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Controlled force pneumatic torque wrenches optimise speed and safety

Supplier: Enerpac By: Andrew Marsh
16 February, 2017

Pneumatic torque wrench systems offer a clean, fast and non-impact way to tighten bolts and fastener assemblies by a predetermined amount, optimising joint integrity and workplace safety.

These easy-to-use maintenance and fabrication tools are useful to avoid excessive tightening if there is a risk of fastener breakage, or where it may become too difficult to remove fasteners afterwards.

They are particularly handy in ensuring that groups of fasteners are tightened evenly, so as to provide safe and reliable joints for long-term mechanical and structural integrity.

Because of their simple construction and absence of the hammering vibration compared with impact technologies – which can break or at least weaken wheel and flange studs – the latest families of reliable and lightweight pneumatic wrenches are very useful and workplace-friendly in factory, workshop, worksite and pipeline applications where compressed air is readily available. The low-vibration design reduces operator fatigue and minimises the risk of vibration related injuries, particularly on the hand.

"Controlled force is definitely the safest and most precise way to go about tightening fasteners," says Australasian bolting authority Andrew Marsh. "This is true whether you are using pneumatic torque wrenches to provide torque of, say, 1000-8000 Nm, or using high-pressure hydraulics to apply precision higher forces sometimes up to 6 times greater than that," says Marsh, who is National Bolting Manager for the global Enerpac high-force tools organisation.

Marsh has extensive experience with Enerpac's pneumatic, hydraulic and mechanical tools in applications across industries extending from manufacturing, mining and energy and construction, through to oil and gas, pipelines, infrastructure and civil engineering.

He says different types of controlled force tools are ideal for different applications, but pneumatic torque wrenches such as Enerpac's PTW range have built-in advantages for diverse repetitive tasks.

Modern pneumatic torque wrenches such as the PTW feature a low friction air motor driving a planetary gear box with a very high reduction ratio. The gear box features a reaction arm to absorb the torque reaction. Unlike impact wrenches, a pneumatic torque wrench is driven by continuous gearing and hence has no noisy and hazardous hammering. This is why a pneumatic torque wrench has an excellent accuracy and repeatability. The combination of air motor with planetary gear guarantees fast, safe and economical operation.

Enerpac's new Pneumatic Torque Wrenches – in maximum torque capacities from 1356-8135 Nm (1000-6000 ft lb) – have an additional important advantage in that they share the global service, backup and reliability of Enerpac tools in widespread use throughout Australasia and worldwide. They also feature commonality of motors and parts to facilitate maintenance in demanding industries including mining, oil and gas, construction, transport, ship building, manufacturing and power generation

Service backup and product availability extends from global and national resources through to local and individual worksite experience of Enerpac's extensive network of service centre operations complemented by local Enerpac Territory Managers.

One-stop solutions

"Enerpac's one-stop, solutions-based approach – containing a full range of optimum tool options in one compact range with proven service – is highly valued by companies seeking time-saving choice, consistency of quality and traceability of outcomes," says Marsh.

The CE certified tools, delivered with a calibration certificate to ensure accuracy and safety, complement the full global Enerpac ranges of controlled bolting solutions for joint assembly, controlled tightening and separation.

Enerpac technologies span mechanical, pneumatic, electrical and high-pressure hydraulic (700 Bar/10,000 psi) technologies including hexagonal and square drive torque wrenches, tensioners and complementary solutions-based technologies all available from the one source.

"Because of their cost-efficient, simple and rapid high speed continuous rotation operation – using standard factory and mobile compressors found across a huge range of industries – Enerpac pneumatic torque wrenches will be especially suited to workshop tasks and on-site applications requiring speed and easy operation," says Marsh.

Features and benefits of Enerpac pneumatic torque wrenches include:

  • Ergonomic design with weight-distributing handle and simple shape providing easy handing for repetitive tasks while eliminating trap points for fingers and impact hazards with older, imprecise manual tightening methods
  • Simple operation – just set the air pressure and pull the trigger. Continuous rotation means no time is needed to re-stroke tools, saving time.
  • Low-vibration design to reduce fatigue and the risk of vibration-related injuries, particularly hand (HAV) hazard. Planetary gearbox design eliminates hammer action.
  • Low- noise air motor (under 85 dba) for quiet, consistent performance for indoor and outdoor applications.
  • Common to all models, the proven air motor means fewer parts need to be carried by service centres.
  • High commonality of drive and reaction arm options for lower inventory and speedier maintenance
  • Convenience features including easily accessible tightening/loosening switch and standard 3m hose and standard reaction arm, complemented by a wide assortment of optional custom arms and accessories
  • Availability with or without standard easily portable filter/regulator/lubricators to enhance reliability and durability under demanding service conditions