Why measure bolt elongation before every torque wrench or bolt tensioner operation?
As bolts in major industrial applications tend to loosen due to impact from constant vibrations and load, bolt tensioners and torque wrenches are frequently used during shutdown to tighten them and maintain joint-integrity. However, it is an extremely tedious and time consuming process considering the fact that multiple bolts need to be torqued or tensioned with limited tensioners and torque wrench. In this article, we will explain how measuring bolt elongation with an ultrasonic bolt measurement device like the TensionPro Sonar can confirm if retightening of bolts is required.
What do Ultrasonic Bolt Measurement devices measure?
The TensionPro Sonar measures the bolt load by measuring the bolt elongation. When load is applied to the bolt it stretches or elongates. The elongation is proportional to the bolt load when the applied load is less than the elastic limit of bolt. If we know the physical properties of the bolt the bolt load can be calculated from the elongation of the bolt. The TensionPro Sonar measures the bolt elongation ultrasonically measuring the change of the bolt length (that is before tightening and after tightening).
What is Bolt Elongation?
The difference between the measurement in readings taken before and after tightening a bolt is the bolt elongation. For example, before tightening the reading showed 120mm and after tightening showed 121.5mm, it means the bolt was stretched 1.5mm.
The benefits of implementing in bolting operations
Determining the bolt elongation before any bolting process has lot of benefits. By saving time in bolting processes, it enhances the productivity and efficiency on-site. As plants incur huge losses during shutdown, it is important to use modern technologies to minimize the time in completing bolting jobs.
By measuring the bolt elongation, TensionPro Sonar determines which fastener needs tightening and which does not; saving time on tool carrying, setup, and operations. It also saves on manpower costs. With TensionPro’s data recording feature, the plant can record, store, and monitor the elongation of every bolt and then take a call whether to bolt or not.
For example, a power plant purchases a TensionPro Sonar and decides to implement it in its bolting operations. The first bolt maintenance with the TensionPro Sonar would be similar to the conventional methods i.e. torqueing or tensioning all bolts with a torque wrench or tensioner. Note that the first shutdown with the TensionPro Sonar will be done in the conventional way to purely record and store data in the device. This data will be used in the next shutdown or during preventive maintenance to monitor the bolt elongation and determine if there is any loss in the bolt. Based on the data collected, operators will now decide if the elongation is under the accepted tolerance limit and if bolting is required. As carrying and setting up a torque wrench equipment or bolt tensioners on multiple applications can be tedious, the portable TensionPro Sonar is a convenient method to save time on tool carrying and taking readings.
Features of TensionPro Sonar
TensionPro Sonar displays, stores, and transfers bolt load and elongation data in a new, single purpose unit. The hybrid measurement system uses the best of both digital and analogue signal processing techniques for accurate TOF measurement and fast signal acquisition. The data is presented on a 4.3” touch screen.
The device also offers real time signal tracking with secure data collection and password protection. Powered by battery, the set includes a fast charger. With the 256 MB storage, it can store multiple job data.
About TensionPro Sonar Tool Rental
As an exclusive distributor of TensionPro in India, ABS offers bolt elongation and load measurement services with the help of the TensionPro Sonar. The service benefits our customers by saving on capital investment and maintenance costs. Allowing the customer to pay only when required, the stress-free service will measure the load and elongation of the desired number of bolts with the help of our bolting expert and the TensionPro Sonar. All the documented reports recorded will be provided immediately for future traceability.
We hope this article convinced you on how adding a simple step can significantly save time and money spent on shutdowns. Visit us next time for more modern bolting solutions that can save your costs and time on bolting operations.