For many years, industrial bolting in particular, hydraulic torque and tensioning tools and IT couldn’t have been further apart. It is only recently that this industry has recognised the potential benefits of the use of IT.
In the recent past, tables, slide rules and good old field experience, were the tools of the trade as far as identifying
the torque and residual bolt load required for each application.
Scarily, going not too much further back than that, some old school bolting technicians claimed they could tell when a bolt was tight by the ring of the flogging spanner when they whacked it with a hammer!
Thankfully, these day’s health and safety regulations, and let’s be honest, good old common sense, requires something a little more than basic.
Not only do we need to calculate bolt loads, but we need to produce work instructions and joint completion records.
On a moderate sized petrochemical plant there can be many thousands of joints of a variety of types and sizes, and they all need to be recorded and have a history trail throughout the life of the plant.
You can hear the forests screaming from here as we consider the amount of paper necessary to do this in the past.
Over the last decade, the industry has woken up to the fact that information technology, in a number of formats, can make a massive difference to the calculation and recording of bolted industrial joints.
From simple manufacturer’s apps providing bolt load calculations, bolting patterns and tool selection recommendations, to a fully live, unbiased, cloud based system with an extensive team of industry experts working in the background, there are now a wide variety of software options out there.
What is missing however, is a user friendly and robust hardware interface between the operator, the tool, the power pack, and the data storage software.
There are some really clunky, expensive and difficult to handle systems out there, as well as a few attempts to use tablets or smart phones.
Any of you with teenagers will appreciate the fact that tablets and smart phones don’t do well in dirty, tough environments (bedrooms and bolting applications alike).
There is now a revolutionary, robust, cost effective, wireless device of a similar size to a smart phone, that cannot only lead the operator through each bolt to the correct torque, in sequence, and store the data real time to the cloud, but it can actually control and operate the pump and tool independently removing all the potential for human error.
As well as having its own nifty software package, the system can also interface with others offering the flexibility to meet the varied preferences of clients. It can store and provide work instructions so that a supervisor can sit in his office in London monitoring a bolting operation real time in Germany.
With many more amazing features, including a high-resolution camera to record images of the bolting operation at all stages, this really is the future of industrial bolting! GPS, 3G/4G, WiFi, barcoding, and many other features makes it adaptable to most any data collection application.
The system also works in conjunction with the TorqTag® bolt markers, scanning each bolt during the process to ensure the correct sequence is followed.
If the operator scans the wrong bolt, the system will not allow the Commander to enter the data collection screen, guaranteeing parallel joint closure and assured integrity every time.
With more and more asset owners, and the whole health and safety industry, insisting upon detailed data acquisition and storage for each and every bolted joint, everybody in the bolting industry will be required to offer such solution packages as this to provide their data.