Most people have heard of torque wrenches even if they don’t work with tools. Relatively few people have heard of torque screwdrivers, though, and those who have usually work in specialized fields where they are commonly used. In other fields, like automotive repair or facilities maintenance, the reaction to finding a torque tolerance for a screw may very well be to slap a screw bit adapter on a torque wrench equipped with a quarter inch driver to make a screwdriver torque wrench. The results depend on the type of wrench and the size of the screw shaft.
If the wrench is a cam-over torque wrench that disengages at the torque limit, things may turn out okay. If it is a click wrench that only notifies the user with an audible click once it arrives at the specified torque value, then the torque limit may be exceeded before the user realizes they should stop turning. In this case, the screw shaft could shear through and the staff may need to use an extraction kit. The extraction kit may also be needed if it is a small screw that calls for an inch-pound (lbf.in) torque wrench when foot-pound torque wrenches are the only options available. Since most screws have torque specifications in the lbf.in range and most torque wrenches are rated in pound feet (lbf.ft), this is a distinct possibility that highlights the need for torque screwdriveres.
The Importance of a Torque Screwdriver
Torque is a measure of the rotational force applied to a fastener. It equals the force applied multiplied by the distance from its point of application. If not enough force is applied, then the fasteners will be too loose and can vibrate free over time. However, screws tend to be smaller and less robust than other fasteners, which increases the chances of damaging the fastener if too much force is applied. Screws are also generally used in applications such as joining plastic housings. In these sorts of applications, softer metals like aluminum may be used. Over-tightening screws can ruin not only the screw but also the substrate or components that they join. This makes it especially important to use the right tool for the job.
Shearing the shaft of one of the screws that hold the bracket to an engine block can mean pulling the whole engine block so that a drill can be lined up to extract it. Punching a screw through a condenser mount while performing commercial refrigeration repairs can mean waiting weeks for parts. Cracking a hard drive’s plastic housing on the assembly production line can bring things to a halt while it is properly recorded and discarded. In short, choosing the right torque screwdrivers for an application rather than trying to press an available torque tool into the role offers an impressive return on investment.
Choosing the Torque Screwdriver You Need
The right torque screwdriver depends on the job. An automotive repair shop where torque specifications for screws are rather uncommon may be able to manage with a few adjustable torque screwdrivers. Although, dealerships that specialize in luxury cars with exacting specifications may prefer to provide their mechanics with a variety of preset torque screwdrivers to ensure that every mechanic has the right tool for the job. The same holds true of the boutique auto repair shops that specialize in older luxury vehicles or classic cars. Dial torque screwdrivers can check torque settings during repairs and help to ensure a high degree of quality control.
Manufacturers of products should consider equipping their employees with power assembly tools. Assembly lines for electronics should be equipped with electric screwdrivers mounted to torque arms to ensure screws are driven at the correct angle to prevent cross-threading and prevent employee fatigue. Programmable DC control tools allow torque settings to change automatically and, when coupled with a bit socket tray that sets the torque for the employee, greatly enhances production speed. Automation screwdrivers allow critical fastening to be done by machinery. Industrial manufacturers working with heavy-duty parts will benefit most from air screwdrivers and pulse tools.
There is a huge variety of torque screwdrivers available for every application in repair and production. Keeping every screw tight—but not too tight—while ensuring your repair shop or assembly runs smoothly is easily done simply by choosing the right torque screwdriver instead of being satisfied with make-do solutions. After all, investing in the correct tools for the job always generates a return.
Mountz, Inc. understands the importance of precision fastening and offers a full range of torque screwdriveres to get the work done quickly, correctly, and exactly to specifications. 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.