Hydraulic Torque Wrenches and Bolt Tightening Devices

Hydraulic torque wrenches ('hydraulic wrenches') are designed to fasten bolts to a specified torque. Like common-or-garden manual torque wrenches 'on steroids', hydraulic torque wrenches are widely used for difficult or heavy-duty industrial bolting applications such as flange bolting.

Since their invention in 1960s USA, hydraulic wrenches have evolved considerably with lightweight variants, smaller nose-radius dimensions for access to confined spaces, the use of specialised alloys and the ability to run multiple tools off a single power source now being commonplace.

Hydraulic Wrenches - A proven alternative to conventional wrenches

Hydraulic torque wrenches generate their torque (twisting or rotating force) by hydraulic means alone. They are also self-ratcheting and incorporate an accurate method for determining the amount of torque applied. As an alternative to conventional impact wrenches, they're much quieter, lighter and more accurate - while fulfilling the basic requirement of a torque wrench to deliver an exact torque value to a torque-critical fastening.

Four-bolt torquing with hydraulic wrenches

Hydraulic wrenches are often deployed individually. But for many critical applications, four-tool bolting adds further reassurance that joints have been made with integrity. Large flange couplings often include multiple bolts (often as many as 16 or 32 bolts), all of which must be fastened to prescribed torque settings.

Avoid the dangers of under torquing...

Why's this so important? The answer lies in the designed torque settings set by engineers for all manner of plant and equipment fastening. Under-torque a fastener and there is a danger of the joined components coming apart. For obvious reasons this could be disastrous if the joined components were operating under high pressure or at high speed. It's no different to torquing the wheel nuts correctly on the family car.

...or over torquing

On the other hand, it's important not to over-torque a fastener. Exceeding the design torque can easily lead to thread stripping and consequential costs and delays if plant has to be stripped down and reassembled correctly.

Perfect for bolt tightening on large assemblies

Using a hydraulic torque wrench makes it possible to torque large assemblies (with their large bolts) in petrochemicals, transport and other industries. And you can do so with the complete accuracy demanded by product designers and health and safety.

By torquing four bolts at a time, it is possible to enjoy several important benefits:

  • Decreased bolting time
  • Increased joint integrity
  • Save time and money by avoiding failed pressure tests and repeat bolting
  • Free up time for other tasks

By using four hydraulic torque wrenches operating from a four-way hydraulic pump, the time taken to achieve that essential torque setting can typically be reduced by two-thirds. As well as avoiding potentially lethal under torquing or stripping of bolts, the time consuming tail-chasing and torquing of diametrically opposed bolts is avoided. And so is the likelihood of under-loading or over-loading an individual bolt and compressing a flange seal unequally.

Hydraulic wrenches have come a long way since the 1960s

With all of today's derivatives the hydraulic torque wrench has come a long way since George A. Sturdevant invented it in Houston, Texas and revolutionised the bolting tool industry. Thanks to his innovation, the accuracy of bolted connections in power generation, renewable energy, oil and gas, rail infrastructure and engineering can now be achieved more accurately and consistently than ever.

Don't forget service and maintenance

There's one final thing to remember, and that's the importance of maintaining your wrench equipment in peak condition. Even the best designed and manufactured engineering equipment requires regular maintenance, testing and calibration and hydraulic torque wrenches are no exception.

That's why your choice of supplier and maintainer is so critical, and why established organisations such as UK-based Worlifts are so important. With their support, not only will you make the most appropriate choice of hydraulic wrenches but you'll be sure they're always working correctly and accurately - which means less likelihood of under-torqueing, bolt stripping or dangerous joint failures.

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