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Mastering Running Torque in Precision Assembly

In precision assembly, ensuring that each fastener is tightened to the exact torque specification is essential, particularly in load-bearing parts. Properly accounting for running torque, also known as prevailing torque, is critical in achieving this precision. By accurately managing running torque, manufacturers can improve the consistency and reliability of their assembly process.

Key Benefits of Managing Running Torque:

1. Consistent Assembly Quality: By controlling for running torque in the tightening process, manufacturers can ensure that installed fasteners apply the desired clamping force to the joint. While the relationship between clamping force and torque is never exact (as explained in our fundamentals of threaded fasteners article), controlling for running torque greatly reduces the variability in clamping force obtained. This reduces the risk of over-tightening or under-tightening, which can lead to component failure in the field.

2. Error proofing: By setting upper and lower bounds on the prevailing torque required on a given application, manufacturers can spot errors in real time and prevent product failures in the field. For example, a bad batch of thread-locking nuts could be detected because it fails to provide the minimum running torque value, even if the nut dimensions and final torque are in spec. Cross threading can be detected when running torque exceeds the upper limit, stopping the cross-threading in its tracks before it damages the part.

3. Enhanced Product Safety and Reliability: A properly installed thread-locking fastener, with compensated prevailing torque, can help create more secure couplings that are less likely to loosen over time even when subjected to vibrations or cyclic loads, compared to a non thread-locking fastener installed with the same clamping torque.

4. Data Collection and Traceability: Modern, Industry 4.0 compliant electric screwdrivers with torque, prevailing torque, and angle control like our K-DUCER lines can record data for each fastening operation. This data can be leveraged by multiple teams within the manufacturing organization, including quality control and assurance, continuous improvement and statistical process control, and even supply chain! For example, you could look at trends in the prevailing torque of your thread-locking fasteners over time, and hold your supplier accountable if you identify a deterioration in the average or spread of the prevailing torque value.

6. Reduced Tool and Component Wear: Proper management of running torque minimizes unnecessary stress on both fasteners and assembly tools. This leads to less wear and tear, extending the lifespan of both the tools and the assembled products.

Critical Applications for Running Torque Monitoring:

In the automotive and aerospace industry, the use of thread-locking compounds to prevent fasteners from loosening due to vibrations is common. These compounds introduce additional friction during assembly. Properly managing running torque in these situations is crucial to ensure that fasteners achieve the correct clamping force despite the added resistance. This prevents loosening and enhances the reliability and safety of the vehicle.

Recently, a Kolver aerospace customer needed to monitor running torque to ensure it never exceeded a certain value. The engineers required a system that was intuitive to use and easy to set up. They quickly figured out how to configure their new K-DUCERs to achieve this goal and commented that it was as easy as using a simple iPhone app. This ease of use allowed them to considerably shorten implementation time (hours instead of weeks!) compared to their previous torque tools and quickly move on to their next project.

Furthermore, unlike some of our competitors, there are no licenses or additional costs associated with using these advanced features. What you see is what you get.

Want to know more?

Our previous article on running torque strategies outlines how to quickly set up your K-DUCER to handle running torque. If you need further help, contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

Remember that effectively handling running torque in precision assembly is not just about adhering to a given fastening spec; it’s about ensuring the highest standards of quality, safety, and efficiency. For industries where precision is critical, monitoring and compensating for running torque can prevent failures that might otherwise lead to costly repairs or catastrophic outcomes. By using tools like the K-DUCER, which are both easy to set up and intuitive to use, manufacturers can integrate advanced torque strategies seamlessly into their processes.

This not only enhances the reliability and longevity of their products but also streamlines the assembly process, providing a competitive edge in a demanding market. Embracing these strategies ensures that manufacturers can meet the highest expectations of quality and performance, safeguarding their reputation and ensuring customer satisfaction.