By Mark Edmunds, Product Manager
The old adage that “these aren’t your father’s tools” tends to be overused in describing a tool’s new design. But when it comes to new torque wrenches that are equipped with wireless capabilities for real-time data collection and process control – your father definitely didn’t have that level of performance in his hands!
These new torque tools from Snap-on are designed to meet the assembly and maintenance challenges that the manufacturing, heavy industry and natural resources markets are looking for, namely accountability, accuracy and performance.
These capabilities are changing the way torque is applied, and in the process making technicians more surgical in their approach to maintenance.
For some applications that call for less than 500-foot pounds of torque, applying torque with a hand- powered torque wrench is the tool of choice. But when the fasteners get larger, a bit more power than a technician’s arm is needed. That’s where tools like the Cordless Torque Multiplier (CTM) from Snap-on prove its worth. The CTM is a heavy-duty tool capable of delivering between 150 and 3,000-foot pounds of torque – the levels of torque often required in the power generation, oil and natural gas, railroad, and other heavy industries.
The ability for tools to talk to PCs or other devices is a critical asset to have in monitoring performance and ensuring the job is done right. The CMT allows for two-way communication via Bluetooth for live streaming data from the tool, and it can save and download up to 3,000 time- and date-stamped readings via USB cable. Conversely, information can be sent back to the CTM, such as tightening sequences, to aid the technician.
Data can be output in CSV format to communicate directly with an end user’s own data management system. Many of these same communication features are found on hand- powered torque tools as well.
Additionally, the CMT can communicate with smart devices, such as mobile phones and tablets, which enables the ability to send tightening specifications from handheld devices and store torque results on the cloud. This is helpful when working in critical and remote applications, such as railroad infrastructure, where the CMT can provide invaluable error proofing and traceability functionality.
Supplying steady power to remote job sites is another challenge technicians in these critical industries face. The cordless CMT removes the need for on-site generators, which isn’t an ideal power source as it can produce major fluctuations in voltage. Going cordless also declutters the workplace of trailing cables and hoses.
For smaller torque applications, the tried-and-true mechanical style torque wrenches are still a popular choice. While mechanical wrenches represent an older technology, they still perform well if the technician uses the tool correctly, stores it properly and keeps it accurately calibrated. However, some companies have discovered the added benefits of using 1/4″, 3/8″, and 1/2″ drive electronic torque wrenches, which offer greater accuracy than mechanical models.
The chance of over-torquing is reduced with electronic wrenches, as illuminating LEDs provide operational guidance, signaling the user that he or she is approaching the targeted torque.
Data collection is another benefit of electronic torque wrenches. For each use, instant data on the exact torque applied is displayed and stored, which can be downloaded and analyzed for tracking and auditing purposes. These wrenches come with built-in calibration factors for different head lengths and adapters, and also alert the user when the wrench is due for calibration based on pre-set date and cycle count reminders.
The cordless torque multiplier, and electronic torque wrenches are good examples of Snap-on working with its customers to deliver practical torque tooling solutions that help them perform their job more efficiently. That’s because Snap-on has assumed a leading role in designing torque tools that function well for jobs large and small. These new torque tools help complement the level of professionalism and competency it takes to be a technician working in critical industries today.
Author, Mark Edmunds, is a product manager at Snap-on Industrial.