Almost every industry relies heavily upon pneumatic tools for its assembly work. It is therefore important to be aware of proper pneumatic tools maintenance and safe practice techniques that will help the manufacturer get the best from the pneumatic tool.
Incorrect maintenance or not following safe practices will shorten the life of the pneumatic tool and it will not give you the rated performance. In most facilities, the tools are used continually, one shift after another. Missing spotting any defect or failure caused by overuse can increase downtime and lead to production losses, which is why maintenance is important.
The easiest way to prevent such incidents is to follow regular tool maintenance procedure. Below we’ve gathered some best practices and helpful tips to help you establish a safer and more productive work environment with your pneumatic tools.
Pneumatic tools maintenance tips
Follow installation and maintenance guidelines
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when setting up the pneumatic tool. Keep the operator manual handy and refer to it for routine maintenance guidelines. Use the right lubrication and replace parts only with those as suggested in the instructions. Check if the tool came with a maintenance tool kit; it will make your task easier.
Maintain the air supply and pressure
It is critical that the pneumatic tool receives continuous air supply and at the right pressure. The air that the compressor pulls in from the outside and sends it to the tool might be dirty and might contain moisture. It needs to be cleaned before it can be sent inside the pneumatic system. Use a Filter Regulator Lubricator to clean the air, to lubricate the air and to adjust the air pressure at the inlet of the pneumatic tool.
It is important to maintain the pressure and quantity of compressed air going inside the pneumatic tool at the recommended level. Refer to the operator manual in case you’re not sure. The recommended air pressure for most air tools is usually between 90 and 100 psi. If the tool is operated at a pressure higher than recommended, it can cause wear and tear of the internal components, and could also cause accidents, injuring the operator.
Protect from moisture
One of the quickest ways to damage your pneumatic tool is via moisture. Air gets really hot when it’s compressed, which allows it to hold more water vapor than it otherwise would. When this compressed air enters the pneumatic systems, it expands and cools. As the compressed air cools down, it can no longer hold the same amount of water vapor. So, the extra water gets forced out of the air as moisture which can damage the pneumatic tool. This can dry out the lubrication, causing corrosion and friction, thus leading to faster wear and tear. Use a dryer to ensure the air entering the pneumatic tool is completely free of moisture.
Stop oil contamination
Sometimes the air that comes out of the compressor can get contaminated with lubricating oil. When this air enters the pneumatic system, it can damage your tool and prevent optimum operation. Using a filter is the best way to remove most contaminating oil, and ensuring the air is suitable for your pneumatic tool.
Give the tool some downtime
Stop using the tool periodically to inspect it for routine maintenance. Do a thorough check-up to use this time wisely. Do not leave out any part, and check for wear and tear of all external as well as internal components that are not visible to the eye. Spend more time during this routine overhauling so that you can spot faults quickly and not lose time later because of larger problems.
During the inspection pay attention to the feed system, check the lines and compressor for moisture, and lubricate the pneumatic tool before sending it back on the floor.
Follow the user’s manual carefully before dismantling and reassembling the pneumatic tool. This is not the time nor the place for guesswork, and following instructions for the correct tool maintenance procedure will only speed up the downtime and get the tool back in work quickly.
Store pneumatic tools properly
Moisture and other contaminants can affect the performance and life of your pneumatic tool even when not in use. How you store your pneumatic tools affects their longevity to a great extent. The pneumatic tool must always be stored in a clean and moisture-free environment. The storage environment should maintain a constant temperature. Each tool’s user manual will come equipped with storage instructions that will avoid damage and prolong the tool’s life.
If you follow these basic pneumatic tools maintenance tips, your tool will give you its optimum performance for a long time.
Having said that, even with regular maintenance, it is not safe to assume that the tool is good for use. Instruct your operators to perform an inspection of the tool and air compressor at the beginning of the shift to ensure everything is working fine. If there is even the slightest doubt about any tool, it should be tagged and immediately removed from use until it has been thoroughly inspected by a qualified person.
At IEC Air Tools, we are just a call away for any onsite tool repair, maintenance or inspection. Our trained technicians can visit your site and service your pneumatic tools quickly and efficiently so that you can continue your operations safely and with minimum downtime.