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7 Reasons to switch from a Hydraulic to an Electric Torque Wrench

Torque Wrenches Oil, gas & petrochemical Tools Maintenance

November 9, 2022

Torque wrenches are essential power tools for high torque bolting and assembly applications across oil and gas, renewable, and heavy vehicle industries. When it comes to choosing between electric torque wrenches or hydraulic wrenches, it’s worth understanding their advantages and disadvantages; so you can pick the right one for the heavy-duty job to improve productivity and operational efficiency. 

There are also many types of sockets on the market, but all can be split into two categories: impact sockets and regular sockets. Learn more on Sockets

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Here are seven reasons why electric torque wrenches are better than hydraulic wrenches for tightening applications

1. Cordless tools are lighter and easier to maneuver

Hydraulic wrenches need hydraulic pumps and hoses to function, which makes them heavy and difficult to handle. For example, hydraulic wrenches can easily weigh over 20 kg. However, a CP8613 cordless wrench is compact and much more ergonomic at only 5.3 kg compared to an equivalent hydraulic wrench and pump of 19.5 kg – that’s 73% lighter

Since hydraulic tools are heavier, operators often have to consider whether it is really necessary and worthwhile using the wrench for a small bolting job that may only need a couple of bolts tightened. This decision is much easier with cordless wrenches, as they provide excellent mobility and can be carried around more easily.

2. Labor cost savings

The compact size and lower weight of cordless wrenches compared to hydraulic ones mean only 1 operator is needed to handle the equipment and perform the job. This enables you to make significant labor cost savings

3. Speed

Tool speed is up to 10 times faster for a cordless tool than a hydraulic one. For example, the CP8613 can perform 10 rpm in 60 seconds, compared with just 1 rpm for the hydraulic tool. This means you can tighten bolts more quickly to be more productive. 

4. Safety

Cordless torque wrenches deliver excellent levels of safety. They include protection features not found on hydraulic wrenches, such as a second start button which help to protect operators’ fingers against the risk of severe injury. More on hand and power tool hazards - OSHA

5. Accuracy and Repeatability

The CP86 digital torque wrench delivers high precision with +/- 4% accuracy. This high accuracy ensures that bolts are tightened correctly. Therefore, preventing over- or under-tightening and the associated risks of bolt joint failure. You can be sure that you are reaching the right torque levels for each application the first time, eliminating the risk of having to spend precious time re-tightening bolts.

Additionally, with the Electric CP86 wrench, you can create a ‘favorite’ torque setting in the tool. This allows any operator to pick up the tool and work in the same way, tightening to the same level, for excellent control. 

Hydraulic torque wrenches do not have this high level of accuracy and repeatability.

6. Quick return on investment

Looking at a real example in a wind turbine application, a CP8641 tool, weighing 10 kg, was used to tighten 92 x M39 bolts at 3200 Nm. Using a cordless wrench instead of a 40 kg hydraulic wrench meant no pump installation was required, and it was easier to climb the turbine. As such, the job was completed in just 40 mins. This would have taken 140 minutes with a hydraulic wrench! Thanks to the speed of the job, savings of $285 per operation were made, and ROI was achieved after 4.5 jobs.

7. Traceability

The CP86 cordless wrench is available with a dedicated CPlinQ app, which provides instant access to real-time performance data, even in the field, for excellent process control. It can provide tightening reports so operations managers can easily check torque levels and have peace of mind that a job has been carried out correctly. 

Hydraulic wrenches, on the other hand, provide no traceability, so operators cannot be sure of the quality or consistency of the tightening.

Hydraulic tools are compact

While cordless wrenches such as the CP86 torque wrench provide many advantages, there is, however, a benefit of hydraulic wrenches, and that is that the tool itself is compact (not taking into account the connecting hoses and pump). Since they are smaller in size, they can access narrow spaces that are critical in some applications.

Only by fully understanding the requirements of each application and the advantages of each tool can you decide which is the best option for your job.

Get in touch with our experts if you need more information on how to properly select the right power tool.