QX Series Cordless Precision
The digital revolution is here, and at first glance that may not mean much to
you. When paired with actual tools that collect useful, impactful data, it will.
by John Hitch I N G
INGERSOLL RAND QX SERIES CORDLESS PRECISION FASTENING SYSTEM
We see a lot of people touting the next big thing in ERPs to reduce wasted resources, or how a fancy new algorithm facilitates a double-digit drop in ineffciencies. Consultants and developers preach “paradigm
shifts” and “digital transformations,” but what does any of
that actually mean?
The problem, besides the aggressively aloof Big Tech jargon, is
that most of these digital tools are incredibly esoteric, even alien
at times. If something has more horsepower than the competition, you get that it’s powerful. If something is IP69-rated, you
know it’s pretty tough. But software is a different matter. One
manufacturer saving $1 million because they made the switch to
the cloud-enabled MES version of Geico doesn’t prove you will.
Every so often, though, a manufacturer fnds a way to bridge
the divide between hardware and software, between upper-level
ambitions and factory foor common sense. That’s what tool
and equipment manufacturer Ingersoll Rand has achieved with
the QX Series Cordless Precision Fastening System, which the
company says “will carry the industry into the future.”
And like the ergonomic handles on these screwdrivers and
angle wrenches, the way they do this is fairly easy to grasp.
These smart tools measure, store, and monitor the amount of
torque applied to fasteners on the assembly line in high precision
assembly processes. They have eight confgurable tightening
settings, programmable from a USB or on the keyboard on the
back of the device. The screen above those controls indicate
the measured torque or angle.
A closed-loop transducer integrated in the tool acts as a string
gauge measuring physical data such as torsional load and peak
torque, sending this data, along with more than 20 other bits of
data (including tool ID info) to a process communication module.
This hub is connected to plant’s Ethernet network, and can
communicate back and forth with your MES or archival server.
“It certainly has a lot of technical capabilities, but we believe
these tools should be simple enough that an expert isn’t required,” says Jeff Lowe, the company’s global product manager,
who adds that you can have it out of box and operational by a
frst-time user in less than 10 minutes.
The tools send data across a variation of low-power Zigbee in
short bursts, so the 20-v Lithium-Ion battery expends its energy
on work, not telling all your business to some other machine. It
still shares that data, which includes simple stuff such as time,
date, and serial number all the way to details like high and low
torque limits, and how many times the spindle turns.
“That’s for if you’re trying catch duplicate attempts at a single
fastener,” he explains. “It detects a stripped fastener if it turns
too many times.”
He adds that too much torque too soon would indicate a
“All the data that gets created cannot only be used to
monitor accuracy of the tool, but the productivity, how many
cycles users are doing in a minute and how many failures
they’re having,” Lowe says. “Sometimes they are releasing
the trigger before the tool stops, which is an indication that
the operator needs more training, because they’re trying to
jump the gun—literally.”
Precision fastening is used for high accuracy applications
in heavy equipment, light manufacturing, automotive, and
aerospace applications. In the case of aerospace, where those
screws may be holding together engines or wings 10,000 feet
in the air, every fastener is absolutely critical.
“We’re talking about life-affecting failures,” Lowe says. “If
there’s a failure of a fastener, there could be catastrophic
If something did go wrong on an airplane, Lowe says the
data derived from the assembly line, conclusively showing
the correct torque values, could exonerate a manufacturer.
“It not only protects yourself, but [investigators could] also
do a deep dive on the whys, and how we can improve for the
future,” Lowe says.
With around two dozen different data points, the user could
come up with their own ways to leverage the new information,
such as tracking individual users’ speed and effciency to
improve throughput or for gamifcation purposes.
“We probably don’t even know the right way—or the best
way—to use them yet,” says Lowe.
That’s because the “right way” to use your data isn’t dictated
by a tool manufacturer or Silicon Valley startup, but discovered
within the confnes of your plant.
For the full article, visit:
Ingersoll Rand QX Series Precision Screwdriver
Circle 316 on card or visit www.nedinfo.com/70194-316