Taking a “monkey wrench” out of tracking torque wrenches
Manufacturing companies often have many employees using and sharing tools over multiple shifts. Our client asked us to create a novel way to track their torque wrenches and identify when they need calibration.
Mechanics use a torque wrench when the exact tightness of screws, nuts, and bolts is crucial to the job. Torque wrenches are necessary in the automotive, aerospace, construction, and engineering industries. For product safety and stability, these tools need to give consistent and precise measurements. Depending on the type of torque wrench, they need recalibration after a set number of uses (i.e., 5,000 operations) or once per year, whichever comes first.
“We need a process to track torque wrenches and ensure calibration is maintained for audit purposes.”
To meet regulations and quality guidelines, our client needed a method to request torque wrenches that meet quality and specification guidelines.
Having worked with this client for several decades, Springhouse proposed using a Microsoft SharePoint solution because we knew the company had familiarity and comfort with that application.
We developed a SharePoint form for mechanics to submit their wrench metadata (information gathered on the form) and to serve as the repository for submitted requests. And we recommended a custom workflow to automate email notifications among the stakeholders.
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The Torque Request Form standardizes a way for mechanics to request a wrench that meets strict specifications. In addition, the supporting wrench audit library captures the digital history of requests and certifications.
Mechanics complete the form with the serial number, torque amount, the Unit of Measure (UOM), requestor, and shift. Knowing the shift is important for sending reminder emails when the wrenches are due to be returned to the tooling department. The form moves to Quality Assurance (QA) for processing.
QA assigns an inspector to calibrate, test, and record the results for each wrench. A pass designation prompts an email to the mechanic letting them know the wrench is ready for pickup. A fail designation alerts QA to set the wrench aside for repairs. The inspector then gets another wrench to calibrate and test.
When the form is submitted, the automation workflow sends an acknowledgment email to the requestor stating their request is in progress and that they will be notified when the wrench is recalibrated and ready for use. Simultaneously, QA receives an email to assign an inspector to complete the calibration and testing.
When the QA inspector calibrates and passes a wrench, he enters a pass designation and the serial number of the wrench into the form. The system emails the wrench’s serial number to the mechanic, alerting them that it is ready. If a wrench is overdue for an inspection, the workflow emails a reminder to the mechanic and QA that it is due for calibration testing.
A failed calibration results in the wrench being sent for repair.
In the SharePoint wrench audit library, we created list views that group and sort the metadata for reporting purposes. With SharePoint column filtering, employees can create and save reports that meet individual needs.
After completing the form and workflow, the client requested metrics that captured time-to-complete. To meet this requirement, we added a calculated column in the SharePoint library and made it available to the various list views for reporting.
The Torque Request Form provides a means for employees to request a torque wrench they know is up to specifications. In addition, the SharePoint library provides the history of requests and verified certification providing an audit trail.
In its first three months, the form captured between 250 and 315 torque wrenches per month. Not a single wrench failed calibration, and all were returned on time. The reminder email has been a big catalyst in ensuring all wrenches are returned after they are cataloged in the wrench audit library.
Springhouse recommended a SharePoint solution to this client because it is a SharePoint-centric organization. With other consulting clients (and eventually with this client, too), Springhouse suggests developing solutions using Microsoft Power Platform tools, such as Power Apps for form development and Power Automate for workflow automation.