Next-Gen Torque Wrench Designed to go Head-to-Head with 'Best Air Tool on the Market'
Issue: November 2012, Posted Date: 11/12/2012
Author(s): Bob King, Editor-in-Chief
When Ingersoll Rand developed its W7150 high-impact cordless wrench, the company decided to throw out the conventional design philosophy for impact wrenches, explains portfolio manager Steve Jensen. "We decided to turn that on its head and focus on what was truly important to an end user," Jensen tells New Equipment Digest. "An end user will tell you that torque is important, but what they really want to do is finish their job as quickly as possible, and do it repeatedly every time."
The W7150 is more than just Ingersoll Rand's next-generation high-torque cordless wrench. It represents "a new design philosophy for impact wrenches," explains Steve Jensen, global portfolio manager–cordless tools, in an interview with New Equipment Digest.
NED: Why did Ingersoll Rand decide to market this product?
SJ: If we could match or beat the performance of the Ingersoll Rand 2135TiMAX, we could overcome many of the objections that people had against using cordless tools.
We employed a new design philosophy for impact wrenches. Typically, development is very much driven by torque spec. We decided to turn that on its head and focus on what was truly important to an end user.
An end user will tell you that torque is important, but what they really want to do is finish their job as quickly as possible, and do it repeatedly every time.
NED: How is this wrench different from similar products?
SJ: Our true competitor is an air tool. We wanted to put ourselves on par with the best air tool on the market.
We focused on matching the application speed of the Ingersoll Rand 2135TiMAX 1⁄2-inch pneumatic impact, and, lo and behold, our torque specs ended up being the same (780 foot-pounds).
The W7150 is different from other cordless products because we focused on speed, not torque, and gave the end user what they wanted and compete against air.
NED: What problems did you encounter during the development process?
SJ: We went to school on every sub-component of the W7150.
The composition of the housing, impact modifiers to make it drop-resistant, the adhesive strength of the overmold, the battery—we took a lot of time to make sure the tool was a high-quality product.This tool is powerful in terms of torque, but our challenge was to keep it to a strict weight and size limit.
NED: How long did it take from conception to final production?
SJ: We took our time and were very diligent and methodical with this project. Without putting too fine of point on it, I’d estimate that we took approximately 24 to 30 months, from initial thought to launch.
NED: Did cost factors play a role in changing the final design of the product? And, if so, in what way?
SJ: We scrutinized everything and we didn’t scrimp on anything. We decided from the get-go that we would invest heavily in the motor and switch, a premium housing and overmold, and especially in the battery.
NED: Who do you consider your target audience to be and what benefits will they realize from using this product?
SJ: General automotive repair, tire lane, light truck and van, and heavy truck and bus maintenance—basically vehicle services from a Honda Civic to a Peterbilt truck.
Also, MRO and industrial applications, like mechanical maintenance and repair. The tool is finding a home in usage situations that never would have allowed a cordless tool in the past—mining, manufacturing, heavy-duty repair, non-critical assembly manufacturing.
NED: Please add any other interesting sidelights that you think our readers would enjoy knowing.
SJ: The battery charger has a USB charging port to charge your phone or MP3 player while you’re working.
Also, the case hinges are spring loaded so that a pin can be pulled so the top pops off to into a toolbox as a tray.
Finally, we applied for patents around the “overmold.” We opened ports to bleed some of the overmold through to the inside to act as soft mounting for the motor and the switch, to help mitigate some of the vibration, so the motor lasts five to 10 times longer and provides higher power more consistently.
Click here to find out more about Ingersoll Rand and its products.