Electrorun Safety Wrench is a new handheld tool for tightening and loosening high loaded bolts. It combines the power of a conventional hydraulic torque wrench, the speed of a nut runner and the reliability of the safety nut. All combined to give the best response in high demand and heavy-duty tasks in the field of construction, wind power, oil rigs and more.
This new concept improves the performance of operators by aiding them during the whole process. From carrying the tools on site to the actual tightening, thanks to its main features:
These are meant to change the future of "Extreme bolting" tooling for Atlas Copco. Extreme bolting stands for all those professional areas that require high load tightening of big bolts and nuts. Which are extremely dangerous, so improvements in safety and communication with the tools and the team were essential. Perfect for reduced spaces, this low profile wrench provides a wide flat support as well as a firm grip.
- Optimised workflow speeds up the process.
- Increased safety and ergonomics, no hands close to pinching points.
- No loose parts that can be dropped.
- Less manual labour.
- More control and information.
Innovating for increasing safety and intuitiveness without sacrifying performance in the complex area of extreme bolting. That was the challenge.
These tools require a deep understanding of the whole picture. From the process to the technical details of how they work. That is why deep research on site with interviews to professional workers was needed. To understand how all tools work, how is the system planned and grasp the user insights to build a feasible and truly useful solution.
Main problem areas identified and solved are:
- Complexity of tasks and tools (nut runner, wrench, hoses, pump, safety nuts…). Tools were spread and not unified, 1 tool = 1 step. This ended up being heavy and time consuming. Also, hydraulic tools are a hustle and really dangerous due to coupling connections and the high pressure.
- This concept pretends unify them to make it simple, easy, saver and lighter.
- Loose parts. Tools, bolt, nuts and accessories are dropping objects. For a worker, dropping one of these heavy parts means being sent home or fired since it could hit someone else. Now, thanks to safety flaps we can attach the tool to the flange.
- Lack of signs and lack of information while operating tools (no feedback).
- Repetitive manual labour that can cause injuries and slow down the procedure. Since it is not always possible to get a nut runner to the place, the pre-tightening was made by hand before incorporating the electric nut runner.
What makes it unique
Most of the products in these fields (construction, oil rigs and wind mills) are heavy, sturdy and perform at its best no matter the conditions. What it is forgot in the design process, is the perspective of the operator, they are normally given tools that they have to adapt to and that are really dangerous. My approach in this project has been to give them tools that help them to develop their job in the best way and as safe as possible. Reducing the maximum number of pain points from their point of view.
Construction sites, wind power industry and oil platforms are really exigent workspaces. Narrow spaces, inaccessible areas, wearing tons of gear and overall, mask, darkness… Users need to be sure they are executing the work precisely in those hostile environments. So, the user experience has been improved thinking in physical interactions and the digital enhancement of feedback. This is how ER will be used like:
First, all tools are reduced to Electrorun Safety Wrench, pump and the dual hose. Being super simple to connect all the components and avoid mistakes or issues with couplings, leakage… In addition to this easy handling, ER has a really clear differentiation of the grip areas and the pinching points, keeping hands always far from being squeezed even while using the electric run down of the nut (double grip activation). When that is done, they user just needs to leave the wrench locked in place (safety flaps) and set up the pump to get the loading started. In terms of feedback, information is now clearly visualised through light (smart feedback) during the procedure, keeping the user informed all the time. The light ring indicates when the couplings are connected (blue), when the electric nut runner is rotating (blinking), if the wrench is applying the load (blinking) and finally, if the torque has been applied correctly (green/red). These signs, allow the operator to apply the load while being in a safe position, far from danger.
Benefits to client
Electrorun answers to the need of having good tools that fit its operators. This has an important impact in production/money saving, safety, employee morale.
A. Production: Same tasks but in less time. That is one of the requirements for these tools. In this particular case, we will see reduced the number of steps involved, almost deleted the manual labour and simplified the information flow. This impacts directly the time needed by the operator to do his job, no time lost with manual pre-fastening of the nuts (Incorporated nut runner does the job), no time lost taking decisions or rechecking tightening (smart feedback confirms the right/wrong tightening). Less tools, less steps = more efficiency and production.
B. Safety. Risks of injuries are reduced considerably. We have erased all loose parts to avoid dropping them in situations where can hit other operators (oil platforms, working in highs such in bridges or wind mills). Handling areas are well visualised and double handle activation will avoid putting hands in pinching points. Finally, safety flaps replace the safety nut, so the operator can.
C. Employee morale. The high exigence of the job affects the users. Operators work under a lot preassure, under risky conditions. where a mistake means big money loses, injuries of Electrorun Safety Wrench releases some of those strings.