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

Torque Wrenches Oil, gas & petrochemical Tools Maintenance

June 7, 2023

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 an electric or hydraulic torque wrench, it’s worth understanding their respective advantages and disadvantages to ensure you pick the right tool for the job. 

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

1. Ergonomics and Maneuverability

Hydraulic wrenches need hydraulic pumps and hoses to function, which makes them heavy and difficult to handle. Some hydraulic wrench and pump units can easily weigh more than 50 lbs! However, the cordless and lighweight CP8613 provides improved ergonomics and maneuverability, weighing in at just under 12lbs. That's 73% lighter than an equivalent hydraulic wrench and pump unit weighing approximately 43lbs!

Because hydraulic tools are much heavier, operators will often find other solutions for small bolting jobs that may only need a couple of bolts tightened – decreasing efficiency, as well as negatively affecting quality and consistency. Cordless torque wrenches eliminate the need to compromise, as they provide excellent mobility and can be easily carried into nearly any job.

While cordless torque wrenches like the CP86 provide many advantages, hydraulic torque wrenches do have some advantages.  Because the tool itself is quite compact (excluding the connecting hoses and pump), they can access narrow spaces that are critical in some applications.

2. Labor Cost Savings

The compact size and lower weight of cordless wrenches meansonly 1 operator is needed to handle the equipment and perform the job. This enables you to repurpose headcount in your operation, lowering overall labor costs and increasing total productivity. 

3. Speed

Cordless tools operate up to 10 times faster than the hydraulic equivalent. For example, the CP8613 can perform 10 rpm in 60 seconds, compared with just 1 rpm for a hydraulic tool. Imagine the labor savings and efficiency gains that would come from a 900% increase in operational speed! 

4. Safety

Cordless torque wrenches deliver excellent levels of safety. They include protection features not found on hydraulic wrenches, such as a safety release button which helps to protect an operator’s 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 the first time, eliminating:

  • the risk of bolt joint failure from over-or under-tightening
  • wasted manpower having to re-tighten bolts 

Further, with the cordless CP86 torque wrench, you can create multiple torque presets in the tool. This ensures that every operator using the tool will work in the same way and tighten to the exact same level.

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

6. Fast ROI

Let's look at a real-world example involving a wind turbine application. A CP8641 cordless torque wrench was used to tighten 92 x M39 bolts to 2,360 ft/lb. Because the operator was able to use a 22lb cordless torque wrench rather than a 90 lb hydraulic wrench that required pump installation, it was significantly easier to climb the turbine and get the job done. In the end, the job was completed in just 40 minutes using the CP8641. The same job historically took 140 minutes with a hydraulic wrench. Thanks to the tremendous gain in efficiency, the customer is realizing a savings of $285 per operation and full ROI was achieved after only 4.5 jobs!

7. After-sale Service Efficiency - Increase your Battery Tools' Lifespan

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. The app 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 managers cannot be certain of the quality or consistency of tightening.

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.