Tool Balancers: How to Pick the Right One

How to pick the right tool balancer?

A well-balanced tool-holding assembly is key to ensuring the consistency and reliability of any tool that you’re running in your facility, which in turn increases productivity and extends your tools’ lives.

There are different tool balancing systems available. Each facility needs to find the right tool balancer for their specific assembly applications, with sufficient options to deliver the desired performance. It’s best to seek the help of an engineer to determine your shop’s requirements and provide feedback on the ideal solution.

Some of the considerations for choosing a tool balancer include:

1. Your facility specialty

Many facilities prefer to produce items for a specific industry or target market, which means that your equipment must be specifically tailored to meet the specifications of your facility’s customer base. For instance, facilities with customers from automotive or aerospace require high-precision tools and are generally willing to spend more to satisfy their customers’ needs.

To achieve optimal production processes, precision tools are paired with precision accessories. An excellent way to keep the tools safe and at an arm’s reach is with a tool balancer.

2. Auto-break safety measurement

The top priority when working on an assembly is safety, and that includes ensuring the tool balancers you use come with the right safety elements. Having an auto-break safety measurement on your tool balancer ensures your operators are kept safe and relieves you of having to deal with another potential workplace injury.

3. Conical Cable Drum

When using a tool balancer, the last thing you want is your operator to face fatigue. Having a conical cable drum in your tool balancer ensures that the retraction force remains “constant,” throughout the full cable travel. Even when delicate operations need to be performed, there’s been no increase found in retraction force. Having this provides a smooth cable throughout the stroke and will improve how your operators work.

4. Cost

Tool balancers are designed to balance a constant load. They range in price from $21 to $450. While some facilities don’t require them, those with operations that use heavy handheld tools, like nail guns, can get the best return on investment by using a tool balancer that suits their specific needs, allowing operators to get more done without fatigue.

A tool balancer allows your tools to be weightless, and this can make your tools last longer because they wouldn’t be thrown down after each use, ultimately cutting repair and replacement costs.

5. Weight of tool

When measuring the load to be carried by a specific tool balancer model, you should start at the suspension point to include the weight of the hoses and attachments. Otherwise, you risk damaging the spring if you operate below spring capacity. It’s recommended to operate at or near the maximum spring capacity for optimal performance and extended spring life.

6. Dimensions of the unit

To choose the right balancer or model, you should first determine the height and physical space available to suspend your tool balancer and allow it to rotate and swing freely. The dimensions will determine the maximum work area you have and the ideal length for tool positioning and travel of the cable.

Considering the unit’s size helps to maximize the effective work area while reducing angle friction between the cable drum, cable, and nozzle opening, which minimizes wear.

7. Ergonomics

The concept of ergonomics revolves around providing workplace accommodations that allow operators to perform their duties without risk of injury, especially musculoskeletal disorders resulting from repetitive motion. Tool balancers help to prevent injuries, though you should choose the right option to improve ergonomics for each of the different tools. For instance:

Retractor Tool Balancers

Retractor tool balancers are the most basic and common option, designed to hold a weight of about 10 pounds. They’re less expensive than specialty balancers, and typically keep the tool hanging slightly below the balancer when at rest.

To use the tool, the operator pulls down to unwind a cable under continuous pressure from a spring. This allows the tool to automatically return to its normal rest position as soon as the operator lets go. Though the operator will feel some strain due to the upward tension of the balancer, it’s still less severe than handling the tool directly.

Zero Gravity Tool Balancers

Zero gravity tool balancers can hold loads of up to 264 pounds, which makes them ideal for suspending heavy-duty tools. The tool cable is wrapped around a tapered drum and loads a coiled spring, which means the tension remains constant through the entire stroke. This allows the operator to use less force to move the tool around, helping to minimize the risk of injury.

Selecting the Right Tool Balancer

Ultimately, the right tool balancer for your shop depends on the specifications of your tools and workstations.

To learn more about finding the right tool balancer, call Delta Regis at 1-888-733-3142 or contact us here.

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