You don’t have to be a maestro to know that no matter how grand your piano is, you can’t play it if it’s out of tune. It’s similar when you’re working with torque tools; you can’t properly tighten your fasteners if your tools aren’t in calibration. In fields like manufacturing and maintenance, tightening fasteners is a huge part of the job.
When a piano is out of tune, you either call a tuner or you get out the tools and do it yourself. It’s the same with torque tools. When a tool is out of calibration, you either send it to a service center or you get out your calibration equipment and set it right yourself. Taking care of your own torque tools with calibration equipment will likely save money in the long run, as all your torque tools will periodically require maintenance. In order to do it right, however, it’s important to understand your torque calibration equipment.
Diagnosing Tool Calibration with Torque Testing Equipment
Of course, there’s (at least) one big difference between a piano and a torque tool: when a piano is out of tune, you can hear a bad note. When a torque tool is out of calibration, though, you might not notice it right away. But when the fasteners that the tool accidentally over-tightened or or under-tightened fall apart, someone’s going to have a bad day.
Fasteners all have an ideal range of torque that keeps them snug without damaging what they’re holding together; it’s the reason torque wrenches exist in the first place. Applying the wrong amount of torque can cause a product to fail immediately or later, in the field, when someone’s depending on it. In order to prevent these product failures, it’s important to test the calibration of your torque tools at least once every six months. If a tool is found to be out of calibration, you should halve its testing interval after it has been adjusted.
Testing your torque tools is easily accomplished with torque testers, which are tools built expressly for that purpose. Torque testers combine two elements: a sensor and an analyzer. The sensor records torque input when you insert a tool into the sensor’s transducer and apply torque. The analyzer measures and displays the torque value, which you can compare to the tool’s built-in setting or display. Some torque analyzers can be connected to multiple sensors, allowing you to rapidly test many tools. Both power and hand tools can be tested and calibrated using these devices, although power tools often require a rundown adaptor to simulate the joint.
With a regular testing regimen established, you’ll know when your torque tools slip out of calibration, and that’s half the battle. Now, all that remains is returning them to their regular working order. While certified torque tool service centers can effectively calibrate tools on a regular basis, this can be slower and pricier than servicing tools yourself.
A loading bench is a laboratory grade instrument designed to enable accurate torque wrench calibration with less physical effort. This calibration instrument provides quick and easy torque wrench calibration and presetting, independent of human influence or transducer side and end load factors. Depending on the size of the bench, wrenches can be calibrated for anywhere from a few foot-pounds to over two thousand. The bench eliminates human interference in results, as well as transducer side and end load inaccuracies.
Using Torque Calibration Equipment to Adjust Tools
Calibration weights are specially shaped deadweights used to calibrate torque analyzers and torque sensors. The certified weights ensure total accuracy; deadweights themselves, of course, require no calibration. Segment arms and calibration wheels can also be used in conjunction with calibration weights, with the weights hung from the segment arm or calibration wheel.
Calibrating torque tools requires proper training. If you’re considering purchasing calibration equipment, reach out to the equipment’s manufacturer or a certified service center for training resources.
Developing an in-house torque tool testing and calibration program can save time and improve results. Investing in your own torque testing and calibration equipment eliminates the need to ship tools back and forth to a service center. This allows you to test tools more regularly, reducing the potential for lost product or failures under warranty. Choosing certified calibration equipment and seeking high-quality training are important steps in establishing a successful testing and calibration program.