July 11, 2022
In order to meet the precision, productivity, quality control and safety requirements of the energy sector and more particularly oil & gas, Chicago Pneumatic now offers a full range of innovative cordless torque wrenches. One year after the CP86’s introduction to the market, Chicago Pneumatic has unveiled the main development steps of this disruptive innovation, wholly created, designed and produced by the leading provider of high-performance industrial tools and compressors.
The design of the CP86 nutrunner solution is the result of a four-step product development strategy starting with two years of consultation with customers to grasp their precise requirements. With a Voice of the Customer (VoC) methodology, Chicago Pneumatic’s product managers and on-site sales network visited and questioned more than 50 customers all around the world (manufacturers, service and equipment providers, and end users in several market segments including oil & gas). This enabled them to sketch the broad outlines of a solution designed with the most suitable specifications for maintenance, assembly, and disassembly of parts, or heavy equipment in oil and gas, such as pumpjacks, pipe flanges, pumps and heat exchangers.
The Voice of Customer program conducted for two years has raised customers’ expectations in terms of greater mobility and quality. Easy handling and traceability are now possible with the CP86 series.
This last decade has seen a boost in smart data management and IoT (Internet of Things) in all industries. This was confirmed by the initial VoC program: beyond a tool, customers are now looking for an innovative, easy-to-handle, smart solution to optimize productivity, improve quality control and ensure operator safety. As a second step, a project brief was defined and the idea of designing a battery-powered nutrunner, integrating tightening measurement traceability - available from an application - for the first time emerged.
Based on this project brief, Chicago Pneumatic’s development department worked on the third step consisting in conducting a pre-study to analyze technical and economic feasibility. A first prototype was designed and submitted to a new VoC to get customers’ first impressions and then improve the product. Once the prototype design was well-advanced, the fourth step was launched with on-field tests carried out by customers, whose feedback led to final adjustments to the technology.
The launch of such an innovative solution only four years after the first discussions with customers was made possible by the high adaptability and reactivity of Chicago Pneumatic’s development teams. The development strategy for Chicago Pneumatic product ranges is focused on a flexible innovation platform that allows the R&D department to use previously developed technological bricks, adjustable to the type of tool to be designed, and customer needs. Chicago Pneumatic relied on its proven experience in the field of advanced industrial tools, and the skills of a large team (project managers and designers, as well as mechanical, electronics and software engineers) working in four research centers based in the USA, Sweden, France and Japan, to bring a totally innovative solution to the market, both in terms of performance and quality control. Chicago Pneumatic’s internal laboratory completed the picture through testing and qualifying the products, guaranteeing their reliability, accuracy, repeatability and sustainability.
In order to address the widest range of constraints encountered in rough environments such as oil and gas, the CP86 series offers four torque levels available in three versions:
Both our work organization and flexible innovation platform allow us to adapt to evolving customer requirements, shortening the development phase and therefore time to market.
Each CP86 version has been designed to deliver the right solution to the constraints raised by customers at the beginning of the project: productivity improvement, accuracy, quality control and operator safety. In terms of productivity, the operator saves precious time thanks to the extended battery capacity and high-performance torque. Its compact, ergonomic and cordless design make it easy and comfortable to handle and use even in hard-to-access environments. In addition, the tool maintenance functionalities available with the connected versions foster predictive maintenance and minimize curative maintenance, a source of operational downtimes. According to the VoC, no compromise would have been accepted on torque performance. The gearbox has been designed to achieve high precision tightening (+/- 4%) with constant repeatability. On top of this performance, quality control is now possible with counting sequence monitoring and the availability of a detailed report containing assembly operation data. Thanks to the dedicated CPLinQ application, tightening reports can be downloaded anywhere very quickly from any iOS or Android device. With a real-time access to highly accurate information, this connected solution is the most ergonomic on the market. Great attention has also been paid to the operator’s safety, and the CP86 series has been designed to limit injuries with a safety second start button and an automatic release reaction arm.
Integrating all the hardware and electronic elements of the CP86 into the most compact and lightweight case possible was a real challenge. The best compromise between performance, ergonomics and cost was achieved by capitalizing on the development carried out in recent years on hardware, software and application technological bricks. This disruptive innovation design highlights collaborative work with customers and reflects the success of a new internal organization and working methodology resulting from a strong synergy between all Chicago Pneumatic departments (marketing, R&D, purchasing, quality control and manufacturing).
Chicago Pneumatic stays in tune with the market and works continuously with its customers to expand the CP86 range with new functionalities, to widen technical data collection and improve traceability capacities. The CP86 will be developed further to better match customers’ applications, especially with specific accessories to adapt the technology to even more constrained environments.
With the CP86 connected series, Chicago Pneumatic is paving the way to smart data management and industry 4.0 for state-of-the-art industrial tooling, and aims to become a worldwide, strategic, leading provider of smart solutions for the oil and gas, mining, renewable energy and heavy vehicle markets.