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Adaptive Sheet Metal Screwdriving Unit

Posted on 09 Jul, 2016
Adaptive Sheet Metal Screwdriving Unit

Deprag's New Adaptive Direct Fastening System is a revolution automatic flow form screwdriving. 

The use of flow form screws into two non-drilled sheets requires high down force and high speed to heat and form the hole.  It is a complex assembly because to achieve optimal cycle times and proper funnel and thread forming, the down force and feed speed needs adjusted during the various stages of the screw assembly so that the funnel and thread forming can be done reliably. Deprag Adaptive Fastening System

Traditional systems required numerous pre-tests to determine the timing of the piercing point.  Switching parameters too early leads to improper funnel formation and longer assembly times, too late can lead to thread damage.

Deprag's Adaptive DFS is able to sense the exact piercing point as well as other key stages in the screw assembly and switches parameters accordingly assuring:

  • automatic adaptation to variances in the screw and part
  • the highest process reliability
  • shortest possible cycle times
  • optimised funnel forming
  • reduced set up times
  • a more flexible system
  • minimise  damaged threads


Other features of the Adaptive Direct Fastening System are:

  • Active nosepiece jaws that hold the screw firmly until drilling has started
  • Adjustable down holder force
  • High down pressure applied directly in line with the screw
  • Head first screw feeding to minimise damage to the screw’s tip
  • Fast interchange of the mouthpiece for minimal downtime
  • Lock stroke for underfloor applications


Max Speed: 8000rpm, freely programmable

Max torque:  15Nm, freely programmable

Feed stroke:  upto 3000N, freely programmable force and distance

Max Downholder force:  1200N, freely adjustable

Weight: 35kg

Assembly at any angle or upside down.

Maintenance friendly

Complete with industrial PC to set parameters, control the screwdriving and to analyse trends

Better Sheet Metal Joints

Posted on 29 Mar, 2016
Better Sheet Metal Joints

Innovative Sheet Metal Fasteners


Flow Drill Screws, Flow Form Screws


FDS® screws from EJOT and FFS® screws from Arnold have been around for a while.  They offer the benefits of a secure and strong joint from one side between two sheet metals.  A big advantage is that they can join dissimilar materials like aluminium, steel and plastics where spot welding is not possible (they are finding more and more applications in the automotive industry where aluminium and other materials need to be joined).  They also allow the use of thinner sheets without the use of additional hardware to strengthen the joints (this is making them more popular in the whitegoods industries).

The screws form a hole by high pressure and the speed of the screw, the heated material is then threaded and cools around the screw.  The joint is strong, and the unscrewing torque is high.  The thread formed is upto 3 times thicker than the sheet metal.


  1. Heating the metal with high end load and high speed screwdriver
  2. Penetrating the material
  3. Forming of the hole
  4. Forming of the screw thread
  5. Engagement of the threads
  6. Final tightening into the cool thread





Advantages for joining sheet metal:

  • No swarf or chips
  • Stronger joint, higher screw torque possible
  • Higher torque means a larger torque window and less chance of stripping
  • Screws can be replaced with standard metric screws
  • No additional hardware required to strengthen the joint
  • High unscrewing torque and vibration resistance
  • Possibility of joining thinner materials
  • Possibility to join Aluminium
  • Can be accessed from one side
  • Possibility to join sheets without pre-drilling (in automated applications)




What's up with hand tools these days?

Posted on 25 Sep, 2015
What's up with hand tools these days?

It seems more and more big brand manufacturers are getting their tools made in China or India with substandard materials and design but still charging premium prices.

We recently decided to offer the PB Swiss Tools range of hand tools. They offer a no compromise, top-of-the line range of hand tools, 100% made in Switzerland. They use the highest quality steels, they feel fantastic in your hand, look great (professional) and they last a lifetime.  We have uploaded a selection of their various screw assembly related hand tools, but the full range also includes striking tools (mallets, punches, chisels etc) as well as special tools like picks, scribes, awls, hose pluckers and titanium tools.


High quality PB Swiss Tools screwdrivers with ergonomic Swissgrip handles.

High quality PB Swiss Tools screwdrivers with ergonomic Swissgrip handles.

PB Swiss Tools screwdrivers feature the distinctive Swissgrip handles as well as precise, high quality steel drives.

The Swissgrip handle is made of two components.  It feels good in your hand, is slip free, resistant to oils and provides grip even if you have wet hands.


Allen Keys:  Available in sets or individually.

High quality, Swiss made, colour coded Allen Keys

High quality, Swiss made, colour coded Allen Keys

For every Allen key, the tolerances are guaranteed to be less than a hair width. This perfect dimensional accuracy and the hard and tough special alloying make for precise, durable tools.

Available finishes include:

  • High quality chrome plating
  • Rainbow finish – colour coded wrenches let you find the right key faster
  • Gold plated – for corrosive environments or for that extra touch of class?
  • Titanium – totally non magnetic for mining & oil & gas applications



T Handle Wrenches:

PB Swiss Cross Handle Wrenches

Ergonomic cross handle wrenches

Okay so we are biased, but these have to be the best T handle wrenches on the market!  They are tough, the handles are ergonomic – soft non slip grip and they look the goods.





Ratchet Drivers:

Precise, durable and smooth ratchet drive screwdriver

Precise, durable and smooth ratchet drive screwdriver


The ideal tool for fast tightening & loosening of screws featuring the famous Swiss Grip handles.  Unlike most other ratchet screwdrivers, these are made to be used every day as you favorite tool, and to outlast your car!


What is Friction Tightening?

Posted on 14 Jul, 2015

Torque controlled screw tightening has always been the most reliable and easily applied method to produce a quality screw joint.  But is torque control really going to give the perfect assembly every time?

Torque curve based on a friction controlled screw joint

Torque curve based on a friction controlled screw joint

Firstly, what is a perfect screw joint? What do we want to achieve by assembling a screw in a product?

We normally need to join two parts together, but more than that we want to induce tension in the joint so that the parts do not come apart.  Sometimes we also need to seal the parts together to prevent leakage or keep dust and water out.

So the aim for a screw joint is not simply to assemble the screw to a target torque within a set tolerance, but it is to induce a constant clamping or pre-load force.

When we apply torque to a screw joint we can calculate the amount of tension induced in the joint assuming that there is no friction in the joint.  In a low friction assembly (eg machine thread screw into a pre-tapped hole) almost all of the torque will induce tension in the joint.  If you know the pitch of the thread and the torque applied you can then calculate the tension.

Fluctuating screw-in torque influences pre-load force!

What about thread forming and self tapping screws?  We know that a portion of the torque is lost to friction and by doing some analysis we can subtract the friction and figure out the average torque used to clamp the parts.  In most cases this will be enough, but what if the friction is not the same in every assembly?

What if a screw with a thread diameter at the high end of it’s tolerance meets a part with a hole dia that is at the low end of the tolerance?  In this case less torque will be used to clamp the joint and it may not be enough.  At the other end of the spectrum, there could be too much torque which could strip the joint or damage the part.

The solution is Friction Tightening.  The advent of EC and EC servo screwdrivers has paved the way to improving the quality of screw joints.  Today we can assemble the screw, calculate the friction torque and then add the pre-determined tightening torque.  So if the friction torque varies, the actual clamping torque and consequently the clamping force will still be constant on every assembly.

Using the friction torque measurement we cannot use the final torque for statistical analysis anymore.  The final tightening torque is the sum of the friction torque and the clamping torque the final torque accuracy will depend on the quality of the joint and the screws.  We now have to look at the clamping torque only for statistical analysis.

EC screwdriver controller AST40 and friction controlled torque curve

EC screwdriver controller AST40 and friction controlled torque curve

The friction torque method is already well established in the international automotive industry as well as the electronic, mobile technology, household goods and medical industries.

Friction tightening modules are optionally available on Deprag’s Hand Held programmable screwdrivers and machine mountable electric screwdrivers.

For more information or if you would like to discuss an application, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Flexible Workstations with complete process control

Posted on 24 Jun, 2015

Fully automated assembly systems not only offer fast assembly, but they also guarantee a higher level of quality control. Unfortunately, professionally designed, reliable automated assembly equipment is expensive and often inflexible. Unless there are very large volumes over a length of time, many automatic assembly automation projects are not viable.

The solution?  Intelligent – Manual – Assembly cells.

Increasingly manufacturers are finding a middle ground between hand assembly and fully automated assembly cells.  Unknown product life cycles, unpredictable demand and sudden downturns means that manufacturers are looking for the most flexible system possible.  With modern screwdriving, screwfeeders and controllers we able to guarantee complete process control, minimize assembly time and provide flexibility at the same time.

A typical Intelligent Manual Assembly Cell will consist of one or more hand guided screwdrivers mounted in a position control stand connected to one or more screw feeders.

  • The screwdriver is typically freely programmable and different torques can be called up depending on the part to be assembled and the position of the screwdriver.
  • The torque of each screw is monitored and recorded.  If a screw is not assembled to torque or depth the operator will be alerted.
  • Screws can be automatically fed to the screwdriver after every assembly. We can even feed and assemble different screws for the one part.
  • The torque, angle and assembly time of each screw can be monitored
  • Other assembly tasks can be monitored by the controller and additional sensors
  • The workstation can be designed for the assembly of numerous different parts


    Flexible screw assembly with full quality control

    Flexible screw assembly with full quality control


Peter Smith, production engineer at a well-known manufacturer of heating control units explained his requirements:

“Our heating control units are available, according to type and size of heating system, in the most varied of designs. With the recent introduction of our new control units we are starting three separate series, our HCU25, HCU50 and HCU100. When launching our new series onto the market we are unable to estimate the expected production amounts accurately. It is also difficult to plan out how the quantities required of each individual version will develop in relation to one other. It is for exactly this reason that we require highly flexible assembly equipment. Ideally production should be able to be simply, reliably and economically adapted to each of the product versions. Additionally for our HCU assembly we have the highest requirements for processing reliability as is usual for electronic components. The sequential order of assembly must be guaranteed and each step must be documented and integrated into our manufacturing execution systems”.


Normally this requirement of a strict sequence and documentation calls for automation.  However in the costs of automation and unknown production numbers excluded automation.

Deprag were able to offer an intelligent manual assembly cell that could be used to assemble all three HCU’s even though they each used different parts, sequence of assembly, different screws and torques.

Using interchangeable adapters, assembly can be easily converted to the various sizes of HCU25, HCU50 and HCU100. Work piece adapters are equipped with integrated sensor technology and communicate with a superior controller.

Furthermore the assembly required ESD safe and technical cleanliness.  The screws were fed with sword feeders instead of vibratory feeders and the assembly and positioning of the screws was done with vacuum pick up and particle killers.

Mr Smith says –

“The collaboration with DEPRAG has been impressive. All our technical requirements were realised with already existing harmonised standard components within the shortest space of time. And what is particularly important for us, all system components come to us from one source.  When we need to increase our production capacity we can flexibly expand our assembly line”.

If you would like to know more, or to discuss your project, please contact us here.