Case Study: Induction Heating Tool Removes Stuck Bolts & Bearings in Half the Time, without a Flame
When it comes to rebuilding tractors and repairing other agricultural equipment, the right tool is one that gets the job done – quickly. Every minute spent on repairs is time that other work isn’t getting done. And there’s always other work to do on the farm.
That’s one of the reasons Tim Bowman, owner of Ohio-based Bowman Enterprises, was happy to hang up his acetylene torch last year and switch to the flameless induction heat of the Mini-Ductor, a flexible, handheld, 110v tool that allows the precise application of heat to release seized or corroded hardware.
Counteracting Fertilizer Corrosion
With 45 years of experience repairing heavy equipment for the agricultural and trucking industries, among others, Bowman is not a guy easily impressed by toolmakers’ claims of “new and improved” anything. But the speed at which the Mini-Ductor heated up a stuck bolt during a demonstration seven months ago left him sold.
“If you’re working underneath a car, truck or a gas vehicle around fuel lines, you really don’t want to be banging a torch around there. The Mini-Ductor is a lot better and a heck of a lot safer.” – Tim Bowman, owner Bowman Enterprises
“I was pretty impressed,” he said. “It was a lot faster, for the simple fact that it heats everything up at one time. With a torch, you kind of have to go around and around and around and try to warm different areas up a little at a time.”
Stuck bolts and bearings are common in agricultural repairs, with parts coming into contact with fertilizer on a regular basis, among other things that can lead to rust and corrosion. “Fertilizer usually corrodes the bearings pretty good,” Bowman said. “With the Mini-Ductor, you just put it against the bearings and bam! It has more pinpoint accuracy,” he said. “It probably cuts everything down by half the time.”
Safety where Torch Use Will “Put a Knot in Your Stomach”
The accuracy of the heat application saves more than time. It also reduces the risk of “catching things on fire and melting everything around it” – a risk that is always there when using an acetylene torch, Bowman said.
The Mini-Ductor uses high-frequency magnetic fields to heat ferrous metal in seconds – without a flame.
That’s more than a convenience when it comes to jobs where he is working around fuel lines. Metal fuel tank straps frequently become corroded, especially those that come into frequent contact with road salt, Bowman said. “They’re always stuck. When you are working around that, you really don’t want sparks or flames.”
Using an acetylene torch for the job “will really put a knot in your stomach,” Bowman said.
“If you’re working underneath a car, truck or a gas vehicle around fuel lines, you really don’t want to be banging a torch around there,” he said. “This is a lot better and a heck of a lot safer.”
Flexibility & Convenience of the Mini-Ductor
Bowman says he also likes the flexibility of the coils on the Mini-Ductor as they are easily bendable and allow him to fit the tool into tight spots and around corners. “You can pretty much bend them however you want them,” he said. “If I need to make a 90 in the coil, I can make a 90.”
As a side benefit, Bowman does not miss having to haul oxygen and acetylene tanks back and forth for filling. “Tanks aren’t light – or really that safe,” he noted.
The Mini-Ductor enables the precise and fast application of heat to quickly release seized, frozen or corroded hardware. It’s not an everyday job, Bowman said, but “when you do need it, it’s the right tool.”
In the six or seven months since he’s been using it, Bowman said the tool has outperformed his expectations. At about 6 inches, a stuck bolt on a backhoe cylinder was much larger than Bowman’s team thought the Mini-Ductor could manage, but the tool did the job. “It has really exceeded my expectations on what it will do,” he said.