FOUNDED almost 80 years ago in 1939 by Willi Hahn, grandfather of the current Wiha Managing Director, Wilhelm Hahn, Wiha remains an owner-operated family company with an international presence and reputation, writes PETER BRETT.
The company aims to make daily life much easier for users with a product assortment of innovative hand tool solutions geared towards user needs, which increase efficiency, reduce costs and preserve health.
Quite a mission statement and one that covers a lot of ground.
The design teams at Wiha are constantly developing, designing and making products that meet the highest functionality, durability and ergonomic demands. They provide a comprehensive range of tool concepts and sets, screwdrivers, torque tools, multitools, L-keys, bits, pliers, soft-faced hammers and much more.
The VDE (The Association of German Electrical Engineers) sector is a speciality for Wiha and it has tested, developed and brought to market many innovative solutions based on actual needs of the industries they serve.
Design teams at Wiha are constantly developing, designing and making products that meet the highest functionality.
Wiha is a multi-award winning company for both products and innovation.
Recently, Wiha received the Focus Open Design Award 'Special Mention' 2018 and the German Design Award 'Gold' 2019 for its product innovation speedE, the world’s first e-screwdriver from Wiha.
In 2016 it was recognised as belonging to the top 100 most innovative medium-sized companies in Germany, and other prestigious awards they have won include the Manufacturing Excellence Award in 2014 as the best German SME.
I can’t give a better explanation of why we need specialist torque products than Volker Lehmann, Product Manager and Torque specialist at Wiha, who said: "New application fields, technologies and materials, coupled with ever advancing miniaturisation, are leading to a growing necessity for applying the right torque for fastening. Here, in order to prevent quality problems, process safety is at the forefront.
"However, it’s not just today’s shift system that results in people with different training or experience failing to meet the required safety level with exact power transmission due to not using the correct hand tool. It’s all about using the right tool to prevent the high costs involved with reworking or product recalls, and thus avoiding the loss of our own quality image."
In addition, Lehmann states that “correct torque usage prevents damage to materials, eliminates the need for retouching and protects against warranty claims.
In today's industry, using torque tools is one of the decisive factors in terms of increasing process reliability. This makes fully certified Wiha torque tools essential for mechanics, electricians and electronics technicians in different segments as they combine precision with security.”
Torqueing Tools – some of Wiha’s finest
The TorqueVario®-S range of screwdrivers is very sophisticated and intended for industrial and professional users.
The handles contain mechanisms to adjust the torque settings and cover a range of common torque brackets depending on the size of the screwdrivers. For example, the 0.5 – 2.0 Nm TorqueVario S screwdriver is a bit smaller than the top of the range 2.0 – 7.0 Nm version.
The handles are graded to suit the sizes and applications of the tools and are set using the torque setting tool supplied. All the screwdrivers feature the patented SoftFinish handle design that is recognised as being easy to use and causes reduced strain on hand and back muscles.
The VDE versions of these tools give the user protection up to 1000v while also encompassing the SoftFinish handle design.
Taking the next step up the ease of use ladder, the mechatronic iTorque screwdrivers can be set without tools.
The settings are guaranteed to be accurate and are easy to set via the integrated setting wheel on the end of the handle. A digital display confirms the chosen setting.
For users like electricians and electronics fitters who might find it uneconomical to invest in a range of torque tools, Wiha provides a simple and cost-effective solution in the form of the easyTorque adaptors.
They will fit all the variants of the slimVario family of Wiha screwdriver sets – both VDE and conventional.
The user simply chooses the adaptor from a range of preset torque adaptors and inserts it between the bit and the handle. In this way, the user can get accurate torque settings on sensitive fixings without breaking the bank – or the screwdriver!
Checking the Settings
Having been educated into some of the intricacies of torque tools recently, I know that torque tools have a life span during which they have to be regularly checked for accuracy and, if necessary, be recalibrated. Guarantees and warranties may depend on torque tools being accurately set, so it makes sense to have a system or even a tool that does informal and more regular checking of accurate torque settings.
It could be very costly and time consuming to find out that a production tool is outside the torque parameters and then having to recall or recheck products.
The Wiha solution is to use the Torque QuickCheck that enables all Wiha screwdrivers to be checked for accuracy very regularly – before each use if needed.
The checks are very easy to carry out – simply insert the screwdriver into the TorqueCheck and they will be checked at 2.8 Nm as a standard. If the TorqueCheck and the handle settings match up, then a green light will indicate that it is accurate.
But a red or amber light would indicate an inaccuracy that would need further investigation and recalibration.
The virtue of the QuickCheck system is that it is light, compact, accurate and can be slipped into a toolbox so that regular checking is not a chore.
While it is not a substitute for recalibration, its use as a diagnostic tool that avoids expensive rechecks on jobs already completed is a cost-effective solution.
I acknowledge that this is a swift and broad-brush overview of the range of Wiha torque tools.
But I hope that it helps readers to understand a few of the trends in torque tools available and the levels of sophistication that we have already reached in using torque applications.
Like Brexit, torque applications aren’t going to go away, and end users will have to get to grips with the increasingly sophisticated systems in which torque tools are used.
Checks are very easy to carry out – simply insert the screwdriver into the TorqueCheck and they will be checked at 2.8 Nm as a standard.
Even your average ‘sparky’ and plumber these days need to know torque settings for RCDs and boiler fittings. The Wiha range might be a good place to start looking at the tools needed.