If you’re operating a manufacturing or service facility that uses torque wrenches, knowing the cost of calibrating your tools is essential to generating an accurate projected summary of ongoing costs.
Torque tools require calibration. If the products you create or service have torque tolerances specific enough to require torque tools, you’ll need to periodically calibrate your tools in order to meet quality standards. Typical torque calibration intervals are six to twelve months, although certain critical tolerance applications demand more frequent verification, either daily or weekly. As such, understanding calibration costs is necessary for planning your ongoing business expenses.
Comparing In-House Calibration and External Service Center Calibration
There are two ways to calibrate your torque tools:
- Send your tools to a certified service center
- Invest in equipment and training to establish an in-house service center
The advantages of sending your tools to a service center include a lower initial cost and guaranteed quality. The disadvantages are longer turnaround times and a higher cost of service per tool.
If you establish your own service center, on the other hand, you can enjoy rapid turnaround times and a lower cost of repair per tool. However, the initial investment is higher and it adds complexity to your operation. Also, unless your operation has a large number of tools, your in-house service center will suffer from excess, unused capacity, a cost with no benefit.
Costs of In-House Calibration Vs. External Calibration
Typically, operations with fewer torque tools and longer calibration intervals are best served by relying on a certified service center for calibration and repairs. As the operation grows, you can consider preferred service programs, which decrease turnaround times with priority scheduling and reduce paperwork with blanket purchase orders. Only when an operation employs a large number of torque tools or requires very frequent calibration does it make economic sense to establish your own service center.
If you have your own service center, the cost of calibrating torque wrenches comes out to labor and amortization of initial investment. If you are sending your tools to a certified service center, the cost depends on which standard you’re certifying under, the amount of torque your tool can produce, the type of tool, and whether you require rush servicing.
To determine whether it makes economic sense to establish your own service center, consider the unit cost of each calibration. The unit cost of in-house calibration equals the initial and ongoing costs of your in-house service facility, divided by the number of tools you expect to calibrate within a given period. If your in-house unit cost is sufficiently lower than the service center cost, so as to generate a return on your investment within a reasonable time frame, then it makes sense to invest in your own service center.
How Much Torque Wrench Calibration Services Cost: 2018 Price List
The following table, excerpted from Mountz Inc., 2018 Calibration Price List, shows prices for torque tool calibration services:
|WRENCHES & SCREWDRIVERS
Single Direction – Preset
|ANSI-Z540 CW||ISO 17025 CW||Rush Service*|
|0 – 50 lbf.ft||$50||$100||+ $75|
|51 – 250 lbf.ft||$75||$150||+ $75|
|251 – 1,000 lbf.ft||$100||$200||+ $150|
|1,001 – 2,500 lbf.ft||$180||$360||+ $150|
|WRENCHES & SCREWDRIVERS – Adjustable, Dial (Electronic Tools an additional 50%)|
|0 – 50 lbf.ft||$75||$150||+ $75|
|51 – 250 lbf.ft||$110||$220||+ $75|
|251 – 1,000 lbf.ft||$150||$300||+ $150|
|1,0001 – 2,500 lbf.ft||$300||$600||+ $150|
As demonstrated, prices go up based on the size of the tool and are higher for ISO calibrations than ANSI calibrations. The standard your tools must follow will depend on the regulations and best practices governing your industry. Normal turnaround times for tools are five days, but this can be reduced to 48 hours with rush service. Rush service generates a return on cost if the revenue you stand to lose because of tool downtime exceeds the price of service. Prices given are for hand tools; due to the increased complexity of electronic and pneumatic tools, an additional 50% is added to the cost.
Knowing the costs of calibration allows you to plan your future operation’s investment in torque tools. Calibration is a fixed cost of working with torque tools and must be included in any calculations of profit and loss. Writing a detailed business plan, including calibration costs, will help you determine whether to send your tools to an external service center or establish your own service center in-house.