Application Torque vs. Removal Torque
For Quality Control (QC) purposes, the removal torque measurement will always be preferred over application torque monitoring. To understand why application torque is not as desirable for QC, we should first take a look at what these are:
  • Removal torque is the torque it takes to break the threads during the removal of the closure. Release torque is typically 50-90% of the application torque, and there are a number of variables that influence the removal torque of the cap. For more information, please view our white paper at
  • Application torque is the torque applied by the capper chuck. This is used to tighten the caps on the bottle neck. This type of monitoring is good for maintenance operators, so they can set their capper chucks without needing to go back and forth between a torque tester and the capper.
Why would an operator need to go back and forth between a torque tester and capper? Think about when you buy a bottle of soda. In order to drink the beverage, you will need to first remove the cap. This cap serves several purposes:

1.  It seals the product. Specifically for soda, this matters for de-gassing of the product. Soda contains dissolved CO2, and if the cap is not properly tightened, then it results in the CO2 escaping from the bottle relatively quickly, leaving the product “flat.”
2.  It demonstrates that the product has not been tampered with. Tamper evident packaging became a big deal after the famous Tylenol poisoning of 1982. Induction seals and improved QC methods were introduced to prevent product tampering.
3.  It allows both of the above while making it easy for you, the customer, to remove the closure.

If a facility took the application torque for their QC measurement, there is a chance that their bottle cap was not properly tightened and thus cannot serve these purposes. In one of our service calls, we discovered a small metal band at the end of a quick release pin that had gotten stuck between the chuck and the head of the machine. While the facility’s capper chuck was applying the required torque, their caps were still loose. This same issue can occur with crooked caps, bad threads, etc. So, for QC purposes, it is always best to use removal torque measurements rather than application torque. This way, you can be sure that you do not have bad removal torque even when the application torque is okay.

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From the Field: Inconsistent Calibration Values
Gabor Szakacs, Torque Product Manager
For one of our customers, a routine calibration through a third party company turned into a nightmare. Their “before” calibration values were higher than their “after” calibration values, resulting in a year’s worth of potentially spoiled or low quality products. They asked us the following questions regarding the issue:
1.  The display (touch screen) still showed correct torque values (passed) prior to the calibration. What is the impact if the before is lower than the after?
The displayed torque was 2 times the actual torque.  The impact - since the last calibration in 2014, the machine physically only applied half of the displayed torque. The calibration procedure was developed with a key assumption in mind: the person executing the calibration protocol understands the process. Unfortunately, the person who executed the protocol entered a 2” pulley radius, but used the 1” pulley. This discrepancy resulted in the machine incorrectly registering the calibration gain.

2. If the torqueing set value is out of range, what would notify us that it happens?
The alarm limits on the test recipe screens can be set to warn the operators of out of spec results. Please keep in mind that alarm limits would not have helped to detect the calibration issue. Once the calibration is performed, the machine is using the registered zero offset and gain values to linearize the output. The machine does not know whether the gain or zero offset values are correct, the validation is the calibration personnel’s responsibility.

3. What recommendations can you suggest to maintain normal torque value?
The person calibrating the machine must understand the process. We use a single point calibration, and the numbers on the data entry screen must match the physical torque reference. When looking into the issue, we found that the person doing the calibration in 2014 entered a 10lb weight and 2” pulley radius on the data entry screen, but they were hanging the 10lb weight on a 1” radius pulley.

To keep calibration nightmares at bay, we always recommend going to the experts that know your product. To request more information on Mesa calibration services, please contact us today.

Recent Blog Post: Upgrading RJ11 Ports to USB or RJ45
“We are trying to get our torque testers working with our PCs. I was wondering if there was an upgrade path to replace the RJ11 ports with RJ45 or USB? By upgrade, I mean physically remove the RJ11 port from the device and upgrade the port to either USB or RJ45. Our devices have RJ11 ports and not a RS232 port. I understand that a cable can be created that converts from RJ11 to RS232, but since our PC is already utilizing the serial port we need to convert it to USB. My preference would be to reduce the points of failure on the transmission of data. Having RJ11 to RS232 to USB is added failure points in an industrial environment. I would like a single cable that connects Point A to Point B without having to cobble together a cable solution.”

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Mesa Labs, 12100 W. 6th Avenue, Lakewood, CO 80228