Pneumatic tools such as impact wrenches, air drills and the air compressors that support the tools are powerful machines, but they can be damaged if the area isn't maintained properly or if the operators aren't careful. Even though pneumatic tools are used for heavy-duty jobs requiring lots of air power, the difficult duty doesn't always match up with the often dirty jobs. Take a look at a few proper handling and maintenance tips for managing sensitive air tools in a rough workshop.
Debris In The Airworks
Pneumatic tools often operate with a precision shutoff valve handled by a hand trigger or by a pressure-sensitive valve that opens once the tool is pressed against the proper surface. When debris such as sand, metal shavings or fine plastics get into the pressurized air system, the device may not be able to close properly.
Stuck debris may not immediately stop the tool from working. Instead, a low hiss of air may go unnoticed in loud work centers, leading to extended periods of air loss. The air compressor needs to do a lot of work to keep a steady supply of compressed air in the tanks, so unless you have an industrial compressor that can hold more air than your technicians or mechanics can use all day, your team may prematurely run out of air in the middle of work.
The key is to keep the air compressor and all tools elevated. Don't place the air compressor system too close to the ground or with the filter facing corners, as it'll be too easy for passing workers to kick a bit of dirt or grit towards the air compressor's filter. Although filters should block out all debris, holes in the filter may allow some debris to sneak in. Create your own secondary defense with this safe space.
Consider giving the workspace a few shelves on wheels. End tables with a few caster wheels drilled on the bottom can work well, but a cheap piece of furniture with a few shelves can be great to give workers a space to place their tools at waist length when in a rush instead of just dropping tools to the floor--and without getting debris into the tool directly.
The Perils Of A Bent Hose
Pneumatic and the similarly-operating hydraulic tools operate with reinforced hoses, used to transfer either gases or liquids to the tools. When these hoses are bent, the airflow won't be as powerful or consistent, leading to weak or misfiring tool operation.
Another problem from bending is that it can lead to creases, cracks and holes in the hose material. Even threaded, sturdy hoses can fall to cracking and splitting when stored incorrectly--but one of the most convenient ways of wrapping cables for storage is the exact danger that you'll be dealing with.
Instead of tightly wrapping hoses for an easy, neat fit, pneumatic and hydraulic hoses should be loosely rolled and stowed. Invest in a few rounded hooks at average chest height for your workers so that they can loosely loop the hoses into an untangled, neat coil.
If you need a few replacement hoses in case a few workers can't get their technique down, or if you'd like a few accessories to go with your maintenance and handling setup, contact a hardware store representative, such as one from A & B Malibu Plumbing.