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STAHLWILLE's technical expertise means they will always be 'torque' of the town

STAHLWILLE is a traditional German company of the ‘mittelstand’ – the UK equivalent of a medium-sized business.

It is a family business since its establishment by Eduard Wille in 1862 in Wuppertal. Today the management of the company is independent, but the advisory committee represents the Wille family, writes Peter Brett.

Originally, the company was largely focused on making practical things in steel for domestic use - like fire tongs and pokers. However, after 1900, when the motor car was in fairly rapid expansion and development, the company turned to making the spanners, wrenches and pliers needed to maintain the new technology.

In ‘The Kontor’, the recently renovated visitor and training centre (which used to be the main office in Eduard Wille’s time), it is fascinating to see the display of the first rather heavy duty spanners made.

This was one of the most modern forges in Europe, and it was interesting to compare them with the slimmer and slicker ones made a hundred years later, where the demands of mechanics on their tools are so much greater. 

Eduard Wille established the maxim that the company was committed to producing the best possible tools with the customer in mind.

The Wille family and company remain true to this maxim today – and in my view it is a much better long and medium-term business model than the exploitative venture capital approach. 

STAHLWILLE has an excellent record of exporting products throughout the world. It has expertise in aerospace, automotive, renewable energies and industrial tools that puts it in a very strong position to compete with the biggest and best. 

The places and the people

The Cronenberg-Wuppertal site I visited was part of the original factory and forge started by Eduard Wille, and the large redbrick building that dominates the entrance has recently been renovated and redeveloped into a light and modern training and showroom space.

What is missing is the small railway that used to run down the side of the building into the factory area behind.

As the factory is in the midst of what is now quite a developed urban area, the heavy-duty hammer forges have been moved to a more suitable site in former East Germany, and a more recent extension, built in the local vernacular of slate tiles, houses the administration.

Eduard Wille was passionate in his belief that people were the most important aspect of a progressive company, since it was they who had the ideas to develop and then make into desirable finished products.

Today the company employs more than 600 people and still manufactures in Germany. It exports to over 90 countries worldwide through a dedicated sales network that focuses on understanding the needs of the customers, and then supplying the correct and most efficient solutions.

The innovations

Chris Rose, UK Sales Manager at STAHLWILLE UK, which is based in Surrey, was a great guide, and showed me not only how the company identifies issues and challenges that customers face, but also how the expert product development teams then try to develop solutions.

The obvious area to start is in the development of new ranges of torque wrenches for which STAHLWILLE is very well respected.

For me a torque wrench is a torque wrench, but it soon became clear there is much more to developing an accurate tool, with a reliable and dependable mechanism that would withstand some rough handling.

Also, as torque wrenches are becoming increasingly important in aerospace and vehicle technology - where composite materials are very sensitive to pressure on the fixings - it is vital to have a reliable tool that will ensure these materials can be used safely.

I was introduced to simple mechanical torque wrenches that seemed to do the job well, and then to electro-mechanical wrenches that took accuracy and accountability to an advanced level.

Open protocol wrenches not only did the job well, but recorded in detail and then sent the data on to a central system for ultimate accountability.

DAPTIQ

Alexander Grosser, Project Manager Industry 4.0, did a few demonstrations to show me just how advanced this system could become.

Using an augmented reality headset, a user in a production line for example could be guided towards bolts which need tightening in the correct order.

As this is done, a computer is recording the torques as they are applied and noting that they are correctly applied. 

If for any reason the torque is not correct, the system notes and then stops the user so the situation can be rectified. 

By basing the system on an open source platform, STAHLWILLE is hoping to encourage users to develop their own ways of managing and using the system to their own advantage. 

Reading Station DAPTIQ is another system in development by STAHLWILLE that is constantly evolving, because users and R & D keep on finding out how much more potential there is in the idea.

It looks like a simple secure storage unit for tools. But the unit not only keeps the tools secure, it counts them to ensure that all the tools are present.

In modern manufacture and aerospace for example, it is too late to discover that a wrench has been left in an engine when you are about to take off. Once again, the software allows both STAHLWILLE and clients to customise the system to suit various needs.

More expertise

It behoves a manufacturer of torque wrenches to have very accurate systems of recording exactly how well and accurately the wrenches are performing. 

STAHLWILLE has developed a range of motorised calibration systems. The motorised bench automates the loading process, and the transducers use strain gauges to take the dozens of measurements which need to be taken into account when calibrating a torque wrench to the new ISO 6789-2:2017 standard.

TORKMASTER software records the measurements, and calculates the deviations and measurement uncertainty. 

I did not realise quite how many variations there are when measuring performance.

Apparently, even the four sides of an adaptor can give different readings on the same wrench set to the same torque.

This can be tricky when you consider there must be no more than a 1% deviation for the calibration of STAHLWILLE’s most accurate torque wrench, the SENSOTORK 713 to be passed.

... And the rough stuff

Away from the refined electronic quiet of the demo centre, Chris showed me the actual manufacturing, assembly and finishing of the huge range of STAHLWILLE tools. 

STAHLWILLE is not only torque wrenches; it is spanners, pliers, cutters, screwdrivers, sockets & ratchets, etc etc.

I enjoy watching ‘real’ manufacture, and STAHLWILLE has a range of heavy processes needed to make and finish a socket, as well as the capacity to assemble the delicate electronics in an electro-mechanical torque wrench and then test it. 

Despite the noise of machines, the humans keep control of the factory floor, ensuring the continued production of thousands of items.

STAHLWILLE and the future

It is clear that STAHLWILLE not only has a productive and innovative past, it is looking to the future too.

I have mentioned only a few key innovations, but the company is clear that precision manufacturing in the industrial sector will only become more important.

Key areas like aerospace, automotive and renewable energy already have niche demands for tools, but again, these needs will become even more complicated and demanding - a challenge STAHLWILLE is tackling head on.


www.stahlwille.co.uk

Augmented reality (AR) to complement torque technology: STAHLWILLE presents groundbreaking new technology

STAHLWILLE, the German torque tool and handtools specialist, is introducing computerisation to handtool technology. Together with oculavis, a firm based in Aachen, Germany, the enterprise has developed a prototype of a smart visor that will safely guide an end user through a wide range of different joints. The system is capable of reducing the learning phase to a minimum and accelerating the fastener-tightening process. At the same time, it ensures a much improved safety level in the case of safety-critical fasteners.

Many years ago, STAHLWILLE started work on using smart glasses to execute bolt-tightening processes in assembly work, while simultaneously monitoring quality. Now that the patent has been issued, work can begin in earnest on developing the application. The system celebrated its premier recently at the EMO metalworking trade fair in Hanover. At that exhibition, STAHLWILLE and oculavis, partners in the project and developer of the application for this visor, presented a prototype use of the application.

The visor and torque wrench make use of a wireless interface to communicate with the customer's production planning and control system. In the visor, the assembly worker sees the complete tightening sequence and the position of the next fastener to be tightened with any additional information required. At the same time, the radio-linked torque wrench from STAHLWILLE is automatically set for the current fastener type. After the worker has completed the task, the fastener tightening action is evaluated and documented.

A system of this kind really comes into its own in the case of safety-critical fastener tightening and complex tightening sequences – such as those encountered in the automotive and aerospace industries. In these fields, it is absolutely essential to adhere strictly to the prescribed assembly sequence and to tighten the fastener to exactly the required tightening parameters. In addition, these smart glasses enable induction time to be reduced and work processes to be accelerated because the worker is provided with exactly the right information as needed even if he or she has no direct experience with the fastener in question.

To enable the AR visor to guide the user through the tightening sequence, it is first necessary to program all the required joints and fastener types in a model that displays not only the location of each fastener in a three-dimensional workspace but also the tightening parameters. Once the system has been correctly set up, the worker can use the AR visor freely to work through the tightening sequence as programmed.

In presenting this development, STAHLWILLE has shown how state-of-the-art torque technology can be integrated in tomorrow's production environments with the aid of an AR visor and, at the same time, boost efficiency and enhance safety. The company is in the process of developing the system further. It should one day be possible for a worker to set up the tightening sequences using a physical master workpiece, store the fastener positions using the smart glasses and define the tightening parameters, so that the data is available instantly when work has to be carried out later on an identical workpiece.

For more information visit www.stahlwille.co.uk

Stahlwille Quality Torque Wrenches

Why Buy?

  • Easy to Use
  • Efficient
  • Cost Effective
  • Flexibility

Start with the Setting…

Perhaps the most crucial part of this tool, the setting, is indeed easy. It took me all of a few seconds to grasp, and therefore a trained mechanic could very easily use several settings on a single job without taking very much time. It certainly saves on the scenarios I have seen, where several torque wrenches have been used to apply different torque settings to a variety of bolts on the same job.

On the long length of the side of the wrench is a plastic-outlined window with a green sliding button and a plastic magnifying lens. Clearly marked are two scales in Nm and lb./ft. The torque indicator mark has a definite V-shaped mark in it that will line up with one of the clear vertical lines indicating the torque settings. I managed to read the scales very well with my glasses on – and the silver background and black scale marks are very visible.

To set the torque simply put your thumb into the handle end of the wrench shaft and you will find a small flat lever. Push this all the way down (if you don’t push it far enough the scale will not move freely) and use the green milled adjuster button to the setting you want. Release the thumb lever and the setting is set – it won’t move. 

Although the lever is on the open end of the wrench shaft, it is recessed enough so that it can’t be accidentally pressed or too easily become a victim of the ever-present greasy muck associated with workshops.

There is a rubbery plastic handle sited right on the end of the shaft for easy grip and maximum leverage. I wondered if some users might find it a bit small since my small hands had no trouble covering it.


The Working End

It would be pointless to have a quick setting torque wrench and not have a similar level of convenience when it comes to changing sockets etc. The Manoskop 730 Quick has a simple oblong socket into which spanner heads and square drives can be slotted. They are easy to release by simply pushing the green plastic button on the end of the shaft. I did have a small query about this arrangement because if the square drive is inserted ‘upside down’ the button release doesn’t work. Fortunately Stahlwille has provided a little hole where you can insert a pen/file/whatever to push down the release button.  I admit that this might not happen often because the orientation of the wrench is almost always the ‘correct’ way, but mistakes happen. 

What you can be sure of though, is that the QuickRelease Safety lock, while it is quick, will not release until you do it – it is safely held while working.

Accessories

There are several accessories that will fit either to the square drives, or straight into the end of the wrench. I tried the wheelnut socket and the spark plug socket on my car. A mechanic friend who gave the wrench a once over could really see the benefits of the ‘Quick’ aspects of the system, in terms of saving time and hassle for a busy mechanic working to deadlines.

He also liked the fact that there was no need for a manual reset to zero on this wrench made possible by STAHLWILLE’s unique triggering cam mechanism. This means the mechanism is not under any load unless a force is applied, even when it is left set, therefore you do not need to release the tension from the spring, as with conventional torque wrenches.

Once it has clicked as the torque is reached, the job is done and the wrench can be moved straight on to the next bolt.

Compared to the other old style torque wrenches I have used, the Stahlwille Manoskop 730 Quick is a more sophisticated wrench, that did the torque to the required spec with no hassle at all.

 

 

 

Stahlwille Quality Torque Wrenches Review - Torqueing it Easy!

The Background Bit…

I confess that I only knew of Stahlwille products peripherally because I rarely go into the world of spanners. More recently however, spanners and socketry have become more prominent in my work – it all depends on what jobs come your way I guess.

I had admired the huge Stahlwille presence at the Cologne Hardware Show last year, and was interested to hear about the products they were developing, but I don’t think I was fully aware of just what the company’s values and traditions are. But a chance to test one of its torque wrenches gave me the opportunity to look a bit more closely.

The company was founded in1862 by Eduard Wille and remains a family based concern. At the outset, the company focused on quality, but was also forward thinking enough to realise that quality has several components, including innovative ideas, a team of good workers and investment. It has tried to maintain this outlook and has survived and prospered for over 150 years, so it must have done something right.

The company has also insisted on maintaining production in Germany and has three production plants there. It was one of the first manufacturers to be certified with DIN EN ISO 9002 and later DIN EN ISO 9001 – fine indicators of quality.

But one final statistic might set you thinking – of all the 3.5 billion airline passengers who flew on aeroplanes worldwide in 2015, the airlines that carried them all relied on Stahlwille tools for daily and other maintenance.

Torqueing the Talk

The first torque wrench I ever used belonged to my uncle and it was a complicated beast whose setting alone was a trial. It needed to be checked and recalibrated quite quickly, and required quite a knack to get accurate results.

Roll on a few years, and the problem is that many applications now are torque sensitive – from electrical installations to automotive and onwards. So, what is needed are reliable torque instruments that are easy to use, recalibrate and are reliable – and in some cases even recordable so they can be checked on for warranty purposes. The Stahlwille Manoskop 730 Quick range consists of ten torque tools that vary in size and capacity. For example, the smallest in the range will deliver on ranges between 6 to 50 Nm while the largest and longest can deliver a range of 130 to 650 Nm. What they all have in common is that they are easy to use, easy to set and reset, and do not require a manual reset to zero.

Start with the Setting…

Perhaps the most crucial part of this tool, the setting, is indeed easy. It took me all of a few seconds to grasp, and therefore a trained mechanic could very easily use several settings on a single job without taking very much time. It certainly saves on the scenarios I have seen, where several torque wrenches have been used to apply different torque settings to a variety of bolts on the same job.

On the long length of the side of the wrench is a plastic-outlined window with a green sliding button and a plastic magnifying lens. Clearly marked are two scales in Nm and lb./ft. The torque indicator mark has a definite V-shaped mark in it that will line up with one of the clear vertical lines indicating the torque settings. I managed to read the scales very well with my glasses on – and the silver background and black scale marks are very visible.

To set the torque simply put your thumb into the handle end of the wrench shaft and you will find a small flat lever. Push this all the way down (if you don’t push it far enough the scale will not move freely) and use the green milled adjuster button to the setting you want. Release the thumb lever and the setting is set – it won’t move. 

Although the lever is on the open end of the wrench shaft, it is recessed enough so that it can’t be accidentally pressed or too easily become a victim of the ever-present greasy muck associated with workshops.

There is a rubbery plastic handle sited right on the end of the shaft for easy grip and maximum leverage. I wondered if some users might find it a bit small since my small hands had no trouble covering it.

The Working End

It would be pointless to have a quick setting torque wrench and not have a similar level of convenience when it comes to changing sockets etc. The Manoskop 730 Quick has a simple oblong socket into which spanner heads and square drives can be slotted. They are easy to release by simply pushing the green plastic button on the end of the shaft. I did have a small query about this arrangement because if the square drive is inserted ‘upside down’ the button release doesn’t work. Fortunately Stahlwille has provided a little hole where you can insert a pen/file/whatever to push down the release button.  I admit that this might not happen often because the orientation of the wrench is almost always the ‘correct’ way, but mistakes happen. 

What you can be sure of though, is that the QuickRelease Safety lock, while it is quick, will not release until you do it – it is safely held while working.

Accessories

There are several accessories that will fit either to the square drives, or straight into the end of the wrench. I tried the wheelnut socket and the spark plug socket on my car. A mechanic friend who gave the wrench a once over could really see the benefits of the ‘Quick’ aspects of the system, in terms of saving time and hassle for a busy mechanic working to deadlines.

He also liked the fact that there was no need for a manual reset to zero on this wrench made possible by STAHLWILLE’s unique triggering cam mechanism. This means the mechanism is not under any load unless a force is applied, even when it is left set, therefore you do not need to release the tension from the spring, as with conventional torque wrenches.

Once it has clicked as the torque is reached, the job is done and the wrench can be moved straight on to the next bolt.

Compared to the other old style torque wrenches I have used, the Stahlwille Manoskop 730 Quick is a more sophisticated wrench, that did the torque to the required spec with no hassle at all. 

New from Stahlwille – The MANOSKOP 730 Fix – It’s an adjustable wrench that you can “Fix”

The MANOSKOP 730 Fix – It’s an adjustable wrench that you can “Fix”.

For customers in industrial production environments, the use of ‘pre-set’ or ‘production’ torque wrenches has been the natural choice for many years. If the operator is repeating the same operation over and over on a production line, it is important to ensure that they cannot change the torque setting of the wrench, thus ensuring the product is manufactured to specification.

However, the customer often has to invest in an increasing number of ‘pre-set’ wrenches, preset at different torque settings for different applications. Alternatively, workshop torque testers are used to adjust the torque setting of the wrench for different tasks, or it is returned to the calibration lab for a torque setting change. This has been a bug-bear for many operators for some time.

The new MANOSKOP 730 Fix addresses this head on:

The 730 Fix is adjustable, with a scale, and is calibrated throughout the range.


The target torque can be set very quickly and easily using the QuickSelect knob.


The QuickSelect knob can then be unscrewed and removed by hand within seconds, without the use of any tools.


The TORX® TAMPER-RESISTANT screw (included) can be installed using the screwdriver bit (also included) and a bit driver.


Finally, as an extra measure, the self-adhesive cover (included) can be applied to cover the blanking screw.

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