Assembly lines are mesmerizing to watch. Components large and small enter a factory and flow together into the main production line where, step-by-step, they become finished products. While it is a process similar to the course of a river, the flow is powered by human energy and ingenuity. Like a river, an assembly line is made up of small parts, but unlike a river, those parts are not joined automatically or without a plan. Instead, they are fastened together by carefully engineered screws and bolts. Even the force they are turned with must be carefully accounted for, with torque wrench accuracy ranges being closely monitored.
Much of this carefully specced turning is accomplished with torque wrenches that feature ratchet heads. Perhaps the most versatile of precision hand tools, an adjustable socket torque wrench with a ratchet head can fill almost any role on the assembly line. The best assembly tool for your production line may actually be a cost-effective hand torque wrench with a ratchet head. After all, one skilled worker with a ratchet head torque wrench gains the ability to tighten different types of fasteners exactly to spec—a vital asset on modern assembly lines where work stations may be equipped for multiple processes.
Ratchet Head Torque Tools in Assembly Line Manufacturing
Torque is a measure of the radial force applied to a fastener to create tension. The amount of torque determines the amount of tension that joins the fastener and the surfaces it connects together. If there is too little tension, then the fastener can vibrate loose over time. Applying too much torque can deform the fastener, strip the threads, damage the substrates the fastener connects, or even shear through the fastener altogether. Accurate application of torque is vital for every fastener that is placed and tightened on the manufacturing line. After all, a single fastener that is too loose or too tight can shorten the life of the product, whether it is a heavy-duty engine or an electronic component.
A ratchet is a form of toothed gear that, together with an anchored pawl, allows movement in only one direction. When placed in a wrench, it allows a fastener to be turned with a reciprocating motion. The user does not have to remove the wrench from the fastener or need the clearance to turn the fastener and wrench in a complete circle. The ability to tighten or loosen fasteners in tight spaces with limited accessibility has made ratcheting wrenches the standard tool for mechanical repair and assembly. When torque wrenches are mounted with ratchet heads, it allows for both precision control over torque and the flexibility needed to be used in any position.
Choosing Torque Wrenches With Ratchet Heads for Your Manufacturing
There is a tendency to think of manufacturing as an entirely automated process done with robotics. However, most assembly line automation is in the form of belts and conveyor systems that move heavy parts around. Parts are assembled with fasteners tightened with powered and unpowered hand tools. In fact, this mix of automation and labor is quite common in manufacturing and assembly lines that make multiple products from the same assembly line.
While power assembly torque tools are common on today’s assembly lines, there are still plenty of manufacturing set-ups that depend on the versatility of a hand torque wrench with a ratchet head. Often, very small or very specialized fasteners require interchangeable wrench heads or reverse ratchet heads that are adapted to specific functions. Break-over wrenches equipped with interchangeable heads of different types can be set up to fulfill nearly any role on the manufacturing room floor. Due to their ability to disengage the haft of the wrench from the head when the set torque limit is reached, they also prevent over-torquing.
However, torque wrenches with ratchet heads that are similar to standard socket wrenches can use standard sockets and fulfill more roles. For instance, click wrenches emit a click when the set torque is reached. They are less expensive than other torque wrenches and can withstand high levels of torque. Ratchet heads are standard and are available in ¼” to 1” drives, allowing for a variety of sockets. Since click wrenches do not actively prevent over-torquing, if it is vital that torque tolerances are not exceeded, an alternative torque wrench that prevents over-torquing is needed.
Adjustable click wrenches can be set to different values as needed and offer a high level of versatility. Quarter-inch drive click wrenches can use most standard sockets and can tighten fasteners that need anywhere from 20 to 250 inch-pounds of torque. Inch driver versions can be set from 150-750 foot-pounds for heavy-duty manufacturing. These are excellent for industrial manufacturing environments that have relatively few assembly steps but many different types of fasteners at each step. For example, limited engine production or modification runs do well with these tools.
Cam-over torque wrenches with ratchet heads have a similar form factor, many of the same advantages of socket click wrenches, and actively prevent over-torquing. They are equipped with a clutch that disengages the ratchet head from the torque wrench and cannot tighten a fastener over the preset limit. However, their drive size is limited to ¼ inch and their maximum torque setting is a modest 90 lbf.ft of torque. Cam-over torque wrenches, though, disengage when they reach the torque limit. They are a versatile torque tool for manufacturing lines that depend on flexibility and absolute accuracy.
The quality of your products depends on whether or not the fasteners that are tightened on the manufacturing floor reliably hold. Ensuring that they do requires a quality torque wrench with a ratchet head that can be relied on no matter the size of the fastener or where it is placed. Torque wrenches with ratchet heads are an important supplement to power assembly tools that can fasten to the ideal torque in less than ideal circumstances. Maintaining process controls and manufacturing quality products depends on choosing quality torque tools.
Mountz Inc. understands the importance of quality torque tools and the ease of use that comes with torque wrenches with ratchet heads. That’s why we’re committed to making the best break-over, cam-over, and click wrenches for your manufacturing plant employees. 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.