What is Sideloading? Why is it Important in Torque Application?

Torque application is applying a rotational force on a threaded fastener. Physics demands that the torque be applied at 90-degrees to the fastener. Any deviation from the 90-degree plane and called side-loading. Side-loading causes a change in the torque output. 

Now you are adding variables to your torque application process. The problem is that you are using a torque wrench to eliminate variables, but instead, by side-loading, you are adding variables. Adding variables only diminishes the quality of the product you are assembling. 

We have always built our torque wrenches with a flattened case. We modeled these wrenches after the beam wrench. We started producing flattened beam wrenches more than 90 years ago. The flattened case design supports our clicked pawl mechanism. That linked pawl is guided by high-quality steel ball bearings. This design ensures smooth operation and remarkable repeatability. Guiding the linked pawl system in a flattened case is part of what produces legendary durability. 

Contrast the flattened case with a tube case. What is the difference? The tube case doesn't support their torque mechanism. That starts to introduce variables into the equation. Add the fact that tube wrenches can easily be sideloaded because the tube is so much easier to flex or bend than a flattened beam. As the tube bends, it can interfere with the torque mechanism. That means it can make the wrench provide too much or too little torque. It depends on the amount of interference. Sideloading wrecks havoc on repeatability. 

You are using a torque wrench because you want to eliminate variables. Using a tube torque wrench adds variables, and you get less accurate torque. 

That is why side-loading is highly problematic. Each time you side-load a fastener you run the risk of non-compliant fasteners. They can be too tight, or too loose. Either way, you have assembly standards that are not being met. 

Have questions? Need help choosing the right torque tool for the job? Contact your local Sturtevant Richmont sales professional. 

Contact Your Local Sturtevant Richmont sales professional


Sturtevant Richmont tools are made in Carol Stream Illinois


Sturtevant Richmont torque wrenches and torque testers are made in Carol Stream, Illinois by highly capable hands.