As mentioned in our previous article, torque wrenches apply the desired torque on a fastener to either loosen or tighten it. However, there are a lot of factors involved that reduce the life of these torque tools. Based on our two decades of experience in the industry, we have compiled a list of common problems that cause the tool to fail or breakdown. To slow down the deterioration, we will share some preventive measures that can reduce maintenance costs.
Why does a torque wrench break?
1. Wrong application study
It is important to design and recommend torque tools only after understanding the application. The application study is crucial as multiple factors are analyzed before recommending the right torque tool and components to complete the job swiftly without any breakdowns.
2. Incorrect fitting
Incorrectly fitting the tool to the stud creates side load. This usually occurs when the operator is provided limited tool training or due to an incorrect application study. Side load slowly damages torque tools as they are constantly fitting it improperly, which can lead the torque tool to breakdown in the long run. It also damages the tool housing in due course of time.
3. Positioning the reaction arm incorrectly
As per Newton’s 3rd law, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Considering the law, while applying torque with a torque wrench, it requires a reaction arm that would lock itself at an adjacent point. In doing so, a standard torque wrench will align itself to achieve parallel placing of the action axis (torqueing axis or bolt axis) and the reaction axis on the same plane.
4. Improper handling or storage
Improper handling is one of the most common problems causing tool breakdown. One such problem witnessed is that torque tools are not cleaned properly after use. It is important to clean the tool regularly as dirt and debris from previous usage can wear the tool or components off. Another issue noticed under improper handling is that technicians often pull hoses to adjust an operational tool. They also do this to lift the torque tool easily. Such kind of improper handling can damage the seals of the swivel post. For easy handling, we recommend using a tool handle. As a safety measure, it also keeps the operator’s fingers away from the reaction or pinch point. To ensure proper storage, every tool should have a delegated location and case for easy storage and access.
Measures required to safeguard a torque wrench
1. Correct application study
As discussed about the impacts of an incorrect application study, our analysis shows that a correct application study can resolve up to 40% of tool breakdown cases. Every site engineer should understand the application before recommending a tool to the customer. Wrong tool suggestion can be a huge economical loss for the customer as it can damage both tool and application.
A correct application study involves the type of application, understanding of the industry, torque requirement, and availability of space to name a few. These factors help the engineer understand the right tool for the application.
2. Complete tool training
Every operator should be provided a complete training on handling the tool. It not only acts as a safety measure but also as a preventive measure to avoid tool failure issues due to sideload. Therefore, training reduces maintenance costs by allowing the operator to use the tool right. Training also demonstrates the importance of tool handling to avoid pinch points.
3. Scheduled tool maintenance
Scheduling tool maintenance is important as it does not limit to repairs but also includes auditing and calibration which checks on the health of the tool. Auditing helps detect any problem in the tool so that it can be rectified as soon as possible. Similarly, tool calibration checks the accuracy of torque wrenches. It is important to audit and calibrate tools because tool accuracy deters as they age.
We hope this article has helped you understand the most common problems causing tool breakdown. Practice our recommended preventive measures to enhance the life of your tool. Visit us next time for more knowledge sharing articles.