paragraphs referenced in this section of the standard that covers “special or infrequent service” states inspections should be conducted by a qualified person.

Periodic Inspection

Complete inspections of lifting magnets shall be performed and recorded at intervals as defined in para. 20-4.3.1(b)(2). Conditions such as those listed in para. 20-4.3.6, or any other condition that may constitute a hazard, shall cause the magnet lifter to be removed from service.

A qualified person shall determine whether any deficiency constitutes a hazard, requires a repair, requires disassembly for inspection, or will require more frequent inspection. The magnet lifter shall not be returned to service until approved by a qualified person. The inspection shall be based on the manufacturer’s instructions, para. 20-4.3.6, or the recommendations of a qualified person.

***The paragraphs referenced in this section of the standard identify removal from service criteria, which is listed in a following section of this article.

Remotely Operated Magnets Not in Regular Use

What if your remotely operated magnet lifters are not used on a consistent basis? How often do they need to be inspected?

A lifting magnet that has been idle for a period of one month to one year shall be inspected in accordance with para. 20-4.3.2 before being placed in service. A lifting magnet that has been idle for a period of one year or more shall be inspected in accordance with para. 20-4.3.3 before being returned to service.

***The paragraphs referenced in this section of the standard discusses how a qualified person needs to conduct inspections and identify hazards.

What Inspection Records Need to be Kept?


What Are ASME’s Inspection Standards for Remote Operated Magnet Lifters? - Different Types of Magnet Lifters

Once an inspection is complete, how long do the records need to be kept on file by the end-user?

According to the standard, “Dated inspection reports shall be made on critical items, such as those listed in para. 20-4.3.3. Records should be available for each periodic inspection and when the lifting magnet is either altered or repaired.”

***The paragraph referenced in this section of the standard discusses how a qualified person needs to conduct inspections and identify hazards.

What Is the Removal Criteria for Remotely Operated Magnet Lifters?


A remotely operated lifting magnet shall be removed from service if conditions (if applicable) such as the following are present (limits established by the manufacturer or qualified person) and shall only be returned to service when approved by a qualified person:

  • Deformation, cracks, or wear
  • Loose or missing guards, fasteners, covers, stops, or nameplates
  • Excessive pitting or corrosion
  • Excessive nicks or gouges
  • Indications of heat damage
  • Unauthorized welds or modifications
  • Unauthorized replacement components
  • Improper assembly or function
  • Impaired, seized, or bound moving parts
  • Lifting services:
    • Excessive surface wear
    • Broken, chipped, or damaged
    • Foreign material
  • Damaged or distorted pins
  • Damaged, distorted, or worn threads including foreign material on the threads
  • Magnet exhibits electrical characteristics outside manufacturer recommendations
  • Cable or wiring shows signs of wear or damage
  • Plugs and connectors show signs of wear or damage
  • Missing, damaged, or unreadable gauges if so equipped
  • Missing or illegible operating control markings or product safety labels
  • Improper level of battery electrolyte or corrosion of either the battery posts or connectors
  • Other conditions, including visible damage, that cause doubt as to continued safe use

What Are the Repair Requirements for Remotely Operated Magnet Lifters?


Deficiencies disclosed by the inspection requirements of Section 20-4.3 shall be corrected according to the procedures outlined in para. 20-4.3.9 before operation of the lifting magnet is resumed, unless a qualified person determines the damage does not constitute a hazard. Repairs of slings (ASME B30.9), hooks (ASME B30.10), rigging hardware (ASME B30.26), or other special devices shall comply with repair requirements in the applicable volumes or standards.

***The paragraph referenced in this section of the standard outlines what maintenance procedures need to be performed.

What Tests Do Remotely Operated Magnet Lifters Need before being Used in a Lift?


Whether your remotely operated lifting magnets are new or have been repaired, there are multiple tests that have to be performed on the device to ensure it is in compliance with the standard and ready to be put into service.

Remotely operated magnet lifters must undergo the following types of tests:

  • Operational tests
  • Load tests

Operational Tests

New and reinstalled lifting magnets shall be tested by a qualified person, or a designated person under the direction of the manufacturer or a qualified person, prior to initial use to verify compliance with applicable provisions of this Volume, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Moving parts
  • Latches
  • Stops
  • Switches
  • Any control devices
  • Alarms
  • Indicator lights, gauges, horns, bells, alarms, pointers, and other warning devices

Altered or repaired lifting magnets shall be tested by a qualified person, or a designated person under the direction of the manufacturer or a qualified person. The test may be limited to the components affected by the alteration or repair, as determined by a qualified person with guidance from the manufacturer.

Dated reports of all operational tests shall be filed.

Load Tests

Prior to initial use, all new, altered, or repaired lifting magnets shall be tested by a qualified person, or a designated person under the direction of the manufacturer or a qualified person. The rated load for all components associated with the magnet shall meet the maximum breakaway force of the magnet to avoid overload or the components shall not be included in the test. The test results shall be recorded confirming the load rating of the lifting magnet.

Breakaway Force Test

  • General application lifting magnets shall be required to satisfy the general application lifting magnet breakaway force test.
    • The rated load for permanent magnet lifters shall be less than 33% of the breakaway force measured in this test.
    • The rated load for electromagnet lifters shall be less than 50% of the breakaway force measured in this test.
  • Specified application lifting magnets shall be required to satisfy the specified application lifting magnet breakaway force test.
    • The rated load for permanent magnet lifters shall be less than 33% of the breakaway force measured in this test.
    • The rated load for electromagnet lifters shall be less than 50% of the breakaway force measured in this test.

Design Factor Test

Remotely operated lifting magnets should have an annual magnetic design factor test to verify the magnet meets current standards. This test should be performed to the actual breakaway point of the magnet or may be performed at the calculated minimum breakaway force.

The rated load of lifting hardware associated with the magnetic design factor test shall exceed the maximum breakaway load of the magnet to avoid overload or the lifting hardware shall be removed. Caution should be applied during the test. The test shall be performed under the direction of a qualified person.

  • General application lifting magnet breakaway force tests shall establish the force required to vertically remove the lifting magnet from a low carbon, rolled steel plate of the minimum thickness stated by the lifting magnet manufacturer. The portion of this plate that is in contact with the lifting magnet shall have a surface finish of 125” (3.2 × 10−3 mm) or better and be flat within 0.002 in./ft (0.05 mm/30 cm), without exceeding 0.005” (0.127 mm) total. The full operating face of the lifting magnet shall be in contact with the steel plate, which shall be between 60°F (15°C) and 120°F (50°C). The steel plate, load cell, or other testing device shall be mounted to allow self-alignment so the load is applied to the magnet through the magnet’s center of force.
  • Specified application lifting magnet breakaway force tests shall establish the breakaway forces of the lifting magnet under the variety of loading conditions for which the lifting magnet is specified. The details of this test should be supplied by the manufacturer of the lifting magnet.
  • Battery-operated electromagnets and externally powered electromagnets shall be operated at the manufacturer’s recommended voltage and current levels.
  • The test for altered or repaired lifting magnets may be limited to the components affected by the alteration or repair, as determined by a qualified person with guidance from the manufacturer.

What Maintenance Programs Are Required for Remotely Operated Magnet Lifters?


What Are ASME’s Inspection Standards for Remote Operated Magnet Lifters? - Moving a Load with Remove Operated Magnet Lifter

No matter how much care one takes with their equipment, eventually parts do wear out and need to be repaired or replaced. A good way to avoid undo wear and tear on your remotely operated lifting magnets and their components is by following regular maintenance steps that can extend service life.

Maintenance Program

According to ASME B30.20, a maintenance program shall be established and be based on recommendations made by the lifting magnet manufacturer. If a qualified person determines it is appropriate, the program should also include that individual’s additional recommendations based on a review of the lifting magnet application and operations.

Maintenance Procedure

Before adjustments and repairs are started on a lifting magnet or its controls, the following precautions shall be taken:

  • All sources of lifting magnet power shall be disconnected, locked out, and tagged “Out of Service.”
  • A lifting magnet removed from service for repair shall be tagged “Out of Service.”
  • Relieve fluid pressure from all circuits before loosening or removing fluid power components.
  • Only designated personnel shall work on equipment when maintenance, repairs, and tests are required.
  • Replacement parts shall be at least equal to the original manufacturer’s specifications.
  • After adjustments and repairs have been made, the lifting magnet shall not be returned to service until it has been inspected according to para. 20-4.3.3.
  • Dated records of repairs and replacements should be made.

***The paragraph referenced in this section of the standard states that each inspection shall be conducted by a qualified person to determine if the lifting magnet has hazardous components.

How Can Mazzella Help You with Magnet Lifters?


Mazzella has more than 65 years of experience in designing and developing custom engineered products, below-the-hook lifting devices, and lifting attachments for use with all types of cranes.

On-staff engineering and our commitment to ISO 9001: 2015 guides us to continued success in manufacturing and delivering quality products and processes to our customers.

We can design and fabricate all types of below-the-hook lifting solutions for any application—all of our work is done in compliance with ASME B30.20 and ASME BTH-1 standards. Our products range from a common lift beam, to an engineered special 150 lb. engine line lifter, to a 330-ton electric furnace lifter.

Added to our line of engineered below-the-hook lifting products, we also design and fabricate an assortment of specialty engineered solutions for all types of applications. These products are designed to meet your specifications, and we make sure our products are in full compliance with industry standards.

Along with design and fabrication, we provide repairs and / or recertifications of below-the-hook lifting devices.

Call us at 800.362.4601 or click here to specify your next below-the-hook project!


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ASME B30.20-2021: Updates & Revisions to the Below-The-Hook Standard: Structural & Mechanical Lifting Devices: Mazzella Below-the-Hook

Below-the-Hook Lifting Devices

We have more than 65 years of experience in designing and developing custom engineered products, below-the-hook lifting devices, and lifting attachments for use with all types of cranes.

On-staff engineering and our commitment to ISO 9001: 2015 guides us to continued success in quality products and processes.

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