Choosing the Best Torque Tools to Use for Fast Windmill Maintenance
The wind power industry is growing quite fast, especially in the U.S.A. and China where the amount of energy produced by wind turbines is estimated to have doubled between 2011 and 2017. Besides, energy requirements have increased thus creating a demand for alternative forms of energy.
In the last decade, wind turbines generated an output of about 200 kW while modern-day windmills are generating as much as 2MW. This increase is could be attributed to larger rotor diameters. This necessitates the use of the best torque tools in order to keep the windmills at peak performance.
All about torque in windmills
A torque wrench is a tool used to apply a specific torque to a fastener such as a bolt or a nut. This allows windmill operators to tighten the windmill’s mechanisms to a certain extent to provide the required tension. There are plenty of torque tools to choose from. Choosing the right and best torque tools makes it possible to complete your windmill maintenance tasks faster.
Choosing the right torque tool for fast windmill maintenance
Some of the factors you should consider when deciding on the best torque tool for windmill maintenance include:
The three major types of torque tools used in the windmill industry include:
- Digital torque wrenches - Also referred to as electronic wrenches, this type of torque tools feature a digital interface that displays the torque’s readout. This allows you to adjust the tension on the windmill’s nuts to the required torque settings. Other features include a vibrating handle once you’ve reached the required torque setting, LED light, and an audible sound to warn you if you exceed the predetermined torque levels.
- Beam torque wrenches – these are the oldest types of wrenches. They are manual and can be quite cumbersome to operate especially as you may need to work with heights when maintaining a windmill.
- Click-type torque wrenches – this is the most preferred type of wrench as it clicks once you apply the correct torque amount. This means that you do not need to see gauge when you are tightening a nut or bolt on the windmill. However, the click does not stop you from applying additional force.
Different torque wrenches have varying sizes depending on the torque range. The most suitable sizes for windmill maintenance would be the 3/8” which is the most versatile and covers a wide range of applications. Torque wrenches of this size produce between 15 to 75 pounds of torque. For extremely large bolts and nuts, you might need to use the 1/2” torque wrench size.
For increased safety and efficiency, it would be better to use tools from a single manufacturer. Different torque equipment manufacturers have approach factors such as safety lockouts, ergonomics, and control systems differently. In addition, user interfaces vary from one brand to another. When using torque tools from different manufacturers, it is easy to mistake rotation degrees or miscalculate torque values.
Choose a minimalist approach
When maintaining windmills, chances are high that you will be working from heights. There is an increased chance of an accident if you have to swap from one torque tool to another. For instance, you may choose an electric torque wrench to replace several pneumatic bolt tensioners. Apart from the capability to complete the task quite fast, electric tools have higher accuracy.
Torque wrenches have diverse accuracies. Considering that windmill maintenance tasks require high precision levels, consider a torque wrench with a ±5% accuracy in its foot-pound settings. Check to see whether it has a certificate of calibration from the manufacturer when you are buying.
Remember that your torque wrench should be calibrated from time to time as per the manufacturer’s instructions to maintain its factory accuracy. If you accidentally drop it, you may have to re-calibrate it to verify its accuracy. Incorrect storage may also affect its accuracy.
Windmill maintenance is more often than not a cumbersome job as you sometimes have to work several feet above the ground and sometimes at unusual curvatures. Aztec provides you with lightweight and versatile torque wrench equipment along with bolting components that will get the job done right and fast.