Electric tools allow engineers to control more aspects of the fastening process.
History of electric power tools:
- 1930’s: The first DC electric screwdrivers were developed. They were heavy and not user-friendly. It didn’t take long before suppliers stopped making them since manufacturers showed no interest in using these tools.
- 1960’s: Electric screwdrivers were reintroduced but were still not widely used.
- 1980’s: Sleeker, lighter, and more comfortable electric power tools were produced for the assembly line.
- Today: 70-80% of automakers and Tier 1 suppliers have converted to DC electric fastening systems.
Electric screwdrivers and nutrunners are used in various industries such as automotive, aerospace, medical and transportation. Many manufacturers are hesitant about purchasing electric tools because they cost significantly more than pneumatic models. Yes, the initial cost of electric tools may be steep, but the total cost of ownership is typically lower because they are more efficient, use less energy, and require minimal maintenance.
Electric tools allow engineers to adjust tool speed to match various applications and control more aspects of the fastening process, such as torque and angle. Electric tools have greater error-proofing, repeatability, and traceability capabilities due to advanced sensors, state-of-the-art software, a closed-loop transducer system and flexible controllers. These features provide immediate process feedback and torque verification, while allowing customized data gathering (Camillo, Assembly Mag).
Several other factors account for the growing popularity of electric tools. First and foremost, they significantly increase worker mobility. Battery-operated tools allow assemblers to more easily work on platforms, inside vehicles and other tight spaces. By eliminating air hoses and electrical cords, plant managers greatly lessen trip hazards. A plant floor without cords and hoses also makes it easier to improve worker efficiency as part of implementing lean manufacturing initiatives (Weber, Assembly Mag).
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