When a new tool is purchased, it is always a good idea to test it before assigning it to an application on the production line. It should be tested to be sure that no issue occurred during transportation, as well as to assess its performance. The ideal environment for this type of test is the tool crib. Production tools can be stocked here and all equipment used for testing different torque ranges is readily available.
The question about where to test a tool arises once the tool is assigned to an application. Is it more convenient to remove the tool from the production line to test it? Or is it better to test it on-line?
Removing the tool would require a rotation of tools. When a tool is up for testing, it should be replaced by another tool that will keep production up and running. Of course, this has a cost in terms of both resources (all the spare tools to be used) and logistical costs. On the other hand, this solution does not require any added equipment, as all the tools will be tested in the tool crib. Switching tools can become an issue when tools are difficult to remove from where they are mounted, or when there are too many tools to manage.
Testing tools on-line does not require any logistical effort, but the cost would be on other factors. One solution for on-line testing is using rotary transducers. This solution doesn’t have a very high cost in terms of equipment to purchase, but it interferes with production. The rotary transducers need to be placed between the joints and the tools, and operators need to wait for joints to be available to run a test. This solution would take too much time and it is not feasible if frequent tests have to be run.
The optimal solution for on-line testing is to use a joint simulator bench. The higher cost of this solution is very well compensated by the speed and accuracy of the tests. Not interfering with production, a joint simulator bench could test all the tools in use on a line in a shift. The benefit here is clear: no doubt about tool performance ever!