Pneumatic tools are built for the most intensive usage and are vital players in industrial environments, but their maintenance needs can be easily overlooked. However, the appropriate care of pneumatic tools is key to ensure productivity, meet clients’ demands and operators’ safety.
Industrial maintenance managers are constantly under pressure to maximize production time. Pneumatic tools help to achieve this goal when they are available and performing at their optimum level to deliver high-quality work.
Pneumatic tools are mechanical systems comprising air motors, wear parts (such as vanes, bearings and seals), and other elements. Just like other mechanical systems, maintenance is essential: not only to guarantee the best performance of the tools but also to preserve their specifications, for instance power and speed. With the right maintenance, pneumatic tools offer constant productivity and maximize uptime, avoiding unexpected work interruptions, while at the same time helping to ensure operators’ safety.
What does maintaining a pneumatic tool entail?
Maintenance involves keeping the tool in good operating condition. There are two types of maintenance:
Preventive maintenance involves all the simple, regular and foreseeable actions that can be taken to reduce the risks of tool failure. These range from regular lubrication to replacing those parts we can predict will wear out before they cause downtime.
Corrective maintenance is undertaken reactively and includes any action to repair the tool after an unforeseen failure. This breakdown can be due to a broken part or to lack of correct preventive maintenance.
Preventive maintenance essentials for pneumatic tools
Ensure the quality and pressure of the air supply. It is important that the air is clean and lubricated, so using a Filter Regulator Lubricator (FRL) will optimize tool performance and lifespan. Precise air specifications will be given in the tool’s operator manual. To learn more, download our free technical guide Is your air tool installation, right?
Set up and lubricate the tool as instructed. Follow manufacturers’ specifications regarding set up, lubrication and wear parts for each of your tools. Manufacturers’ maintenance kits are designed to make the process even easier. The frequency at which wear parts need changing will be determined by the tool specifications and the application.
Optimize downtime as well as uptime. When a pneumatic tool is taken out of the production line to carry out planned maintenance, use the time to do a visual check and evaluate the wear of other parts too. If disassembly and reassembly are required, make sure these are performed according the manufacturer’s recommendations as well as using original spare parts.
Store tools well. When they are not being used they should be kept in a storage away from damp environments or extreme temperatures, following the recommendations found in tools’ user manual.
Planning your pneumatic tools’ maintenance is the key to success! Remember this maintenance can be done in-house if you have the expertise, but if you need help you can count on your distributors or external authorized repair centers (where existing).
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