SYN] Magazine
#2 | 2019

Guaranteed highest precision in torque control

Interview with Thomas Parietti, CLA

Mr. Parietti, how and when did your cooperation with Atlas Copco Tools start?

“Our cooperation started at the end of 2016 when we began work on the development of our automatic assembly unit with torque measurement, CLAastm. This can be used, for example, for putting components of high-quality watches together.”

Why did CLA contact Atlas Copco?

“We had been familiar with Atlas Copco Tools products for several years. On projects for major assembly lines, we had already integrated processes which had been implemented by partners using Atlas Copco products. We were looking for a solution which would allow us to carry out automated tightening processes and would especially ensure the highest possible precision in torque control and monitoring at low torque values.”

What precisely is the challenge you face when tightening extremely small components using the CLAastm?

“The main criterion for CLA was a screwdriver that would tighten screws precisely to 0.5 newton-centimetres Ncm). This is an extremely low torque value, corresponding to only 0.005 newton-meters (Nm). No other manufacturer could offer the precision of Atlas Copco’s MicroTorque tools. The easy integration of these tools and the universal MicroTorque Focus 6000 controllers in our equipment was another decisive advantage. In addition, the references of Atlas Copco and its many years of experience with the watch industry were very important for us.

What specific skills did Atlas Copco bring to this project?

“Atlas Copco not only supplied a MicroTorque screwdriver; we were also able to exchange our experience with respect to assembly quality. This led to regular follow-up activities which allowed us to optimize our tightening and control cycles. CLA was the project company and we were responsible for the entire development of the machine from design through to commissioning.”

What were the milestones in this project?

“CLA determined requirements and prepared the specifications in cooperation with the final customer. We then continued with the individual steps of design, software development, production and testing. Finally, we validated the machine together with our customer. Validation was followed by a commissioning and training phase. During this stage, Atlas Copco Tools was able to convince us with easy programming to precise torque values, angle monitoring during loosening tests (especially for quality assurance) and comprehensive monitoring and high precision throughout the tightening process. Atlas Copco Tools also contributed key experience from practical assembly applications.”

In what fields is the CLAastm used?

“Our new screwdriver unit allows the secure-process assembly of components with digital torque control for screw tightening and loosening. The screws are supplied as bulk material and fed automatically to the screwdriver by a vacuum system. The unit is equipped with three axes (X, Y and Z), which ensures high flexibility. Depending on individual requirements, it can be equipped with different types of screwdrivers. This makes it a high-performance tool that can be used in a variety of sectors including watchmaking, electronics, micro-technology and medical technology.”

What benefits does the automatic screwdriver CLAastm have to offer?

“The CLAastm screwdriver is extremely compact and easy to integrate into an existing plant. Thanks to its replaceable tools, it is suitable for the production of a variety of different parts and components. One of its main advantages is reliable torque measurement. In addition, screw feeding and the positioning of the next component to be assembled are completed in parallel. The unit ensures the storage of torque values with precise traceability to individual parts. In combination with MicroTorque screwdrivers from Atlas Copco Tools, it offers a simple, user-friendly interface which can be used for selecting the best tightening program in each case.