- SPECIAL REPORTS
When manufacturers have to select fastening tools for critical joint applications one would expect the quality department to be included in the process. However, in today’s assembly environment, health and safety managers are involved in reviewing new tools as well or at times they are the ones driving the initiatives to replace old tooling.
That’s because many types of assembly applications where the operator has to apply torque to a screw or a bolt can result in a repetitive strain injury. According to OSHA, repetitive strain injuries cost up to $20 billion annually in workers compensation claims. Of these types of injuries, two thirds of them are caused by repeated trauma to the wrist, elbow, or shoulder. In today’s workplace it does not have to be a specific accident that results in a claim – a claim can be made for individuals who develop an injury over time as a result of using the tools given to them to perform their tasks at work. So health and safety concerns are as much a part of the cost decision for assembly line investments as those for quality and process time.
The choice for the best assembly method has been electronic fastening systems, “DC Tools”, for years. These systems can measure torque results with built in transducers and measure the rotation of bolts with resolver based motors. With the ability to save thousands of results as well as tie into the I/O or communication protocols of the assembly line, DC tools have become the tooling standard for bringing quality to the fastening process.
However, DC tools conform to the physical law that for every force there is an equal, but opposite force. Operators that use DC tools have to hold them and absorb the torque reaction as the tool tightens the fastener. To avoid the types of injuries mentioned above, manufacturers will often use reaction arms or devices to hold the tool. These work well, but can make the workspace crowded and for some applications they restrict the tool from having easy access to the fastener. But there really has been no alternative to resolve the issue until now.
In October at The Assembly Show, Desoutter launched its new
E Pulse tool. While air pulse tools have been on the market for a long time, they often require service and do not offer the assembly assurance features of the DC tools. The E Pulse tool is new and different because it is truly an all electric DC tool. With the E Pulse system, results can be saved, multiple rundown programs can be used, and information can be transmitted through the assembly line protocol. However, with a Desoutter patent pending technology, the E Pulse pulses as the torque increases so the operator feels no torque reaction to the wrist or arm. The tool does not have to be held firmly in the hand, but allows the operator the flexibility to extend their arms and tighten the fasteners that can be hard to reach on many products. Unlike traditional DC tools, though, the E Pulse does not slow down cycle time as it has a rundown speed of over 4000 rpm. And with no oil pulse chamber to service, the E Pulse tool reduces service time and is a very clean system for the environment.
The Desoutter E Pulse currently is available as a pistol tool with additional tools to come to the marketplace in the future. The E Pulse is the tool of choice to meet the needs of both the quality and the health and safety departments for today’s assembly manufacturer.