Manual torque wrenches and multipliers are standard in the industry, but their application to finalize bolting tasks can be tedious, inaccurate, time-consuming, and unsafe.
Since the 60s hydraulic wrenches had become state-of-the-art tools when precision bolting was required, new technologies emerged in the 80s when electric and pneumatic torque multipliers hit the market.
Vertical industrial markets such as the power, heavy equipment manufacturers, oil and gas, construction, wind and infrastructure have been using a mix of manual and hydraulic wrenches, battery, electric and pneumatic torque multipliers to apply appropriate and required torque with high precision.
This blog post will compare manual bolting methods to hydraulic bolting solutions consisting of a pump and wrench and battery, electric and pneumatic torque multipliers.
High Torque Requirements force many industrial users to select the appropriate tools to apply such high forces on significantly sized nuts and bolts. Corroded and rusted fasteners play a crucial role when breaking them loose. Powerful and modern tools make it child's play. These tools can mitigate the impact on the users by giving them tools that have little effect on the body parts, such as the wrists when operating a torque "gun". State-of-the-art torque multipliers have hardly any force transmission from gear drive to handle. This is not the case with impact torque "guns". Hydraulic wrenches have no transfer as the wrench sits autonomously on the nut, and the pump is activated via remote control.
Manual torque multipliers are causing significant fatigue and are the least preferred methods. Cheater bars can cause injuries to the operator during the job. To avoid operator injuries, stripping threads or breaking bolt heads, we recommend using adequate torque solutions to achieve controlled bolting.
We suggest using an Electric, Battery, Pneumatic or Hydraulic Bolting System for high torque requirements. For convenience and portability, battery torque wrenches are ideal tools.
Torque Multipliers are available in various sizes, capabilities and custom applications for applying torque to virtually any type of fastener.
Let's summarize the differences between the power tools.
Hydraulic pumps power hydraulic wrenches, FRL (Filter-Regulator-Lubricator) units connect to pneumatic torque multipliers (air 25-35cfm at 90psi), and electric torque multipliers are either cordlessly powered by a battery or by a regular 115V or 230V plug.
Some of the key differences between the hydraulic, battery/electric and pneumatic torque multipliers are as follows:
Electric, battery or pneumatic torque multipliers are the fastest as they are continuously rotating and some of them have two speeds, one to run the nut down fast and one to apply maximum torque. Hydraulic tools are the slowest.
For high torque requirements, hydraulic tools beat the other tools in the very high areas. For example, an electric or pneumatic torque multiplier can offer torque output up to 35k ft-lbs, while a battery-driven one can deliver only up to 5,000 ft-lbs. A hydraulic torque wrench can offer up to 100k ft-lbs or more, making it more potent than other torque methods.
Size & Weight
Hydraulic torque wrenches are usually lighter than a torque multiplier, but other tools are lighter in adding the weight of the hydraulic pump. Battery torque multipliers are the most convenient, portable and lightweight.
The technologies are the most accurate torque systems in the industry with mere differences. They offer around +/- 3% repeatability. Bolt tensioners provide higher accuracy.
Battery tools are cordless and the easiest to operate among them as they are cordlessly powered. Electric need a power plug, and Pneumatic and Hydraulic tools are equally friendly to use, even considering that the operator uses an FRL unit or pump to power the tools.
Often not only the above is important but also the kind of application, accessibility to the nuts and reaction possibilities.
Calibration and regular tool maintenance are necessary to ensure functionality, accuracy and precision while avoiding a premature breakdown. Usually, these tools are delivered with a calibration certificate. Annual inspection and calibration are highly recommended.
The blog post is meant to give the reader a better understanding of the critical differences between the several technologies. Powered torque multipliers and/or hydraulic bolting systems offer torque control, increase the speed of the job, can apply higher torque and enhance safety compared to slugging or manual wrenches.
For more information contact us here.