In a short period Vala Moya has built a reputation for machining complex components and products for the torque and tension technology industry, with batch sizes ranging from one-off to a couple of hundred. With the equipment that the company has invested in, larger batch sizes are possible but these orders are not common.
However, core to its business is the range of components manufactured for the company itself, a specialist in delivering solutions for torque management and control problems, including a range of torque wrenches.
Back in 2003 when Michael Hall ventured out on his own he did not imagine and had little idea that his ‘Shut the air’ (the loose meaning for Vala Moya) company would be developing and manufacturing components for a range of products that he had previously been selling into industry for a number of years. But a change of direction three years ago saw Vala Moya transform into a manufacturing entity, and the rest as they say is history.
The move to begin manufacturing components and final product for the torque and tension technology industry came from Michael’s sheer frustration at not being able to source a reliable local supplier and the increasing cost of importing product. His enthusiasm for the industry was waning and he needed to address the situation because most of his working career had been associated with it, but mainly on the sales and management side.
Vala Moya is a specialist company involved in delivering solutions for torque management and control problems, including a range of torque wrenches
Vala Moya will machine most of its components for its various products
The first two machines that Vala Moya purchased from Victor Fortune South Africa were a Victor VTurn 26 and a Victor VCenter 102
“We were importing most of our product, mainly from the USA. Then came the Chinese invasion and we were up against it in terms of pricing. The quality was nowhere near what we were supplying, but being a price conscious industry it was easy to go for the cheaper option,” exasperated owner Michael Hall explained.
Give a little, get a lot
“A torque wrench is a tool designed to exert torque on a fastener to achieve proper tightening or loosening of a connection through the use of hydraulics, or pneumatically, or electrically. They come in many sizes and shapes with various torque capabilities and can be used in industrial situations or around the home.”
“The concept of a hydraulic powered torque wrench was first introduced on the market sometime in the early 1960s in a primitive form. Several key advances have been developed by manufacturers since that time which provided major advancements in the technology and usability of the tools far beyond the original concept tool. Today’s tools offer benefits such as lighter weights, smaller nose radius dimensions for fitting into tight spaces, use of exotic alloys, actuation triggers on the tool itself, multi-position reaction members, 360° × 360° hose swivels, and the ability to run multiple tools simultaneously from a single power pack.”
“The main characteristics of a hydraulic torque wrench which set it apart from other powered wrenches of similar function are that (1) it must generate torque using only hydraulic means (2) it must be self ratcheting, and (3) it must include an accurate method of determining the amount of torque applied. Some manufacturers utilize a holding pawl design to keep the wrench locked in position prior to each power stroke; others use varying designs, which as in all industries have debatable faults or claimed advantages. Hydraulic torque wrenches typically offer accuracy of ±3% and have a high degree of repeatability making them well suited to applications where large bolts are involved, and a high degree of accuracy is required. A hydraulic torque wrench is significantly quieter, lighter in weight and more accurate than pneumatic impact wrenches.”
A machined component for a torque wrench
Last year Vala Moya purchased a further two machines from Victor Fortune South Africa
Components ready for assembly
“An electric torque wrench is a planetary torque multiplier or a “Gearbox” mated to an electric motor. At the end of the “gearbox” is a reaction device that is used to absorb the torque. This allows the operator of the tool to use the electric torque wrench with very little effort. Electric torque wrenches were invented in the 1980s.”
“A pneumatic torque wrench is similar to the electric torque wrench. However, it is mated to a pneumatic air motor. At the end of the gearbox is a reaction device that is used to absorb the torque which allows the tool operator to use it with very little effort. The torque output is adjusted by controlling the air pressure. Pneumatic torque wrenches were also invented in the 1980s.”
“Torque wrenches have always been popular as a tool, but as the world has progressed and become more safety conscious the demand has grown. There are now many more custom applications, and this is one area where we have specialised.”
“Operators of torque wrenches are the worst when it comes to damaging them. As long you remember to give a little you will get a lot when using one.”
“Our journey into manufacturing began three years ago when I decided I had had enough of being beaten up on price. I had numerous years of experience in the product so the transition into the manufacturing side, although daunting, was relatively seamless.”
“We first set up shop in Primrose Hill, Gauteng and purchased a Victor VTurn 26 and a Victor VCenter 102. I must compliment Gordon Boddy of Victor Fortune South Africa with the help and advice he gave us in setting up these machines that would allow us to get going. Rather than just wanting to sell us a couple of machines he came with a solution and then helped us to implement the local manufacturing programme.”
“At the time we had no idea of the enormous task we had taken on but fortunately we had Gordon and he has continued to support us on the manufacturing side. This is why we have purchased a further two VCenters from him – a VCenter 85 and a VCenter 102 – both with 4th axis milling capabilities. And no, he is not a director or a friend.”
The work that is put across a shop’s machine tools makes each shop unique. Processing that work, particularly how it is fixtured and to some extent tooled, is what transforms a general-purpose machine shop or, for that matter, a stand-alone machine, into a shop-specific outfit.
Vala Moya is no different. Firstly it specialized in the manufacture of torque wrenches, and secondly Hall decided to concentrate, but not limit himself, on custom applications and not run of the mill product.
Most components are machined from block. Vala Moya uses high quality materials including aircraft alloys for the housings, as an example. Otherwise Vala Moya uses K600 tool steel or similar. All components that require heat treatment are vacuum heat treated at Bohler Uddeholm South Africa
Owner Michael Hall with his wife Megan who looks after the administration and finance side of the business
“I have always serviced the mining and petrochemical industries and it made sense that I should continue to do so. These industries don’t use product that you can buy off the shelf at a local engineering distributor. The torque wrenches are more specialized, and in most instances need tool packages and accessories.”
“We are also able to visit a client, assess his situation and then come up with a solution for him.”
“All our components are made inhouse except for the electrical, hose and plastic component requirements. Every product is assembled by our company, while at the same time going through stringent quality checks.”
“From the beginning we have used high quality materials for our components. These include aircraft alloys for the housings as an example. Otherwise we use K600 tool steel or similar. All components that require heat treatment are vacuum heat treated at Bohler Uddeholm South Africa.”
“Material is generally received in a blocked format and we machine from scratch. We are prepared to spend money on our materials because we often supply product where it is used in a safety critical environment. Besides, quality will always be associated with our company.”
“On the tooling side we buy from Iscar, Sandvik and Multitrade and we employ EdgeCam, MasterCam and SolidWorks for our machining and designing programmes.”
Besides torque wrenches Vala Moya also manufactures a range bolting solutions, tensioning and mechanical tensioning nuts, turbine bolting applications, thermal products, crank tools, motor winding drying systems, turbine warming systems, induction brazing systems and pneumatic safety valves.
“More importantly we offer on-site installation, repairs and heat treatment.”
For more information contact Vala Moya on TEL: 011 873 4458 or visit www.valamoya.com