When seeking tooling solutions, modern manufacturers must prize two qualities above the rest: speed and precision. Both speed and precision have a direct impact on product volume, which has a direct impact on profitability. Being able to quickly, accurately assemble products, from low-end electronics to zero-tolerance internal medical devices, predicts success in the fast-paced global economy.
The best solution for manufacturers chasing speed and precision is investing in a capable suite of power torque tools. Electronic torque screwdrivers or pneumatic torque screwdrivers are both great choices. Making such a blanket statement is justified by the wide variety and capabilities of electronic torque screwdrivers. The chosen tools should be the ones which most closely match the needs of their products. In order to find the right tools, it’s important to understand the different attributes of high-quality electronic torque screwdrivers.
Power Torque Tools Prevent Manufacturing Errors
First, torque. Torque is the force which turns screws. In order for a screw to be correctly tightened, a screwdriver must apply just the right amount of torque to the screw’s head. Under-application can lead to a screw falling loose from its assembly. Over-application can damage the screw, the assembly, or both. Either instance can lead to product rejection on the line or product failure in the hands of consumers. For manufacturers, torque control is essential.
Torque screwdrivers, electric or pneumatic, are tools which can deliver precise amounts of torque to the heads of screws. Torque control prevents human tool operators from accidentally applying incorrect amounts of force and damaging products. It’s also the mechanism that allows for capable robotic assembly. Without this ability, manufacturers cannot guarantee that their products will hold together. As such, the first consideration in choosing a tooling solution must be—do these screwdrivers provide accurate torque control?
Electronic torque screwdrivers and pneumatic torque screwdrivers control torque using different means, though they can achieve similarly accurate results. Pneumatic screwdrivers rely on an internal clutch mechanism to stop applying force at the right time, while electronic torque screwdrivers typically reduce current to slow or stop torque. This gives electronic torque screwdrivers additional functionality, such as soft stops, which protect sensitive products.
Choosing the Right Power Torque Tools
Choosing the right power torque tools requires sound knowledge of the typical products an operation manufactures. Tools with different capabilities are better suited for different products. High-volume, high-tolerance products like plastic toys will not require the electrostatic-discharge mechanisms needed in printed circuit board manufacturing, for instance. Complex, multiple-step assembly operations may find success with DC control tools or other programmable tool controllers.
Writing up a list of needed qualities is a good starting place for tool shopping. The list should include:
- Torque requirements; total force and accuracy tolerance?
- Size of fasteners?
- Human or robotic controller?
- Complex assembly controls required?
- ESD protection required?
- Soft-start or soft-stop clutch required?
By shopping for tool solutions using this list, company managers can narrow down their options. Once this is done, it’s time to settle on a solution. One of the most successful ways to zero in on the right tool at this point is to consider cost. Cost includes both the initial sticker price of the tool and the ongoing maintenance the tool will require over its lifespan. It also takes into account the tool’s expected lifespan, as tools which last longer will have more time to generate returns.
Some of the factors which affect tool cost are tool style, whether it’s electric or pneumatic, controller complexity, durability, and speed. Air screwdrivers require regular preventative maintenance to reduce tool failures. You will need to replace common parts that wear out and provide regular lubrication. Electronic screwdrivers with brushless motors require significantly less maintenance than older brush-driven models. This lowers their ongoing cost of ownership, reducing the amount of downtime required.
Choosing the right power torque tools can make or break a manufacturing operation. Manufacturers using substandard tools will have higher rates of lost product, greater exposure to product failure in the field, and higher maintenance costs as tools break and must be repaired or replaced. Understanding the needs of specific products helps company managers find the power torque tools that will be most effective. When considering the cost of a tooling solution, managers should take into account the total cost of tool ownership, including infrastructure needs and maintenance.
Mountz, Inc., the Torque Tool Specialist®, is a cutting-edge provider of power torque tools. To see our full range of products, shop our store. Contact us anytime to ask a question. To inquire about price, request a quote. If you’d like to see our equipment in person, schedule an appointment. To get the latest torque-related news, follow us on LinkedIn.