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The B/A Products Co. Mission We believe in a framework where safety and prosperity can coexist. Through research, knowledge and application of new ideas and technologies, we aim to continuously improve the livelihood of people impacted by transportation every day.

B/A Products’ roots are grounded in the transportation industry, where the culture thrives on a gritty, hard core work ethic. You wouldn’t survive otherwise. The men and women using our products operate in a fast paced, high stress environment whether they are working to upright a big rig in the middle of the night with cars whizzing by or the first to respond to carnage at an accident scene. The last thing these men and women need to worry about is whether the product they’re using to lift a truck overhead or upright a container is going to perform safely. Through destroying products in every way imaginable at the B/A Products Co. testing facility, B/A is able to provide this security and peace of mind. The testing process allows B/A to pinpoint how materials will perform under the highest and most dynamic levels of stress. This information is then used to design better products for safer outcomes.

Recently, B/A Products Co. revealed the new Container Eye Link design that was so popular, the very first batch sold out in under a week. What you might not be aware of, unless you have been to a B/A Open House, is how many months or even years it takes for B/A to bring a new idea to the market. It takes researching and exploring new material technologies, break testing and analyzing performance as well as many improved iterations along the way. Fritz Dahlin, Executive VP at B/A was able to provide a little insight into what steps went into the recently released Container Eye Link.  

Fritz wears many hats at B/A. While handling product development and quality control at B/A for over 33 years he also enjoys restoring cars only to race and destroy them again later. You could say that Fritz already has a knack for breaking stuff. Although, more importantly he has a passion for safety. You can often find Fritz with an experienced Tower, trainer, or the local Fire Department crew gathered around the B/A test beds to measure the performance of a new concept.    

Fritz shared that he had the idea for the new Container Eye Link for some time. He said, “I kept thinking that there had to be a better way.” There was no consensus throughout the industry on best practices. Fritz found that everyone had a different way to upright containers and none of them provided a quality solution for both safety and function. There were a handful of common approaches:

1. Synthetic Rope Slings and Round Slings
2. Wire Rope Slings
3. Length of Chain Through the Eye
4. Foundry Hooks (either on chain assembly or attached to oblongs)
5. Large Screw Pin Anchor Shackle, turned “sideways” (not pulling on the pin and the bow, but on both sides of the bow)

1. Synthetics Round Sling, Flat Sling, Synthetic Rope Sling or Shackle. Simply put, synthetics can be cut. Even with cordura or other protective sleeves, the radius of the inside edge of the container eyes is very small (1/16” or less) and loading a synthetic sling over this small radius puts all of the weight over a very small section of the sling, which cannot withstand the PSI loading. If you also factor in the wear and tear on many container eye’s, resulting in sharp edges, the danger only increases.

3/4″ soft shackle through container eye:
• Soft Shackle failed at 62,169 lbs, 
• The Rope cut where it contacted the container. A cordura sleeve was placed over the legs of the soft shackle, and it was cut as well.
• For comparison, a ¾” soft shackle pulled between two 2” oblongs failed at 98,744 lbs. Rope failed in the knot of the shackle.

2. Wire Rope Sling Wire Rope Slings run into the same problem as synthetics, they cannot withstand the loading over the small radius. In addition, if you use this approach they will likely be permanently kinked or damaged through being loaded over such a small area.

Note: B/A did not test the wire rope with the container link in the test bed due to previous testing as well as this being the least common practice. 

B/A has tested wire rope pulled over a 90 degree corner in various situations with a small radius, confirming the reduction of break strength by up to 50%. Tow Professional published an article based on data from B/A in 2014. If you would like to know more please feel free to download the pdf of the article. Download pdf

3. Length of Chain Through the Eye Chain is designed to be loaded in a straight line, with the forces being applied to the very ends of the link. When there is a change of direction, and loads are applied to the sides of the links, the chain can and will fail below its minimum break strength.

1/2″ G100 chain as basket through container eye: chain link failed at 106,314 lbs. where it contacted the container eye. WLL of 1/2″ G100 as a basket is 30,000 lbs., minimum break should be 120,000 lbs. Chain failed due to force applied to side of link.

4. Foundry Hooks Foundry hooks work well in the uprighting of a container but came with 2 exceptions: The hook must utilize the hole that is against the ground, or it will not fit or run the risk of tip loading or back loading. This requires the container be lifted, blocking or cribbing installed, the container lowered, the foundry hook installed, then the up righting continued.

B/A determined that foundry hooks were not worth testing as the team deemed this an unsafe approach prior to factoring in the strength of the materials. During demos, the B/A testing team found that foundry hooks do not sit safely in the container eyes and could fall out. As the container is up righted, it is too easy for the Foundry hook to move, become tip loaded and even fall out of the container eye, creating an obvious and potentially detrimental safety risk.

5. Large Screw Pin Anchor Shackles Screw pin anchor shackles have the same issue as foundry hooks in that they need to go through the hole that is against the ground, requiring the container be lifted, blocking or cribbing installed, the container lowered, the foundry hook or shackle installed, then the up righting continued.

As a manufacturer/supplier, B/A Products likes this approach, as it becomes a terminal connection: in other words, it is extremely unlikely to come out or fall out. Two drawbacks are that:
1. The working load limit (WLL) of the shackle is reduced as it is being pulled side to side, not pin to bow. This is a function of the way the shackle fits in the container eye and
2. This method requires lifting, cribbing, and lowering of the container to install; the eye it has to go through is against the ground.

First, tackling function, Fritz and his team researched standard hardware to see what would fit in the container eyes to keep the product cost efficient and also user friendly. The team discovered that the 3/4″ alloy connecting link fit well. They moved in the opening and did not seem to get stuck or wedged in place. There were many similar options, but the team found that they were more costly and increased the weight. Next, the ease of use was considered and it was determined that operators would not prefer to hammer the retaining pin in place to use the links, then hammer the pin out to retrieve the links. We needed a new product that would fit, have the same strength, be quick and easy to install/ uninstall and preferably without tools.

6. Container Eye Link Testing Process The alloy shoulder bolt was tried. Early testing involved loading the shoulder bolts multiple times to WLL (44 times), then proof load (twice WLL, also 44 times), then to 3 times WLL (that’s right, 44 times). After each round, the pin was removed and checked for straightness or other damage. In addition, the testing was done with a well-used alloy connecting link (that was routinely used in the test bed). Fritz said that this was done, because “it gave a more realistic test, knowing this was more like the one the Towers might have on hand. If a well used alloy connecting link worked, a brand new one should be better.”

The sample was then tested to failure, which occurred at over 143,000 lbs. Additional parts were also tested in various configurations, including pulling with the halves of the connecting links at a 90 degree angle to each other, repeated loading and checking of the pin.

3/4″ Alloy Connecting Link
– Pulled at 90 degree angle over 2″ oblong, to simulate pulling in other than a straight line.
– Test stopped at 143,276 lbs., without failure.

The container eye link was tested with 2 legs of 3/4″ G100 chain as a basket. B/A could not get the Container Eye Link to fail before the CONTAINER EYE itself failed, which occurred at 106,314 lbs. That’s right, the container eye failed BEFORE our CL-1034. “Once over 120,000 lbs, the Container Eye Link pulled through a container eye!”

These examples were performed in a prepared testing environment by trained professionals.
Never exceed a products Work Load Limit.
In other words, don’t try this at home

This example is one of many ways B/A Products Co. tests the strength, durability and performance of the products. It is in the spirit of protecting our roadside family that we test our products to the limit. 

So that accident? It never happened.