How-to-Guide / Screwdriving and Riveting Assembly

How To Reduce Rework and Rejects When Installing Threaded Fasteners

March 5, 2014

Tools with transducers save your plant time, money and effort in almost every category. This is done through speeding up the fastening process, ensuring accurate fastening results and collecting data in the case of product failure as required by the plant.

The impact of duplicating effort on reworked and failed pieces in the manufacturing process cannot be overstated. Customer dissatisfaction is, of course, the primary concern: in addition to a lost sale, the cost of replacing a part, whether covered by warranty or not, escalates too quickly. Product quality ultimately suffers. And then any recall or warranty repair costs your plant time and money that could otherwise be spent increasing margins or expanding operations. Capacity reduction is another concern, as are the long lead times for replacing materials, which could lead to losing market share. This all adds up to your company’s or your brand’s reputation being diminished in the eyes of your customers.

Making the switch from clutch tools to transducer tools offers several specific advantages. The first can be seen in the fasteners themselves—for example, self-threading sheet metal screws need to use the prevailing torque strategy by compensating for the torque needed to start the fastening rundown. This is evident with crimp nuts, nylon-lock nuts, Loctite and interference fit fasteners.

Being able to control the speed of the tool, especially through various stages of the operation, leads to far fewer lost and failed products. Moving too fast creates heat that can deform or otherwise damage the material. Clutch tools, lack the finesse that guarantees each stage of fastening is standardized.

When you can control all aspects of the fastening cycle, the occasional manufacturer variance from part to part can be overcome in the fastening process. In fact, the ability to automate the process lets the transducer shut off the tool when the action completes as well as ensuring that the process remains the same between fastening cycles. Hard joints in particular benefit from automation because there is lower risk of overtorquing or creating a failure point.

Your operators will benefit as well. The tools do not run themselves, but transducer tools take the guesswork out of the fastening process. Clutch tools give feedback only when the operation is complete. Collecting available torque data is another positive aspect of transducer tools. Clutch tools cannot collect data once the operation is complete, while transducer tools are sophisticated enough to take many data points, including adding things like a VIN. If you have the proper torque strategy already programmed, there is less physical and mental stress upon the operator.

Clutch tools need a mechanical setup which must be constantly recalibrated and retested. Some clutch tools may not complete their cycle if the battery powering it exceeds a specific remaining available charge. Swapping a part of the process out, such as different brand of fastener, requires immediate recalibration in addition to that required for standard upkeep. Mechanical wear on a clutch tool is another concern, as is the fact a clutch tool can only handle one torque process at a time.

Finally, transducer tools allow more flexibility in material and fastener choice. Time spent retesting and recalibrating clutch tools could thus be spent in production. After recognizing both high and low limits, transducer tools carry out the job without the need to calculate torque amounts each time the operator makes a slight change.

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