Pneumatic tool maintenance
As a service technician, you spend time diagnosing and troubleshooting problems and making repairs on all kinds of equipment and infrastructure. You need tools that perform in any situation.
Pneumatic tools encounter enormous stress in difficult environments, so it’s not uncommon for problems to occur. It may be easy to assume that your air compressor or all-in-one power solution is the problem, but your issues may actually be related to maintenance or the tool’s capabilities.
Get answers to frequently asked questions about service truck and tool performance — to ensure you always have the power to get the job done.
Q: How do pneumatic tool ratings impact performance?
A: Most pneumatic tools are rated at 90 psi. Higher-quality tools better handle more pressure, but it’s still important to pay attention to psi ratings and know the effect that pressure levels have on tool performance. Increasing psi in an effort to get more power can put too much pressure into the tool, and it will eventually damage the tool by overworking the seals, bushings and mechanisms inside. Always know the tool’s psi rating, and check the pressure at the gun connection or end of the hose to avoid over-pressuring the tool.
Q: What are some common problems with pneumatic tools I should look out for?
A: Tools that lack torque or that stall under a significant load are common problems for many techs. The source of these issues is often a lack of maintenance or poor condition of supply components such as filters, regulators, lubricators, connections, hoses and fittings. Be sure to use properly sized hoses to meet flow requirements. Condensation, water buildup, dirt and rust inside the tool or air lines will also cause problems that result in poor performance and shortened tool life.
Q: How do I prevent moisture in pneumatic tools?
A: You may sometimes find moisture coming from the tool. This can happen when water is inside the air compressor tank or the air hoses or lines connected to the tool. This can be quite common since free air contains water vapor that can fill the tank. It’s important to resolve this quickly, since water buildup in the lines is harmful to impact guns, air ratchets and other pneumatic tools. Liquids do not compress, so water that reaches the tool can quickly damage seals and gaskets and shorten tool life. Draining the compressor tank daily helps prevent this.
To remove water from the tank, drain out the water by using the drain valve, which should be in the lowest part of the tank. Installing a water separator or air dryer reduces the chance of water getting in and causing problems.