What is a Torque Wrench?
A torque wrench is a precision tool that is used to apply a specific torque or tightness to nuts and bolts to the desired value. Manufacturers include Snap-On, Tekton and ACDelco. There are various ‘types’ of torque wrenches, including the standard wrench, micrometre torque wrench, preset and the deflecting beam torque wrench used for light engineering to heavy industrial jobs.
Torque is measured in foot-pounds (ft. lbs.), or Newton meters (Nm). It can also be measured in inch pounds (in. lbs.) or kilograms per centimetre (kg. cm.) but this is not commonplace.
Torque Wrench Accuracy- Why is it so Important?
Torque wrenches are common tools used in garages, race teams and engine builders. This piece of equipment is considered to be a ‘critical’ tool. Bolt connections may also be considered critical or non-critical. Critical connections require the use of a torque wrench and non-critical bolt connections are more viable if a torque wrench is used. Nuts and bolts are tightened to a specific torque value to guarantee the strength of the connection. Each time the tool is used presents another opportunity for its performance to be compromised. Periodic validation of performance provides reassurance that the torque wrench is operating accurately.
Torque wrenches should be stored and maintained correctly to prevent potentially catastrophic incidents and to safeguard the accuracy of future measurements. Calibration ensures that your torque wrench yields accurate measurements and that connections are reliable. Mechanics or technicians who rely heavily on torque wrench kits use professional calibration experts to ensure that accuracy is verified.
Prevent Your Torque Wrenches Going Off Mark With Regular Professional Calibration
Manufacturer recommendations may vary between types of wrenches, but 12 and six-month calendar calibrations are considered best practice. Torque wrench performance is affected after 2500-3000 cycles, and manufacturers recommend that tools are inspected and recalibrated after approximately 5000 cycles,
Elements that affect the reliability of measurements and calibration frequency include:
- User technique- Knowledgeable and appropriate usage, as opposed to heavy-handedness.
- The frequency of use- How often and how aggressively the tool is used. Likewise, if the tool is seldom used or misused.
- Storage- The tool should be kept in the manufacturer’s case and stored appropriately.
Calibration experts are specialists in metrology who offer calibration services for electrical, temperature and torque equipment. A torque wrench is an instrument that requires expert handling and maintenance to guarantee accurate results. Instruments are calibrated according to a periodic cycle for accuracy, safety, and legal requirements. Torque wrenches can be calibrated by the user (DIY); however, it is recommended that these tools are calibrated by a professional to ensure operational accuracy. Calibration is conducted under strict conditions to ensure that even the slightest variation or deviation from the recommended measurement is identified and corrected as necessary.
Don’t Procrastinate and Tempt Fate, Recalibrate.
Nuts and bolts are mechanical fasteners that are used to maintain the integrity of two or more components. Connections that are compromised can have minor to catastrophic consequences that can be avoided with timely recalibration of your torque wrench. Users are advised to check their calibration log to ensure that calibration is scheduled and completed at the recommended frequency.