Ian Lofthouse, Business Manager - Tools & Industrial Products


Ian has spent his entire 32-year career working in the supply of tools and consumables to industrial customers. At Hayley Group, he helps customers to optimise tool selection and usage, facilitated by innovation from our leading brand supply partners.

Six Sigma is a popular business process improvement methodology, developed in the 1980s by electronics company, Motorola, and has come to be adopted across a complete spectrum of industry sectors. Its chief aim is to develop a culture of continuous improvement, by identifying and eradicating waste, variation, and errors in business processes of all kinds, improving efficiency and the quality of products created for customers. One of the tools associated with Six Sigma is SQDC, four criteria (Safety, Quality, Delivery, Cost), which are often displayed on a board/wall in the process area, with different metrics measured daily for each category.

Market-leading torque solutions provider and long-standing Hayley Group partner Norbar, don’t only manufacture torque tools and calibration equipment. As part of their value-add services offering, Norbar offer a free Torque Assessment. This involves a precursory fact-finding phone call, followed by an on-site inspection of a business’ torque tools and the tightening techniques employed by staff, both conducted by specialist Norbar personnel. In this article, I want to look at how this unique service can support Six Sigma SQDC for businesses of any size or industry.

1. Safety

Norbar, part of the Snap-on Group of companies, operates a safety-first culture. This philosophy is key to how they approach product design for all of their tools, how they craft their detailed operator manuals and how-to videos, informs their commitment to ensuring total compliance with the very latest health and safety legislation affecting users and the environments that they work in.

A Norbar Torque Assessment is not intended to shame users and businesses by highlighting their safety failures. Instead, it is intended to boost awareness among decision-makers that users need to be better armed with the correct equipment and knowledge to improve how safely they carry out tasks. If safety issues are discovered during the site visit, non-obligatory recommendations will be made. For example, an endorsement for a solution such as the Norbar EvoTorque Battery Tool, with a unique ‘safe to start’ button to help ensure both hands are safely positioned upon start-up, helping to reduce the risk of crushing between the tool’s reaction bar and the workpiece.

With the Torque Assessment identifying opportunities where torque tool operation can be made safer and suggesting relevant solutions with advanced safety features, the safety dimension of the SQDC is supported. This can help a business’ safety metrics, such as the number of worker injuries or absence days caused by an injury, are improved.


2. Quality

In terms of how a Torque Assessment from Norbar can help businesses to improve on the ‘quality’ dimension of their SQDC, they are a company that takes quality as seriously as they do user safety. Norbar’s quality assurance system has been certified to internationally-recognised standards for thirty-plus years, indeed they were the very first torque equipment manufacturer to have an in house UKAS-accredited calibration laboratory. Customers who invite Norbar to conduct an on-site Torque Assessment can, therefore, rest assured that any recommended products and services (e.g., user training), are of the highest quality, and complying with all relevant UK regulations and EU directives.

If you feel that tool users within your business would benefit from hands-on training from a dedicated Norbar torque expert, know that both safety and quality will always feature at the heart of those sessions. The training offered is designed to help both new and existing torque tool users to operate, calibrate, and repair equipment effectively, with best practice imparted throughout a half-day or full-day session. Thanks to improved skills and knowledge, users become more efficient, with standards improved over time and total cost of ownership reduced.


3. Delivery

A Torque Assessment from Norbar looks at the torque-tightening tools and methods used throughout your facility, as well as the corresponding quality, maintenance, and control procedures. For every business, whether you are operating within B2B or B2C, accurate and on-time delivery of goods is crucial to keep customers happy and maintain revenue. The efficiency and effectiveness of maintenance activities, including torque control, are an essential part of minimising downtime and disruption to production.

From the potential training sessions undertaken following recommendations made in the assessment, torque tool users will have the skills to improve their operational efficiency, as well as the effectiveness of their work. The advice given in these sessions, as well as the excellent Norbar products that may be recommended, will help to speedup processes thus helping towards a more productive workforce for businesses.


4. Cost

Norbar torque tools are designed to deliver reliable and sustained performance for their intended use, with lengthy expected service lives. This longevity helps to reduce turn-over of equipment, bringing replacement costs down. Due to the partnership that Norbar has with Hayley Group, the manufacturer works in collaboration with our UK-wide branch network to ensure that all customers that need it can have direct access to both spares and the very latest Norbar products at all times. This dependability helps to ensure that customers are never without the equipment needed to complete the job quickly and successfully.

As part of identifying areas of potential improvement in existing processes the Torque Assessment also includes the planning of a unique maintenance and calibration program, that can reduce costs. With tool refurbishment skills also covered in any suggested training session delivered by Norbar, spend on new equipment may also be reduced.

Norbar Torque Assessments are available through Hayley Group. Simply contact your local branch for more information.

Maintenance Essentials Issue 7

This article features in Issue 7 of Maintenance Essentials. Hit the button below to access a digital copy.