We all need ongoing maintenance and care to keep us going on a day to day basis, so do the tools we use. Having the right tool for the job is very important, but maintaining your tool in top working order is vital. By regularly checking your tool you can help to prevent some unnecessary early repair costs and having to replace it too soon.
Back Off !!
The biggest killer of calibration on torque wrenches with an internal spring is operators who do not back the torque wrench setting off after use.
The best practice is to always return the setting to just under the minimum setting. This allows the spring to return to its natural free length and will help to maintain the calibration of the wrench.
Torque wrenches that are left wound up on high torque settings will generally fail calibration tests compared to ones that have been backed off. This is simply because the free length of the spring on torque wrenches that are left wound up become shorter, therefore causing calibration drop.
Want accuracy for longer? Don't be lazy, don't say you don't have enough time, just back it off, it's up to you.
Digital Torque Wenches
A lot of people who purchase a digital torque wrench believe that they are self-calibrating and that the calibration of the wrench doesn't need to be checked.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
When you turn on your digital torque wrench, it does a "self-check" (much like a late model motor vehicle when you start it up) to make sure the transducer and internal circuitry are ok, but it doesn't calibrate itself.
So digital torque wrenches need to have their calibration checked just like you would do with any other style of torque wrench (i.e. click type torque wrenches). This is the only way to tell if your digital torque wrench is compliant and to ensure that the torque value shown on the LCD display of the torque wrench is what the torque wrench is actually "pulling".
Digital torque wrenches do go out of calibration and are extremely sensitive to knocks and drops.
Don't be fooled by salesperson tech talk mumbo jumbo and remember that it doesn't matter if it is digital, the wrench still needs to be checked.
Cost V's Quality
Some of the most frequently asked questions that I get are:
What is a good Torque wrench?
Is this Torque wrench any good?
What Torque Wrench do you recommend?
How much does a decent Torque Wrench cost?
A torque wrench is no different to any other product. There are always cheap brands available and then there are the ones that cost a lot more. Cheap torque wrenches generally have no spare parts available. If something goes wrong, the wrench becomes a throw away item, whereas manufacturers of more expensive torque wrenches generally have a vast amount of spare parts available to help keep your torque wrench operating like new, without the need for replacement.
I am a firm believer that "you get what you pay for". Expensive torque wrenches have far more superior operating mechanisms, ratchet assemblies and are made from top quality materials. As well as this, extensive research and development and testing will ensure a product that will meet all expectations.
A torque wrench is used for critical torque applications - "rough enough is good enough" just doesn't cut it.
If you are looking for a good quality torque wrench that will give you years of trouble free use, as well as the confidence in knowing that the correct torque of fasteners is being achieved time after time, look no further than the Norbar product range. Norbar have torque wrenches that will cover every application you require.
My advice simply is to take the guess work out of it and invest in confidence. Upgrade before it is too late.
Torque to Tom for a great price on all Norbar products.
Need to check the starting preload of a gearbox or differential?
TWCS recommends that this critical application is best performed with a digital, dial or beam style wrench that is within calibration standards. Out of calibration torque wrenches can cause numerous problems, including premature bearing failure. Although these wrenches are generally more expensive, they provide a definitive reading, taking the guess work out of the job and ensuring a high level of repair.
Dealing with High Voltage
In today's society, Occupational Health and Safety is paramount with businesses constantly looking for safer work practices. If your business deals with voltage, TWCS recommends the use of an insulated torque wrench. Don't put yourself at risk in any voltage applications, whether it be a 12v battery, the ever-expanding high voltage hybrid vehicle market, electrical switchboard or power generation applications, using a non-insulated wrench can lead to a short circuit resulting in serious injury or even death. Insulated torque wrenches provide protection and peace of mind when working with up to 1000 Volts.
The photo shows an example of a "near miss". This wrench was shorted on a battery pack. It has since been replaced with an insulated type torque wrench, providing staff with a safer work practice.
Production Style Torque Wrenches
Has your business ever considered using a Production Style Torque Wrench?
What is a Production Style Torque Wrench? Good question!
A Production Style Torque Wrench is used for applications in a large range of industries from production & assembly to aviation.
Production Style Torque Wrenches come pre-set to a torque value that is required for the particular application. However, if the torque value requires amendment, the pre-set can be changed; it is not set for life!
Production style Torque Wrenches have no scale or increments as well as a different internal operating mechanism compared to an adjustable type torque wrench. As such they are considerably cheaper.
By having a production or pre-set type Torque Wrench, it eliminates the possibility of the operator selecting the incorrect scale, i.e. 20Nm instead of 20ft. lbs, and ensures correct tension of fasteners every time.
These wrenches, like every torque wrench, still require regular calibration testing to ensure that the wrench is operating within the standards (AS 4115 1993, ISO 6789).
So if you think that a production style wrench would suit your industry sector, call Tom @ TWCS to discuss your needs and see which production style wrench would suit your application.
Slipping Ratchet Heads
Many injuries can be caused by slipping ratchet heads on torque wrenches especially when high torque values are required. These injuries can be minimised by repairing the wrench as soon as the slipping ratchet is noticed. The slipping of the ratchet will only increase in frequency the longer it is left in service, increasing the possibility of injury to the user. Ratchet repair kits are available for most well-known brands of torque wrenches, but be aware that for some of the cheaper brands of torque wrenches, ratchet repair kits are not available.
Is your torque wrench ratchet head slipping?
Torque to Tom today
to see if your wrench is repairable.
Industrial Torque Wrench Setting Adjustment
Avoid using a shifter on adjusting nuts as this will wear the scale of your wrench. Use a 7/8" socket your wrench will love you for it, and last longer.
A very common complaint with industrial style torque wrenches is that the scale on the adjusting nut is very hard to see and inevitably results in replacement of the adjusting nut. The best way to adjust an industrial style Torque Wrench is with a socket on a ratchet, this way the scale remains like new. When a shifter or a spanner is used on the adjusting nut where the scale is, over time it wears the scale and makes it very hard to see the desired setting. Also, some adjusting nuts have a hole at the base of the nut. This hole should not be used to put a screwdriver in and turn the adjusting nut as it may damage the threads on the plunger rod and may make the wrench very hard to adjust. In this case, the wrench will require a new plunger rod and nut. The photos show examples of how to and how not to adjust your industrial type torque wrench.
Deflecting Beam Torque Wrenches
While nearly all torque wrenches can be used to torque right hand and left hand threaded fasteners, a deflecting beam style torque wrench is designed only to torque right hand threaded fasteners. Using a deflecting beam style torque wrench on a left hand threaded fastener, or using the wrench to loosen a right hand threaded fastener may result in unrepairable damage to the wrench a cost everyone can do without.
Precautions for Torque Wrenches with Extension Tools
If a Torque wrench is used with an extension i.e. crows foot spanner, this will extend the handle length and the actual torque will be greater than the set torque on the Torque Wrench. If you are using an extension which changes the length of your Torque Wrench here is a simple calculation so you can set your Torque Wrench to accurately achieve the desired torque.
Calculation formula: Torque wrench setting = desired torque x wrench length / wrench length + extension length
200Nm x 360mm / 360mm + 120mm = 150.0Nm
Good housekeeping is essential for torque wrenches. Always ensure your torque wrench is kept clean and store the wrench in its case when not in use. Excessive grease and grime attracts dust and dirt which is detrimental to the longevity of the wrench. When cleaning torque wrenches, TWCS insists that you follow the manufacturers recommendations. For example, if you have a digital torque wrench, don't clean the display with solvents such as BRAKE CLEAN, as it will cause the display to become cloudy, making it harder to see torque values and the settings.