A lot of people start their day with a cup of coffee. There are many ways to make that cup of coffee. But there’s one way that’s only arrived this century, on the wings of the Internet of Things—talking to your coffee pot. Since the circuit board inside these coffee pots contains a radio frequency transmitter and receiver, you don’t even have to be in the same room. You just speak aloud, from bed, requesting a cup of coffee, and your home voice assistant picks up the message and beams it to the coffee maker. That’s the Internet of Things: a constellation of wirelessly connected devices.
The next question is what you do with these connected devices. At home, they’re a convenience, a way to shorten a few legs of your day’s journey. At work, utilized at scale, they mean money. In manufacturing, IoT connected assembly tools can significantly improve quality assurance programs for both high volume and high specificity products. Tools that can communicate wirelessly with a central computer system improve transparency, accountability, and repeatability. And streamlining production by implementing IoT connected tools depends on effective torque tool data management.
Goals of Torque Tool Data Management
The goal of any business improvement is to increase profits. Companies can do so by expanding revenue, by lowering costs, or by raising profit margins. Smart IoT connected torque tools can lower production costs and expand revenue by improving a manufacturer’s transparency, accountability, and repeatability.
Smart data management is a logical extension of the function of torque tools. All threaded fasteners—including nuts, screws, and bolts—hold materials together by exerting tension. The proper amount of tension is achieved by placing a specific amount of torque on the fastener. This radial force is translated into compression by the pitch of the threads, which form a spiraling inclined plane. It takes the right amount of torque to achieve the right amount of tension: too much or too little, and the assembly can fail. By connecting smart torque tools to a network, it’s possible to ensure operators deliver the right torque. In addition, you will be able to record every turn of the wrench.
How IoT Connected Torque Tools Can Improve Production
IoT connected torque tools can help manufacturers achieve their goals by improving transparency, repeatability, and accountability in assembly operations. Primarily, these improvements help lower a company’s costs by reducing their rate of lost product. It can also expand revenue by demonstrating an operation’s effectiveness to client companies while lowering the quoted bid for a contract.
Torque tools connected to the Internet of Things improve real-time transparency in a manufacturer’s assembly operations. Each time an IoT connected torque wrench turns, it transmits data to a company’s network. This data can be viewed at a central monitoring station or at any number of distributed displays. Such real-time transparency enables quality assurance personnel to detect any fastening issues as soon as they arise. In turn, this early detection lowers production costs by reducing the rate of lost product.
When manufacturing large volumes of products, repeatability is critical. Lapses in repeatability are directly related to a company’s product loss rate. Simply stated, each time a fastener isn’t tightened correctly, the product stands a chance of failure during quality control testing or, worse, in the field. Repeatability is no less important for companies manufacturing low volumes of highly sensitive products, like satellites or implantable medical devices. Each fastener must be tightened exactly to specifications.
Connecting assembly power tools to a network helps improve repeatability by preventing fastening issues. These tools can visually display torque values to the tool operator, either on a nearby monitor or on an augmented reality tool. This lets operators know how close they are to delivering the proper torque, ensuring they deliver the correct amount each time. Such visual displays can also show operators complex fastening sequences, thereby making sure that no steps are missed and that fastening proceeds exactly as intended.
IoT connected torque tools also improve accountability by creating a data trail that companies can trace should any issues with the general product or a specific fastener arise after it has left the production floor. This allows companies to pinpoint and correct any fastening issues, even those that don’t show themselves right away. This data trail is valuable, as you can show it to existing or prospective clients or regulators as proof of the veracity of the production process.
Choosing network-capable torque tools can improve a manufacturing company’s bottom line. By enhancing transparency, repeatability, and accountability, IoT connected torque tools reduce a company’s rate of lost product. The quality gains this provides can help entice new customers, satisfy existing customers, and demonstrate processes for regulators.