Ash Handling Cranes and Hoist Systems

Specializing in cranes and hoist systems for a wide range of industries, American Crane and Equipment Corporation is proud to provide reliable, high-quality material handling solutions, from aerospace and energy to waste management and pulp and paper. We also offer high-performance ash handling solutions for power plants, coal combustion, and wood processing applications. The success of ash handling systems depends on the quality of the hoists used, which must provide unmatched reliability, corrosion resistance, and longevity.

To maintain compliance with the EPA, proper ash handling is crucial in various settings. Even more importantly, it prevents dangerous contaminants from entering water and air that are crucial to everyday life. Using high-quality cranes and hoists from American Crane ensures efficient ash handling for a range of industries.

What Are Ash Handling Systems?

The combustion of wood, coal, and even grain creates ash. Ash handling systems are specifically designed to manage the collection, conveying, storage, and loading of ash residue, much of which is the result of solid fuel combustion processes in power plants. The most common types of ash include:

  • Bottom ash — Heavier, coarse ash material
  • Fly ash — Very fine ash that accounts for most of the material managed by ash handling systems
  • Ash clinkers — The ash that sticks to a coal furnace’s hot sidewalls 

The United States produces more than 100 million tons of fly ash every year. Nearly half of this ash is reused for other purposes, such as cement production, but first, it must be properly collected and contained.

American Crane ash handling solutions have wide-ranging capabilities to meet the needs of various applications. Our cranes and hoists can be used in facilities working with different types of fuels and furnaces to effectively collect the ash, convey it to a storage location, and load it for disposal or reuse. Regardless of your needs, American Crane can deliver high-performance cranes and hoists to ensure successful and compliant ash handling.

Why Are Ash Handling Systems Important?

EPA regulations state that ash handling systems are mandatory for certain industries and types of manufacturing facilities. If handled incorrectly, ash can pose dangers to both the environment and general public health. Coal ash contains mercury, arsenic, and cadmium; these contaminants are dangerous and can pollute groundwater, drinking water, natural and manmade waterways, and the air we breathe.

Ash handling systems play a crucial role in maintaining environmental norms and compliance with industry standards. With thermal power plants and other manufacturing facilities generating extremely high amounts of ash, efficient ash handling systems are critical in preventing contamination and ensuring the safety of people and the surrounding community.


Because wood and coal combustion produce different types of residual ash through energy and heat generation, these processes — especially common in power plants — require reliable ash handling systems to manage day-to-day operations. Ash handling systems are especially important for the following applications:

Thermal Power Plants

Thermal power plants produce coal combustion residuals (CCRs). Able to be generated both wet and dry, this type of ash must be managed through disposal in off-site or on-site plant landfills or surface impoundments. Highly toxic to water quality, CCRs are strictly regulated by the EPA. Coal and ash handling systems in thermal power plants effectively remove CCRs to ensure compliance and environmental protection. Since these power plants produce bottom ash, coarse ash handling systems are often needed.

Concrete and Wallboard Manufacturing

Coal ash is produced during the commercial manufacture of concrete and composite wallboard. Whether the ash will be repurposed or disposed of, plants must be fully equipped with coal ash handling systems for fly ash and dust. These systems require periodic emptying for optimal performance.

Wood Combustion

Wood combustion produces extremely lightweight ash, carrying less than 1% of the original wood’s weight. After wood fuel is burned, combustion chambers inevitably hold some of this ash, whether from raw wood, processed wood products, or wood pellets. Containing extremely low levels of sulfur and heavy metals, this ash is not as harmful to the environment as CCRs.

Other facilities that rely on quality ash systems include:

  • Process steam plants
  • Steam heating plants
  • Waste to energy producers
  • Institutional power plants
  • Cogeneration plants
  • Independent power producers
  • Industrial power plants
  • Utility generators


Various industries utilize coal ash in numerous ways for different environmental, economic, and product benefits. With the use of effective ash handling solutions, ash can be collected and reused in industries such as:

  • Manufacturing. Manufacturers rely on coal ash when producing products such as concrete, wallboard, bricks, and more.
  • Construction. Coal ash is commonly used as a top layer in unpaved roads and in the construction of running tracks and embankments.
  • Agriculture. Various agricultural applications use coal ash as a soil additive.
  • Mining. Coal ash can be reused as structural fill for low-lying areas such as abandoned mines.

American Crane Ash Handling Crane & Hoist Systems

With over 45 years of crane experience exceeding CMAA duty cycle requirements, the American Crane team can readily customize hoists and lifting equipment for the preparation and handling of ash and CCRs. We offer full design and fabrication services, as well as a comprehensive in-house quality assurance program. From ¼-ton hoists to equipment with 1,000+ tons of overhead lifting capacity, our material handling solutions can be crafted to meet service classifications A through F.

At American Crane, we are your expert, craftsman, and partner. Our team can help you find the right custom solution for your ash handling needs. Contact us or request a quote to learn more about our high-performance ash handling cranes and hoists.