Time is money in the world of manufacturing. Speeding up production with one tool means significant...Read More
Revolutionizing Crane Operations: The Impact of Battery-Powered RAD Torque Wrenches in the Industry
CHALLENGES IN CRANE OPERATIONS
Most job sites have challenges. When that site is dozens, if not hundreds, of feet in the air, those challenges are intensified. The idea of throwing extra tools in a tool bag or grabbing a last-minute hammer wrench must be done with greater consideration. After all, every tool and piece of equipment must be carted up-tower — and most every job is time and cost-sensitive.
The same can be said for crane construction, where accuracy and reliability are critical. In the crane industry, there’s no margin for error when tensioning bolts or properly handling that hammer wrench. Just ask Daniel Gabrielli, a supervisor with Gabrielli Crane Erectors of Ontario, Canada.
“I’ve been doing the job for almost 20 years now, and the tools are critical,” he shares. “We had been using pneumatic tools like impact guns, as well as hammers and wrenches. But I’ll admit, they take a toll over time.”
Ergonomics plays a significant role in repeated tasks, such as drilling or hammering. The weight of the tools also adds to the physicality of the work, especially when climbing up-tower. The toll can result in stress, strain, and slower work.
“Surprisingly, there are still a lot of hydraulic and hammer wrenches used in crane installations,” says Paul Dipp, an outside sales representative and account manager with GTA WEST at Jobsite Equipment Rentals, Sales, and Service. “So, that means a lot of manual labour, which can be taxing when working at heights. It can also be time-consuming. But there is a better and an easier way.”
INTRODUCING RAD TORQUE SYSTEMS’ B-RAD SERIES
Enter the battery-powered torque wrench RAD Torque Systems known as the B-RAD Battery Series, which can read and display torque in real-time. What’s more, these tools from Canadian manufacturer RAD Torque Systems, are the first digital cordless torque wrenches on the market.
“I’ve become a bit of a RAD Torque champion and, really, the tooling specialist for this product line,” says Dipp. “The B-RAD torque wrench offers a lot of benefits for crane operators because they offer lightweight versatility for applications that do not have access to electricity or compressed air.”
According to Dipp, the B-RAD series is becoming a game-changer in the crane industry.
EFFICIENCY, POWER AND COST SAVINGS
“I’ve been reaching out to crane operators because these torque wrenches also offer data-capture units that can prove the value of installed bolt, which is an important safeguard,” he adds.
It didn’t take much convincing for the team Gabrielli Crane Erectors, which is always looking to advance its capabilities for customers. The company was one of the first to buy and use the B-RAD 3000, now available in several models.
“A cordless torque gun looked intriguing at first, so we wanted to give it a shot,” says Daniel Gabrielli. “I’m glad we did. It turned out to be far less labour-intensive than using a hammer and wrench or a pneumatic gun. This is especially true up on a tower crane where one would have to pull up some 220 feet of air hose.”
With a small pistol-grip handle, motor, and gearbox, the B-RAD is exceptionally lightweight, making it easy to handle. It’s also cost-effective.
“For us, the B-RAD has led to greater job-site efficiencies. It takes less time and effort to do the job, so we’re saving money, which means our customer benefits because we can charge less,” says Daniel Gabrielli.
VERSATILITY AND ADOPTION BY CRANE ERECTORS
“Hydraulic torque wrenches operate using a click style that must be continually reset. So, they’re a lot slower compared to the B-RAD’s continuous movement,” adds Dipp. He also points to the lack of hydraulic oil in battery-powered torque wrenches, eliminating a potential environmental hazard.
Torque capacity is also an issue with certain tools, but the B-RAD series offers several torque ranges, depending on the job’s requirements. For example, the 3000 offers 600-3000 ft/lbs. of torque range and the 5000 model offers 1000-5000 ft/lbs.
“It’s not uncommon for people to think they can’t get as much power or torque from a battery-operated tool,” says Scott Graham, regional manager with Jobsite Industrial Rental Services in Ontario. “But when you share what an 18-volt cordless gun is capable of, it’s easy to wow them.”
This was the case with the team at Gabrielli Crane Erectors.
“The labour-intensive savings are what first stood out at first… using a torque gun without any impact is far better on the body. But then, I noticed how much torque this tool provides. This is also helping us save significant time on the job, and time is money,” says Daniel Gabrielli, who’s since adopted the B-RAD 5000 model.
It didn’t take long for others in the industry to notice the change at Gabrielli Crane.
“I started getting calls from others who worked with Gabrielli Crane or saw them using the tool,” says Dipp. “Then, since the B-RAD 5000 model came out, I’d say that at least 90% of the erectors in Ontario have since bought the gun.”
BEYOND CRANE INDUSTRY – APPLICATIONS IN OTHER SECTORS
RAD Torque’s B-RAD Battery Series is not just for the crane industry. It’s also changing the way work is done in several sectors. Take the petroleum industry, for instance, where it’s sometimes necessary to do a major shutdown of the gas lines for maintenance.
“One local plant here used to restart the lines in the old-school hydraulic torque wrench way,” shares Graham. “But then, they tried the B-RAD torque wrenches, firing back up the plant. It was the first time in its turnaround history that the facility experienced zero leaks from any of its flanges. This was because the torque spec was set on the tool and the accuracy proved itself.”
The “B-RAD S” is an ideal tool for bolt auditing applications because of the built-in “prove” mode, which allows operators to check a previously tightened bolt without risking over-torquing. Additionally, these tools include Bluetooth connectivity and torque-check functionality.
“We also help with the bolting torque setups,” adds Dipp. “I think we currently have about three different crane manufacturers that we’ve supported with the ideal bolting setups for proper operation.”
QUALITY ASSURANCE AND STANDARD COMPLIANCE
To ensure the highest quality of measurement and accuracy, each B-RAD torque wrench comes individually calibrated and traceable to ISO 17025 standards.
“These tools are changing the way things are done on cranes,” he says. “I mean think about it…prior to taking these battery-operated units up a crane, hydraulic lines were used, including a pump and hydraulic torque wrench. The B-RAD is saving time and costs. Plus, these tools also have the reverse effect of removing old, stubborn bolts that are seized on. Just imagine being a couple of hundred feet up in the air with so many advantages?”
Here’s what you can expect from RAD Torque’s B-RAD Battery Series torque wrenches…
- Torque ranges up to 5,000 ft/lbs. (7,000 Nm), equipped with the latest lithium-ion standard
- Available in two different platforms, with a simple-to-use screen or a digital display
- A brushless motor that won’t wear over time as it contains no consumable parts
- All tools include a reaction arm, two batteries, a charger, a retaining ring, a waterproof storage case, and an operations’ manual
- Accuracy of +/- 5% and repeatability of +/- 2%
- Calibration certificate with ISO 17025 accreditation