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Stand Tools Enterprise Co., Ltd.

MEMS sensor-integrated digital torque wrench, hand tools

Jan 08, 2010 | By Steve Chuang | STAND TOOLS ENTERPRISE CO., LTD.

Torque wrenches have come a long way since the days when users relied on reading mechanical gauges to check the torque applied. Today the top-end torque wrenches are digitally read for unmatched torque accuracy. No other hand tool manufacturers in Taiwan are properly qualified to prove to users that their torque wrenches are truly reliable and accurate as Stand Tools Enterprise Co., Ltd., the first hand tool manufacturer in Taiwan working to set up a TAF (Taiwan Accreditation Foundation) certified lab with torque testing devices.


Founded in 1988 in Taiwan's central county of Taichung, Stand Tools is a proficient tool manufacturer with a broad line of products including, but not limited to, ratcheting screwdrivers, and magnet-integrated products, such as multifunctional holders, boxes, hangers, sweepers, trays, and related products. Besides having won a dozen awards given by the government for excellent R&D, the company is also a leading ODM (original design manufacturer) of hand tools in Taiwan.


Although digital torque wrenches are already well-recognized by European and American buyers as a top, marketable product, Stand Tools' journey towards becoming the world's leading digital torque wrench manufacturer has just begun. The company has been given a positive push forward with its TAF-certification that assures the quality of the lab and its proficiency.


TAF Certification Is Key
Devoutly believing that excellence in digital torque wrench technology hinges on the precision and accuracy of torque force applied, Stand Tools' three-brother team of Alston, Calvin, and Brand Hsiao are the motivation behind producing a top of the line digital torque wrench. They began setting up a TAF-certification "Testing & Calibration Lab," which follows all standards based on ISO:17025 and local laws last year. The lab is expected to be TAF-certified in 2010, when a new page in Stand Tools' history will be turned.


In Taiwan, Stand Tools is the first and presently the only hand tool maker engaged in TAF certification. According to Brand, marketing director, who says "after repeated discussions, we finally agreed that such a program is essential, because it will enhance the added-value and functionality of our digital torque wrenches, thus helping to earn customers' trust."

Above all, Brand stresses, accuracy in torque wrenches helps to safeguard product safety: for example, improperly torqued fasteners on carbon fiber bike frames would undermine structural strength that can cause sudden breakage under vibration. Also building internationally-recognized testing and calibrating resources in-house would benefit Stand Tools with higher operation efficiency and lower cost to outsource quality testing.

Worthwhile Payoff
To establish an in-house TAF-certification testing and calibrating lab is usually not a practical option for any but the largest enterprises in Taiwan considering the considerable investments involved; however, the payoff in quality, trustworthiness and accuracy drives Stand Tools to be committed in this enterprise.

Brand states that the TAF is Taiwan's unique national laboratory accreditation institute that assesses local organizations by evaluating competence in specific certifications, calibrations, testing and inspections, as well as providing proficiency testing services, against internationally recognized standards, like ISO:17025.

In fact, Brand says, "in Taiwan, a TAF-certified test and calibration lab meets global standards and has surpassingly high levels of competency. Once the lab is accredited by TAF, it also becomes one of the supervisors of the labs. All calibration and testing processes and quality management will be examined by TAF. For instance, even SGS's Taiwan branch must be audited and supervised by TAF." In other words, the TAF is Big Brother to all the quality assurance and testing labs on the island.

To put the TAF label on the torque wrench report, Stand Tools has had to make substantial investments to retrofit the lab according to TAF requirements and articles of ISO17025, thus renewing it into a lab with proper layout and testing machinery within a spacious area.

Stringent Qualifications
Additionally, the TAF also requires operators to undergo training courses extending for nearly half a year. "The attendees need to meet stringent qualifications, one of which is a basic knowledge of statistics and calculus, both of which are tools used in quality testing and calibrating," Brand asserts. Such formal educational requirements leave most traditional manufacturers in Taiwan in the cold as many are lowly-educated. However, Stand Tools welcomes this requirement, as the three brothers have strong backgrounds in statistics and engineering, hence allowing them to complete the training smoothly.

The accreditation from TAF is not a lifelong, unconditional approval. A company is reevaluated and reexamined periodically by TAF auditors, Brand mentions: "they come to factories to check testing procedures and documents for conformity with its requirements, ISO:17025, and the local law, and to examine and evaluate calibration engineers' practices. Failure means revocation of the TAF certification until passing of reexaminations."

The Fundamental Calibration Beam
The most remarkable achievement by Stand Tools is having an in-house calibration beam that is required in a TAF-certified testing and calibrating lab. A calibration beam's use and purpose is checking the exact torque of a wrench.

Equally notable is that Stand Tools built this calibration beam according to the concept of "measurement accountability."

Only two internationally-recognized calibration beams are in Taiwan presently, according to Alston, head of engineering, who states: "At first, we were going to buy one from an international supplier, but we consider the environment and machine maintenance later on in Taiwan. Finally, we decided to build it ourselves with international standards and consultancy by a couple of experts."

Basically the calibration beam allows weights to hang on either end, and a hole at the fulcrum through which a digital torque wrench rests. Weights are hung on the beam and pulled by gravity to cause torque to occur in the wrench, allowing engineers to easily and precisely read with total accuracy the twisting force.

To certify the calibration beam is fully reliable, Stand Tools commissioned staffs from the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) to collect data to achieve "measurement accountability," specifically the gravity, elevation and latitude of the point where the device is located. With advanced instruments and assistance from the ITRI experts, the company measured 978821.964 mGal at the point, as well as certifying the mass of the weights and length of the calibration beam.

Perfectionist
Asked why Stand Tools bothers with seeming overkill to achieve accuracy, Alston says that gravity varies with latitudes and elevation, which affects testing results to a hair. The company is simply a perfectionist in building accurate digital torque wrenches.

"In short, a calibration beam works consistently with natural forces, unlike conventional and doubtful testing instruments that calculate torque as a linear regression," Alston says. Simply, Stand Tools goes to such lengths because electronic parts are not always trustworthy, while the force of nature, such as gravity is virtually unquestionably reliable, as is the beam.

"The certification has been more exhausting and rigorous than expected for a traditional manufacturer like Stand Tools, but we never considered giving up. We believe that our level of dedication to accuracy is essential for sustained business development in this segment," he concludes.

Upgraded Torque Wrench
After achieving considerable success with the launch of the digital torque wrench last year, Stand Tools is about to debut a second-edition this year. It is an upgraded model with a smaller and lighter body, better battery efficiency, advanced CPU, and more attractive colors on the TPR (thermal plastic rubber) handle.

However, more noteworthy is the unparalleled accuracy and precision of torque the wrench provides, thanks to the company's effort to build the world's best, most reliable digital torque wrench. According to Alston, "With the officially- recognized testing and calibration lab operational, we will be ready to diversify production into other torque tools and related applications to a greater level than we ever have been able to before," he claims.

Unfazed by the global downturn, Stand Tools is choosing to take the long road to success, a path typically avoided by most of its peers to boost competitiveness in the global market of digital torque wrenches. No matter how others question our decision, Alston says, the company will keep working hard to become the best in the line.

Stand Tools Enterprise Co., Ltd.
No. 55, Cheng Feng Lane, Tai Ming Rd., Wu Jih, Taichung Hsien, Taiwan 41468
Tel: 886-4-2355-6489
Fax: 886-4-2355-6491
E-mail: stand@ms19.hinet.net
http://www.dgstand.com


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