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Industry trends show manufacturing plants are taking advantage of electric and battery tools. Battery-powered tools have become commonplace on the assembly line because they provide freedom from cords and wires, improve safety and ergonomics for workers and offer many of the benefits of electric tools at a lower cost.
The largest market segment for electric and battery tools is automotive manufacturing. Though the entire manufacturing industry is experiencing the expanded use of these products on many other assembly lines, such as aerospace, recreational transport (ATVs, watercraft, motorcycles), appliances, heavy agriculture, electronics, construction equipment and general assembly applications that need greater quality control and assurance.
There are several reasons why manufacturing plants are predominately choosing precision electric and battery tools. When it comes to improving product safety, quality control and reducing costs, the old-school mindset of “tighten to torque” simply won’t cut it.
One way to detect and analyze failures is with network-connected tools that provide a data-driven perspective. For safety, multi-purpose functionality and quality-critical applications, a plant-wide network enables greater productivity, as network-connected tools ensure a highly accurate, repeatable and traceable fastening process. The data collected and stored from each tool within the assembly line is critical to delivering this capability.
Electric and battery-driven systems allow operators to move around freely, with error-proofing capabilities and the ability to adjust to multiple torque conditions through simple programming. Manufacturers that are improving their quality control are rapidly deploying electric and battery assembly tools that offer greater accuracy, flexibility, control and can be equipped with integrated, wireless networking capabilities for traceability.
Case in point, an American appliance manufacturer was using shut-off torque control tools to tighten freezer lids on upright appliances. Shut-off torque control tools will run until they reach the desired torque, but they lack the angle monitoring capability that would identify stripped screws. When the tool stripped a screw, workers were forced to spend more time drilling out and replacing it on the production line. Additionally, shut-off torque control tools are susceptible to drops in compressed air pressure. If the required air pressure is not being delivered to the tools, the tools may shut off before they hit the torque required for accurate assembly.
Ingersoll Rand® helped that customer develop an overall assembly solution and replaced the shut-off torque control tools with the QX Series™ cordless precision screwdriver with advanced torque control capabilities, transducer control and angle inspection for monitoring. These features eliminated the torque over-shoot issue, and the on-board pass/fail indicator provided immediate feedback if an angle failure occurred.
By replacing the shut-off torque control tools with the QX Series battery tools, the customer was able to reduce the re-work required on the top panel by more than 50 percent. With the increased uptime and improved production rates, the customer expects to recoup the new tool investment in less than three months.