Category: News

Blog Article | Why Torque and Angle

Why invest in Torque and Angle monitoring, especially if the tools you’ve got already do the job?

It’s a question that crops up quite a bit. Any manufacturer or fitter knows only too well the cost of discovering a problem at the end of the assembly process.

Take the auto industry for example. The financial implications of recalling a vehicle, due to technical issues are huge, not to mention the logistics of carrying out thousands of safety checks across many locations. In fact the cost of recalls to the motor industry is tens of millions each year. And then there’s the damage to reputation and the hidden marketing costs to regain customer confidence. In this scenario, wouldn’t it be better to identify the problems on the assembly line? It would certainly be more cost effective.

When the safety and accuracy of joints is critical, you need a tool that can achieve the correct Clamping Load on several materials and in various environmental conditions.

A tool that can offer both torque and angle settings is undoubtedly the best choice. True, there may be a slight trade off with assembly speed but most businesses accept that precision and consistency wins hands down when safety and reputation are paramount. And the new generation of powered tools certainly cancel out any loss of efficiency.

The benefits of torque and angle tooling include being able to control the bolt stretch or tension and ensure the fastener is snug and fitted in its optimum position for wear.

There are often erratic influences on the torque measurement which can be caused by changes in materials, the nature of the fastener or forces applied through use. Using a tool that records both torque and angle is the best way to mitigate against such variations and guarantee the most accurate assembly.

But what about ‘human error’? How can businesses avoid the inevitable mistakes made by their workforce?

Tools that alert the user of any oversights during the assembly process are valuable assets to businesses who rely quality and consistency.

Market leaders, Sturtevant Richmont are pioneers in developing tools that take the risk out of production, including those that slip through even the most robust procedures. Sturtevant Richmond make leading manual wrenches and some of its product range offer an accuracy of +/- 1&. There are also powered versions available, such as Cleco’s range of corded electric tools.

And there are even more benefits: torque and angle wrenches can be programmed to ‘intelligently’ monitor assembly and flag up any errors or omissions. For example, pre-set parameters are consistently achieved because the tool will shut off or display an ‘error’ alert if over tightened. Likewise, a correctly fitted joint will get the green light.

It’s also possible to apply further steps to avoid mistakes, including a fixings count in the program, eradicating the risk of missing screws. The tool will even prompt the use of the correct fixing and the correct order of application.

And the advantages don’t end on the production line. All actions can be recorded, hugely important for traceability in the event of a problem. The historic usage can show the precise tension applied and any errors or missing steps in production. A powerful tool indeed.

Abbey Industrial Solutions are the main distributor for Sturtevant Richmont and Cleco tools and are pleased to offer its customers the duel benefits of world class tooling ranges along with Abbey’s maintenance service contract. With a reputation for innovation and problem solving, Abbey’s experienced engineers will identify any potential weak links in assembly and work with businesses to eliminate costly production issues.

Contact the team at Abbey Industrial Solutions today to learn how we can help you maximise your manufacturing productivity: discover@abbeyis.co.uk |  01924 224240

Blog Article | Why Consider A Service Plan

When tools represent a significant investment for businesses, it’s imperative that the investment is protected and maximum value leveraged out of those assets.

Unplanned downtime has a devastating impact on output and revenue, as well as affecting reputation: an issue which may take many years to resolve through expensive crisis management and brand building campaigns. Successful businesses will take measures to avoid or mitigate such risks by making sure their tools are maintained regularly.

A carefully managed service plan will provide continuity of production whilst ensuring that tools are kept working efficiently and safely. Indeed, efficiency is often overlooked, especially if production ‘appears’ to be normal. In many cases, tools are operating below capacity and deteriorating at such a slow decline, it goes un-noticed. Poor performance will, undoubtedly eat into profits, while the cost of servicing represents a fraction of the investment when compared to replacing tools, loss of production or overtime payments due to down time.

Employers and the self employed must also consider the PUWER (Provision and Use of Work Equipment) regulations. There is a duty of care to make sure that equipment is:

  • Maintained in a safe condition so people’s health and safety are not at risk
  • Inspected to ensure that it is (and continues to be) safe for use
  • Any specific risks created by the use of the equipment is controlled
  • Take any appropriate measures to fit guards, warning devices or stop buttons
  • Provide safe systems of work, for example only carrying out maintenance when the equipment is isolated and providing adequate training and information
  • The PUWER regulations are in place to comply with health and safety rules but any business who values its investment and reputation will see the financial advantage to applying regular checks and repairs to their tools.

A strategic service plan will maintain the reliability of tools, lessen the impact of malfunctioning tools and almost certainly lessen the overall cost of tooling to a business.

The key to a robust plan is a procedure which tracks individual tools, flags up when they need to be serviced and turns around collection and delivery, getting efficient and calibrated tools back in production quickly. Abbey has invested in a system which tags every tool and alerts the user when it needs servicing. Certified to ISO 9001:2015, our dedicated service centre takes care of all makes and type of compressed air and electric power tools. Our OEM trained workshop engineers and large stock of parts means that tools are returned with a fully traceable history and warranty.

There’s also a plan which includes a ‘swap out’ offer, where replacement tools are loaned until the servicing or repair has been carried out, allowing businesses to continue with unbroken production. Quite simply, the benefits of working with an experienced, independent partner to maintain the productivity of tooling adds significant value for manufacturers and assembly lines.

Contact the team at Abbey Industrial Solutions today to learn how we can help you maximise your manufacturing productivity: discover@abbeyis.co.uk |  01924 224240

Blog Article | Why Should I Calibrate My Fastening Tools?

Manufacturers are only as good as their end product and the reputations built around those products. In most cases, there will have been significant investment in tooling and setting up the production process: a capital expenditure that must deliver a ROI.

So why wouldn’t a business protect that investment by ensuring their tools are working efficiently and profitably?

Tools that are operating to incorrect parameters are not only inefficient, they expose businesses to poor brand perception and, more seriously, the risk of litigation should faults occur.

Regular calibration for tools is recommended to ensure that they are working within the original manufacturers parameters and consistency is being maintained. Even those tool manufacturers offering impressive guarantees of up to 1 million cycles of maintenance free usage should be calibrated on a regular basis.

However, calibration must be precisely carried out, using a transducer calibrated under laboratory conditions. It’s vital also, that the transducer is certified at the lab by UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service), the internationally recognised standard of calibration. The laboratory environment will ensure that parameters have been correctly set and any testing by that transducer will also satisfy regulation.

Click to read about our accreditations 

Why is this important? Because businesses need be assured of an unbroken chain of traceability, therefore calibration should be traceable to UKAS standards. This may prove to be invaluable if problems occur during the production process or worse, once products are out in the marketplace and have to be recalled due to faults.

Certified, calibrated tools, with the appropriate documentation and traceability are imperative should a fault result in litigation. A business employing this system can prove competence and retain credibility should a problem arise later.

There are plenty of companies who will not only supply tools but also offer to service and calibrate them. Manufacturers are advised to thoroughly investigate their suppliers to make sure they are providing a robust offer and delivering a high standard of service. Certainly, only those offering UKAS traceable certification are worth considering.

Abbey Industrial Solutions have been supplying tools to some of the most well known blue chip companies within the manufacturing sector, including auto assembly, gas & oil industry, heavy plant manufacturers and aerospace for a number of years. For those businesses where precision and reputation is paramount, Abbey offer a considerable wealth of expertise. Abbey can create a bespoke service and calibration plan, advise on tooling procurement and even assist with a specific challenge. Renowned for innovation, Abbey’s qualified, manufacturer trained engineers are often consulted about specific issues.

Being an independent supplier allows Abbey to offer a truly unbiased approach, a valuable asset for those investing considerable sums in tooling. Customers are assured of straightforward, expert input.

Contact the team at Abbey Industrial Solutions today to learn how we can help you maximise your manufacturing productivity: discover@abbeyis.co.uk |  01924 224240

Blog Article | Top tips for choosing the right abrasive

There are so many different abrasive solutions available on the market today and there can vary widely in terms of quality and business benefit.  So how do you decide which is the best one for your job?…

We’ve put together some top tips to consider when purchasing abrasives for your business.

  1. Quality – The quality of abrasives available today can be extremely variable. By varying the properties of the abrasive and bond and the makeup of the wheel it is possible to produce grinding wheels with a varied range of grinding characteristics. Stock removal performance is a great metric to ensure you are purchasing the most suitable abrasive for the job.
  2. Time – The right abrasives needs to save you time on a particular job or element of the process and this can then be turned into a quantifiable cost saving, which means resource can be placed elsewhere.
  3. Specialist Applications– There is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to abrasives. There are different abrasives for specific materials, so don’t just go with generic, it will result in a poor finish, short lifespan and extra costs elsewhere such as slow turnaround on jobs. Why not have the best product for that particular application rather than a ‘jack of all trades’, it may cost more than the generic option, but will be more profitable in the long term.
  4. Revolutions Per Minute (RPM) – Setting the correct RPM when using your tools for the job in question will help ensure good tool life and the longevity of your abrasives.
  5. Cost – Cheapest is not always the most cost effective, you need to consider the lifetime value. If you purchase a cheap alternative, but have to replace frequently then it’s probably costing you more than it should.
  6. Procurement – Consider what material, what application and what tool drive, all of these elements go hand in hand when selecting the best abrasive product.
  7. Not just a bolt on – Abrasives are not simply the end point of the process with something bolted on the tools, they are an extremely important factor. Why go to the trouble of buying the best possible tool and then putting the cheapest, low quality abrasive on it.  It’s like the analogy of buying a high-end supercar and putting remould tyres on it, don’t be tempted, it was cause problems in the long run.
  8. Ease of use – Consider ergonomics, lower vibration, reduced noise and dust, these all make the job easier, plus it helps in regards to compliance and health and safety issues.
  9. Specialist applications – Special metals require special abrasive products, you may need to look at something bespoke rather than off the shelf in some instances.
  10. Feedback – Team work is key, the decision of tool drive and the abrasive on the end of it need to be looked at as a team to ensure buy-in.

Choosing the right consumables ensures you get the best return on your investment. Our dedicated sales engineers have industrial experience and will advise on the best, most cost-effective route to keep your tools running at maximum efficiency and keeping your workforce protected.  We take the time to understand each client’s requirements and consider each tools application to recommend the right solution.

Contact the team at Abbey Industrial Solutions today to learn how we can help you maximise your manufacturing productivity: discover@abbeyis.co.uk |  01924 224240

Blog Article | Hand Arm Vibration (HAVs) – What you need to know!

What is Hand-Arm Vibration (HAVs)?

 The term Hand Arm Vibration or HAVs as it’s widely known is a serious issue for businesses and workers across the UK.

According to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) Hand Arm Vibration is defined as: “Vibrations that are transmitted to workers’ hands and arms. This can come from use of hand-held power tools (such as grinders or road breakers), hand- guided equipment (such as powered lawnmowers or pedestrian controlled floor saws) or by holding materials being worked by hand-fed machines (such as pedestal grinders or forge hammers).”

Why is it so important?

Regular and frequent exposure to hand arm vibration can lead to permanent damage and ill health, more specifically – hand arm vibration (HAVs) and Carpel Tunnel Syndrome (CTS).  These illnesses bring depilating symptoms such as tingling and numbness in the hands, loss of strength and painful fingers with changing weather conditions.  Using power tools on a regular basis if not properly assessed can have a significant impact, not only affecting the operator’s days to day activities, it can also seriously affect the ability their to work.

What laws apply?

All businesses that use machinery and tools which give off vibrations have to comply to a number of workplace legislations including:

  • Health & Safety at Work Act 1974
  • Management Health & Safety Works Regulations 1999
  • The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005
  • PUWER Regulations 1998

The Control at Work Vibrations regulations stipulate that businesses need to ensure that the risks from vibrations are controlled, and that they provide adequate training and information to workers to ensure they are aware of the risks and what action is being taken and that there is suitable assessment and surveillance around the health of these workers.  Basically, it’s all about ensuring exposure is kept to an absolute minimum and ideally below an exposure action value (EAV) of 2.5 m/s² (100 points) and certainly below an exposure limit value (ELV) of 5 m/s² (400 points).

All employers have a duty of care to ensure that the risks from vibrations are at the lowest practical level possible.  Over recent years there have been many high-profile cases that have reached the headlines and this legislation does not just affect large businesses, any business large or small that uses equipment that omits vibrations has a legal responsibility to comply.

Risks for non-compliance are severe and businesses risk being faced with large fines.  Recent changes to the legislation have made the impact of non-compliance even more serious.

Click to read about Abbey’s Vibration Risk Management Programme

So, what’s changed?

New sentencing guidelines came into effect in February 2016, whereby any non-compliant businesses that have a claim against them for Hand Arm Vibration or any other health and safety offence can be fined at much higher levels.  These apply to the company and not the employee, so the burden is completely upon the company to ensure exposure to vibrations are minimised and workplace training is provided to mitigate the risks, providing a safe working environment for all employees.

Offence fines range from £50 right up to £10 million and are based on two categories: culpability and the size of the organisation.  For example, if a small business with a turnover of between £2M – £10M was found to be negligent, then the fine would range from £100 up to £1.6M, depending on the severity of the injury and culpability of what they did to negate the problem.

On top of that the operator/employee can put in their own claim against the company which is entirely separate to those from the HSE, so a non-compliant business could face some extremely high fines and compensation claims, not to mention the negative press and damage to their reputation.

Over the last six months’ ranges of fines published by the HSE come in at around £250K, but these are starting to ramp up, so be warned!

How can Abbey help?

We work with a range of clients to mitigate the effects of Hand Arm Vibration and ensure a safe and healthy working environment.

We provide a clear twelve step programme to help businesses become compliant, it’s specific to each company’s unique needs and specific exposure to Hand Arm Vibration and how this can be mitigated, offering advice, guidance and actionable points along the way.

Contact the team at Abbey Industrial Solutions today to learn how we can help you maximise your manufacturing productivity: discover@abbeyis.co.uk |  01924 224240

Blog Article | Tool servicing – Why it’s important to your business

Here’s a commonplace scenario for many businesses, you purchase tools for important jobs and need them to be working consistently, but the question may be raised around the necessity of tool servicing and regular maintenance and if the extra cost is justifiable and you can just ‘get by’.

It’s a fact that broken tools result in downtime, which can affect your productivity, your relationships with your customers, compliance and even your staff morale.  So how can something like a comprehensive service package for your mission critical tooling equipment benefit your business.

Legal requirements

The main driver around tool safety is legal regulations, ensuring your business remains compliant with all the relevant legislation and fully complaint with the leading industry bodies is imperative.

The PUWER Regulations of 1998 are an important element to workplace safety, under regulation 4 it stipulates that “equipment should be suitable for the job.”  And, regulation 5, which focuses on maintenance goes on to state that “every employer shall ensure that work equipment is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.”

In order to remain complaint with these regulations you need to have a structured process in place for regularly maintaining and servicing your tools and equipment.

Prevent accidents

An employer has a duty of care to ensure a safe working environment and that any equipment used within their job role is safe and fully operational.  This is reflected under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1972 section 2 that highlights “Without risk to health so far as reasonably practicable.”

By regularly servicing your tools any potential issue can be identified and promptly resolved, this minimises the risks of any accident due to tools being faulty.

Improve productivity

Regular servicing of tools means any potential issues can often be avoided and if a fault does occur then swap out tools mean minimum downtime, so your staff can keep working, leading to a productive and efficient workforce across the year, keeping your essential projects on track and your customers happy.

Reduce vibration

Hand-arm vibration (HAVs) is vibration transmitted from work processes into workers’ hands and arms. It can be caused by operating hand-held power tools, such as road breakers, and hand-guided equipment, such as powered lawnmowers, or by holding materials being processed by machines, such as pedestal grinders.

If tools are not properly maintained, then vibration levels could exceed those approved and the employer could risk breaching Health & Safety regulations which pose massive fines and your staff could be left with a debilitating disability, which could have easily been avoided.

From a compliance perspective the Control of Vibration at Work 2005 Regulations focus specifically on reduced exposure times to vibrations and ensuring the levels of exposure are acceptable.  Regular tool servicing ensures that your tools are not exceeding these levels and remain safe for your company and your workers.

Cost efficiency

It’s simply not a cost effective business model to replace tools as they break and in many cases proves costlier in the long run. If you take the analogy of car servicing, when purchasing a new car, you maintain regular service schedules, this ensures your vehicle is working efficiently and any problems are addressed, there is also the need to adhere to manufacturer recommendations to keep the warranty valid. The same principle applies for your tooling.

Increased lifespan

By having your tools regularly serviced you will get the best from them and extend their lifespan and they are likely to last longer than if there was no service plan in place.  Exact tool servicing depends on specific manufacturer requirements and the shift patterns and workloads the tool is used for.

Whatever your requirement, Abbey has a range of bespoke servicing and preventive maintenance packages to suit all businesses that provide complete traceability, accountability and compliance.

Contact the team at Abbey Industrial Solutions today to learn how we can help you maximise your manufacturing productivity: discover@abbeyis.co.uk |  01924 224240