Precision is the key to automotive efficiency, reliability, and safety. This is true whether you’re working in automotive manufacturing or automotive maintenance. Even small automobiles are several ton vehicles hurtling along roads at speeds that commonly exceed the pace of even the fastest animals. The result is a lot of stress and vibration on all the parts that make up an automobile and stress on the fasteners holding those parts together. The strength of these fasteners and the torque that they are tightened with are resisting the vibration. As such, fasteners must be tightened with torque tools that can be relied upon, and the best automotive torque wrenches are ones that are properly calibrated.
The more often these torque tools are used, though, the more likely they are to fall out of calibration. When a leading national automotive chain specializing in automotive wheels came to Mountz looking for a quicker way to validate their torque wrench calibration, we developed a tool for on-site testing that delivers accurate results.
Automotive Calibration Tools for an Industry that Depends on Safety, Accuracy, and Efficiency
Torque is the measure of radial force applied to a fastener. It determines how well a fastener holds in place and the stresses that are exerted upon the components or substrates that a fastener is holding together. If too little torque is applied, then the fastener can loosen under the vibration and stresses of a vehicle in motion. If too much torque is applied, then the fastener or the substrates can become deformed, shear off when tightened, or break as a vehicle operates. Accurate torque wrenches are vitally important in tightening fasteners, and especially so for rotating applications like wheels where variable stress is constantly applied. Lug nut torque wrenches, for instance, must be accurate enough to prevent accidents and avoid damage to the wheels or the fasteners.
In order to ensure their torque wrenches were accurately reporting torque, the company was conducting time-based torque testing. Every six to twelve months, torque tools would be sent for re-certification. The company was using a torque analyzer that was similar to an analog scale. It gave a reading based on the pressure that was being put on it at any given moment, with the needle following the torque as more was applied. When testing a click wrench, the tester would give a reading at the click but didn’t keep the value afterward. Operators only knew the torque for a single instant. The lack of precision resulted in a great deal of wasted time. Wrenches were being sent for recalibration whether they needed it or not.
“The customer came to us to find a way to precisely test torque wrench calibration when and where they needed to—on-site and on-demand—to increase accuracy, efficiency, and safety.” – David Cash, Mountz Technical Applications Specialist
Company facilities would keep around 10 wrenches on hand, and representatives would come by weekly to check the inventory. With nationwide facilities, the costs were adding up. The customer approached Mountz to find a way to precisely test torque wrench calibration when and where they needed to—on-site and on-demand—for the sake of company efficiency and customer safety.
In-House Testing of Calibration Tools Boosts Safety and Savings
Mountz swiftly began developing a torque verification tool for on-demand testing of torque wrenches of up to 200 foot-pounds right in the shop. The Validator is an easy-to-use torque wrench tester specifically designed for testing torque wrenches. It is a small, lightweight device that features an LCD screen with a simple menu that guides users through the testing process, a built-in mounting plate for flexible mounting options, and a 9V lithium-ion battery with a universal charger.
“During development, the company decided it wanted to see an actual torque reading as well, so our team engineered a display into the Validator design, along with several additional modes.” – David Cash, Mountz Technical Applications Specialist
The national wheel company’s initial goal was to remove operator error from the validation process by making it simple to determine if a torque wrench is within a preset range. Mountz created a torque tester with a simple visual pass/fail display that shows a green “go” light when a torque wrench tests within the set range and a red “no go” light when the torque tolerance reading fails. The operator doesn’t need to look at or remember the actual reading to know if it is calibrated correctly. The torque wrench tester has additional modes for further testing.
For instance, Peak mode is designed for use with click-type mechanical torque wrenches. In First Peak mode, the analyzer will give a torque reading at the initial click and show the finishing torque level if the operator continues to add pressure. Adding this mode also added value:
“The client shared with us that First Peak mode makes the Validator a great training tool because it shows the operator the impact of their action—for example, pulling too fast or double hitting can both result in significantly higher than desired torque values, pushing studs closer to the dangerous ‘yield point.’ If an operator is using a wrench too quickly, the Validator will ask them to try again.” – David Cash, Mountz Technical Applications Specialist
This instant feedback helps new users get a feel for the correct way to operate torque tools and trains them to go slower.
Automotive Calibration Tools Reduce Costs and Give Peace of Mind
The automotive chain has rolled out the Validator to branches in the U.S., and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. On-demand torque testing provides peace of mind because the company can test each and every torque wrench before it’s used, thereby reducing risk. The testing process also helps to train new operators and gives them a better understanding of the importance of torque and its precise application.
The Validator is now available to mechanics and automotive shops everywhere for under $800. With torque reading accuracy on-site, automotive shops can now perform accurate torque testing as-needed.
Mountz, Inc. can help your company increase safety and reduce costs with our full line of torque analyzers and sensors. 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.