Guide to Calibrating Smart Tools

by Garber Metrology

Smart tools are the future of many industries, as they help users perform tasks more safely, efficiently and accurately. These tools can also send data about their use to a centralized digital location, allowing companies to better understand how they’re being used and spot areas of improvement. With all of the advantages smart tools provide, it’s essential you calibrate them. As you would with more traditional tools and devices, calibration is essential to receiving long-term performance from your smart tools.

Since smart tools are relatively new, you may want to first know more about what smart tools are, their benefits and how important they are to your company’s future success. After learning more about the importance of smart tools, you can better understand how you can use and calibrate them properly.

What Are Smart Tools?

Smart tools are a type of tool able to communicate data to other systems, such as a mobile app or piece of software. Oftentimes, smart tools will provide information to other tools used for different processes to assist with their operations. You can find them used in various industries, such as construction, aerospace and manufacturing.

In a manufacturing context, smart tools will feature electronics, a communications module, sensors and a processor. Since they come with all these components, you can program them with operation parameters, helping them achieve better results and allowing operators to automate key processes.

In the manufacturing, aerospace and construction industries, you can find a few tools used for various applications. If you’re interested in getting a sense of what smart tools look like in the real world, check out some common examples of them below:

  • Digital calipers: A digital caliper allows you to quickly determine the exact size of a small object. These calipers provide greater accuracy than traditional calipers, displaying measurements on a screen rather than having the user look at the ruler. You can find these digital calipers used for repairing electronics. They can also help ensure you’re using the right-sized screws and other tiny fasteners.
  • Electric torque wrenches: An electric torque wrench allows a user to program it to properly tighten nuts and bolts at the best number of turns. You can usually select from various tightening programs remotely via software or directly on the wrench’s screen. These devices will also provide information about torque achieved, tool used and a pass or fail result.
  • Smart wall scanner: Smart wall scanners replace stud finders of the past by giving users a better way to identify electrical wires, studs and water pipes behind drywall. This tool is widely used in construction and home remodeling, as it can help prevent users from cutting through a hot wire and help them find centerline studs. You can find smart wall scanners that pair with mobile apps to help you record where wires and other objects are behind a wall.
  • Smart tool drill: If you need highly accurate drilling, a smart tool drill is an excellent option over traditional drills. Smart drills typically come with a touchscreen and sensors to help guide users as they drill holes and sense the angle the user is holding it at. These drills can often even measure distances to ensure you’re drilling in the right location, and their touch screens typically allow you to adjust various drilling parameters.
  • Bluetooth-enabled saw: When you want greater control over your saw, you’ll likely want to upgrade to a Bluetooth-enabled saw. Since these saws feature Bluetooth, you can connect them to an app. With this app, you can customize various aspects of the saw, such as its blade speed and when it should stop running. Due to this greater control, you can reduce wear on your saws, improve safety and increase efficiency when cutting materials.
  • Smart tool level: Using a traditional level can lead to human error, even if the person using it is as careful as possible. A smart tool level solves this issue by providing users with highly accurate measurements. Many smart tool levels feature an LCD that shows if you’re completely level. These levels also often come with an audio indicator to help you know if you’ve reached a particular measurement when you can’t physically look at the screen.
  • Self-leveling laser: A self-leveling laser is perfect for times when you need to mark locations for drilling or molding. With a self-leveling laser, you won’t have to worry about human error when setting up your laser beam. These level lasers will even correct themselves to ensure they give you perfectly aligned beams.
  • Smart screwdrivers: Smart screwdrivers are another popular option for various applications. You can easily program them to utilize certain tightening configurations to improve a screwdriver’s performance and reduce your tool’s torque reaction.
  • Smart measuring tools: When you want more accurate measurements, smart measuring tools offer a significant advantage over rulers and measuring tapes. You can use these tools for various purposes, such as measuring irregularly shaped objects, planning out where you should place pictures and performing accurate cabinetry projects. These measuring tools will pair with an app to ensure you receive and store precise measurements.

Benefits of Using Smart Tools

Many companies are turning to smart tools due to the improved performance and results they provide over more traditional options. When you use smart tools, you can also expect to have greater control over your data, as these tools transmit information to a centralized system you can use to review your tools’ performance analytics. These tools can also reduce mistakes by taking human error largely out of the equation.

Take a moment to review some of the top benefits of using smart tools below:

  • Better quality results: Smart tools can often give operators information about whether or not they have the right tool inputs. When the tool recognizes that the operator has the right tool input, they’ll let the operator continue to use it. In contrast, if the tool detects an incorrect input, it will redirect the operators to information about using the tool correctly. Due to smart tools’ ability to prevent users from using them incorrectly, you can safeguard yourself from operator misuse, leading to better results over time.
  • Reduced data input mistakes: Before smart tools, operators had to input manual data about their tools’ results by hand. Since they had to enter data by hand, the risk of mistakes was much higher, especially when they had to input long identification codes. Smart tools solve this issue by taking human error out of the data input equation. These tools will automatically communicate key data points into your system without any manual input required. As a result, you’ll prevent data input mistakes.
  • Greater data consolidation: When you use smart tools at your business, you’ll receive greater data consolidation. Smart tools will send information to whatever system you’re using them with, allowing you to centralize your smart tool data. With more consolidated information, you can quickly access data and analyze it for better results. You’ll also reduce productivity hits resulting from spending too much time looking for a piece of information.
  • Improved traceability: Since smart tools will send their data to a centralized system, you can more easily trace a tool’s performance and find critical information about it. For example, you can look back at a tool’s production reports to spot inefficiencies or signs a tool may need calibration. Many systems also have in-depth filters you can apply to more quickly find information.
  • Less downtime: When you use traditional tools, you may not know when they need maintenance, leading to them breaking down unexpectedly. This breakdown often causes downtime, as you have to look for a replacement tool and schedule the tool’s repair. Smart tools reduce downtime by keeping track of when they need maintenance and sending you alerts. As a result, you can better schedule repairs so they don’t affect your productivity.

Why Are Smart Tools Important for the Future?

With all of the benefits of smart tools, they’re helping companies work faster, safer and more accurately. Because of these benefits, they’re crucial to any company looking to improve their overall efficiency and relationships with customers and clients.

As you look to stay ahead of the competition, increasing your company’s productivity is critical. Smart tools allow your team to work faster and receive assistance from the tool while conducting various tasks. They also provide more data to your team, helping managers make better decisions about what tools are needed for a job and when to schedule maintenance for tools to ensure your team has minimal downtime.

Another way smart tools can raise your productivity is by eliminating the need for physical manuals and logs. Instead of devoting staff’s time to log their tools’ performance and tasks performed, a smart tool sends this data directly to a software program. This information then gets stored in a centralized location, such as an enterprise resource planning system, where relevant team members can access it. As a result, your team can focus on more productive work instead of being hampered by manual record keeping.

Alongside increasing a team’s productivity, smart tools can improve their accuracy. Since smart tools often warn users if they’re using them improperly, they can prevent mistakes. Their accuracy also allows your team to produce better quality results, leading to greater client and customer satisfaction. Smart tools also increase your team’s accuracy by providing support, such as identifying the required tasks and verifying a tool is needed for a particular job.

Smart tools assist with increasing worker and project safety, as well. These tools often have safety features to stop workers from using them improperly. With these safety features, workers are less likely to injure themselves by using a tool improperly. As you look to the future, increased safety will help keep your team efficient and reduce costs associated with on-the-job injuries.

Additionally, as more companies connect their devices to the Internet of Things (IoT), smart devices are crucial. The IoT is made up of billions of devices connected via the internet, with these devices collecting and sharing data. By investing in smart devices, more of your company can connect with the IoT, leading to greater real-time data communication about your devices. As a result, you can use the data they gather to optimize their usage.

How to Use Smart Tools

When you first invest in smart tools, you’ll likely want to know how to use them effectively. Since smart tools come in so many varieties, there’s no all-encompassing way to use them effectively. Like you might expect, it’s important to review your smart tool’s manual to see how you’re supposed to use it. Because smart tools come with displays, they’ll also usually provide tips and give you information about how you’re supposed to be utilizing them.

In general, you should also look into all the available features to maximize your smart tool use. Download corresponding apps or connect your smart tool to your IoT, and you can take advantage of this efficient technology.

Challenges With Smart Tools

While smart tools are crucial to the success of companies in the future, they still come with a couple of challenges. One of the major challenges is teaching workers how to use smart tools effectively. Some workers may not be tech-savvy and feel more comfortable using traditional tools, leading to some difficulty as you try to get them on board with using new smart tools.

Though you may have some staff who aren’t initially comfortable using these tools, you can solve this challenge by scheduling staff training to review the proper use of smart tools. In these training programs, managers can showcase how these smart tools can help workers do their jobs more easily and with greater efficiency. After getting resistant staff members on board, you can then explain how to use the tool to ensure everyone can employ your new smart tools effectively.

Another one of the biggest challenges facing companies using smart tools is that they don’t know how to calibrate them. Calibration is essential to keeping tools accurate and performing properly. When you regularly calibrate your smart tools, you can prevent maintenance issues and receive better quality results from their use.

Due to the novelty of smart tools, many companies struggle to know how to calibrate them appropriately. This lack of experience and expertise for calibrating smart tools can lead to companies calibrating them incorrectly and not conducting the performance they require. You can solve this issue at your company by working with a calibration company that knows how to provide smart tool calibration services. These companies will handle your calibration needs for you and ensure your smart tools perform at their best.

Importance of Smart Tool Calibration Services

Smart tool calibration services are essential to keep your smart tools working efficiently and accurately. With programmable tool calibration services in your corner, you can receive several benefits, including:

  • Ensure accuracy: Even though smart tools are more advanced, any tool will end up having its sensors start to drift over time, leading to accuracy issues. Smart tool calibration returns your smart tools to their most accurate form, helping you get the best results and optimize your processes. Calibrating your smart tools is especially useful if you consistently use them for demanding processes requiring a great deal of accuracy.
  • Comply with regulations: You can find many different regulatory requirements governing the usage of tools in various industries. By calibrating your smart tools, you’ll be less likely to fall short of regulatory requirements due to inaccuracies in your tool’s performance or the overall quality of your work.
  • Increase safety: When a tool isn’t calibrated, it can start to break down and perform improperly. If a tool doesn’t work properly, it could potentially cause an injury or damage whatever projects your staff is working on. Calibration helps increase safety by making sure your tools work as intended and don’t break down unexpectedly during use.
  • Save money: If you don’t calibrate your tools, you can see greater costs over time, as you’ll likely have to pay for replacement tools more frequently and face expenses related to damaged products or injured workers. Calibration helps your smart tools perform at their best, leading to fewer damaged products, safer workplaces and greater return on your smart tools investment.

How to Calibrate Smart Tools

When you want to calibrate programmable tools, you’ll often need to know the basics behind calibration. Precision calibration refers to the process of comparing metrology equipment’s output to known standards. This comparison process allows technicians to see if your equipment has the appropriate accuracy and performance. When a technician finds a discrepancy between the known standards and your equipment’s output, they’ll make adjustments to ensure the equipment delivers accurate results again.

The basic process behind calibrating smart tools is similar, as technicians will still compare a tool’s results to known values. However, these tools have more parts to consider during the calibration process, so they tend to need an expert technician to perform calibration.

Smart tools are constructed with various parts, such as a processor, sensors, a communication model and electronics. With all these parts, calibration is usually more complicated. As a result, you’ll want to turn to a company offering precision calibration services. Understanding how often your smart tools need calibrated can help you create a maintenance schedule.

How Do You Calibrate a Smart Level?

Since the calibration process will be different based on the tool used, there’s not a universal way to calibrate them. However, you can get a sense of the calibration process by knowing how you calibrate specific kinds of smart tools, such as a smart level. When you calibrate a smart tool level, you’ll be ensuring your level gives you accurate readings about whether surfaces are plumb or level.

The first step of the calibration process will be to place the level on a flat surface as close to completely horizontal as possible. Next, you’ll hit the tool’s calibration button and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Usually, you’ll turn the tool in multiple directions and continue to press the calibrate button at prescribed intervals.

After you’ve followed the steps for horizontal calibration, you’ll place the smart level on a plumb surface as close to completely vertical as possible. Like the horizontal step, you’ll press the tool’s calibration button and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. The tool’s LCD should give you prompts to follow as you rotate the smart level on the surface. By the end of the calibration process, your smart level should be returned to its factory settings.

Turn to Garber Metrology for Expert Smart Tool Calibration

Whether you need to calibrate smart drills or a smart level, Garber Metrology can help. While many other calibration companies don’t know how to calibrate smart tools, we’ve taken the time to understand their unique needs and how to calibrate them properly. We regularly work with several industries, such as aerospace, manufacturing, automotive and defense, helping them calibrate their smart tools. Since we can calibrate tools in our lab or come to our client’s facilities, we have the flexibility to better serve your needs.

Review our precision calibration services today. If you’re ready for us to calibrate your smart tools, please contact us to request a quote.

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