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The future of bolt fastening solutions

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No matter how big and complex your machinery gets, at its heart, holding everything together, is the humble little bolt.

Bolts are really the only way to join big pieces of equipment while still allowing you to take them apart for maintenance, but there are many factors that must be considered. Bolted joints must stay together until a decision is made to take them apart. Regardless of the equipment or situation, the purpose of every industrial bolting job is 100 per cent joint reliability.

A critical but costly exercise

Mining companies around the world are faced with the challenge of accurate bolt fastening for torque-critical joints. These joints can be found site-wide, from your excavators, dump trucks, earthmovers and wheel loaders to your tunnel boring machines, infrastructure, pipework and upstream equipment. It goes without saying that in a heavy duty, high risk environment such as a mine site, accuracy of applied torque is critical.

Bolt fastening has traditionally been a labour intensive and consequently costly exercise, using manual click wrenches that commonly over-torque joints, hydraulic wrenches which are externally powered and bulky, requiring two personnel to operate or air and corded electric nutrunners, which require changing pressure on regulator with pressure to torque chart.

Inefficient operation is only part of the challenge, with the added issues of indeterminate control and monitoring. Many companies are currently using dated guesswork of manually recording torque goals with paper and pencil in the field. While time is valuable, accuracy and consistency/ traceability of performance are the cornerstones of a compliant and safe work site. Without a precise auditing method, how can you be sure your tool is doing its job?

A fresh approach to bolt fastening

Fortunately, commercial and compliance challenges often drive innovation, which brings us to Ingersoll Rand’s QX Series Cordless Torque Multiplier. This revolutionary tool has been specifically designed to replace manual, inaccurate fastening methods with a traceable method that is quicker and more effective.

Relatively new to the Australian market, the QX Series Torque Multiplier employs advanced technology, communication and control features to ensure accurate, repeatable bolting for industrial applications. The tool is available in five different combinations of torque and speed capability, ranging from 30 to 1,475 foot-pounds (2000Nm) and 5 to 45 revolutions per minute (rpm).

The multiplier features a brushless motor paired with a premium Norbar gearbox. At the heart of the Torque Multiplier is the Ingersoll Rand closed-loop transducer, which is the key to delivering torque precision, unmatched accuracy and traceable results. The tool operates on the Ingersoll Rand IQV20 Series battery system and each 20-volt battery charge will run down an average of 100 bolts.

Compared to manual and imprecise alternatives, this tool has multiple user-programmable configurations such as torque, angle and gang count. These functions can be navigated directly on the tool or programmed from a computer and up to eight strategies can be stored at the same time. The multi-function display module provides visual feedback via red, yellow and green lights, signalling whether the bolt has exceeded, or not met, the torque limit or angle, or if the proper gang count was reached. Your business will benefit immediately, with improved efficiency and ability to hit nuts in faster sequence.

Replacing potentially erroneous and time-consuming manual record-keeping practices, the multiplier can store records for up to 1,200 fastenings, which can be downloaded to a computer via a USB cable or wirelessly transferred to a dedicated Process Communication Module (PCM). Now reliable data is available for review, analysis and record keeping at any time.

Finally, operators can move freely without the inconvenience of bulky air or hydraulic hoses, or power packs, because the Torque Multiplier is cordless and compact. The 360-degree adjustable handle provides the operator a comfortable grip and provisions for a tethering point. These features allow maximum flexibility when working on multiple joints and accessing odd angles.

Reaping the benefits

While the QX Torque Multiplier sounds great on paper, results are what count when the tool is put to the test out in the field. The QX Torque Multiplier has successfully been utilised across mining, heavy equipment, rail, construction, infrastructure, military and process automation industries in the US and Asia.

With customers including Airbus, Genie, John Deere, Hyundai, Eaton, CAT, Iveco, Neway, Trinity Rail and much more, hundreds of businesses are reaping the benefits of safer, faster and more economical bolt fastening.

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