There’s a good chance that some piece of equipment on your company’s lot is ready to fail soon. It might even fail catastrophically! While it’s true that pneumatic equipment is far more reliable than electrical or hydraulic gear, it still needs to be maintained. If you’ve been negligent when it comes to maintenance, then you might be headed for an accident soon.
A majority of companies using pneumatic tools are probably negligent when it comes to maintenance for whatever reason. It can be hard to take time out of your busy schedule to look over each individual connector and see if everything is running correctly. Nevertheless, maintenance is needed to ensure that your pneumatic machines keep running smoothly for many years to come.
Here at SMC Pneumatics we make sure to stock plenty of replacement parts and other accessories that you need to spruce up the gear you currently have installed. The best time to check your gear is the present. Check to make sure that everything is in working order and then consult our product catalog if you need to get any replacement parts.
If you’re not sure of the best way to inspect your workshop’s machinery, then take a look at our list of tips. We asked the experts and compiled all the major hints they gave us.
Tips for Keeping Pneumatic Machinery Running Smoothly
- Perhaps the single most important tip when working with pneumatic equipment is to ensure that the system is completely powered off before you start to perform an inspection or do any kind of maintenance work on it. While you might think that whatever you have to do will take so little time that you don’t need to power things down, you always should for safety reasons. It might seem like a waste, but it can seriously prevent accidents from happening.
- Always check to make sure that your air circuit is assembled correctly. If you have a diagram, then be sure that the finished product matches the diagram. Consult your plans whenever you make changes to the circuit. When you find leaks, make sure to replace the faulty components. A little preventative maintenance today will go a long way toward making sure that you don’t have to do a large amount of work tomorrow.
- Only use valve openings that match the kind of equipment you’re working with. If you have any questionable devices attached to your circuit, then make sure to replace them with spares from your workshop’s stores.
- Check that all valves and connections are clean and haven’t come into contact with abnormal amounts of moisture. Stainless steel parts can take a great deal of abuse, but even the beefiest components have their limits.
- Take a look at your pressure gauge. You never want to run your equipment at a higher PSI than it’s rated for. This is especially important if you’re running equipment that includes a let of linear actuators or pneumatic grippers.
- Always be careful around cylinder and valve seals. You don’t want to do anything that damages them. This is especially true if you ever find yourself in a situation where you have to disassemble one. Put them back exactly as you found them if you do have to take them apart. Likewise, replace seals when they break down. While you might not like having to change out parts, it’s much better than having to perform much more involved repairs later on.
- Only run actuators in the direction that they’re designed to move in. Never run them faster than they’re rated for. This will ensure that they have a nice long life. It will also prevent anything unusual from happening. Actuators are each designed to do a specific task, and you don’t want to use them for something that they weren’t supposed to do. It’s unnecessary anyway because hardware vendors offer more than enough choices that you can find something that fits your company’s use case easily.
- Under no circumstances should you ever drill the elements of a system to make a new opening. It should go without saying that you shouldn’t puncture pneumatic air tubes, but unfortunately some people have done just that.
- Keep an eye on the dew point when using any kind of air dryer. You don’t want to get too far out of spec, or you’ll risk premature failure.
- Never run things like regulators or vacuum valves out of spec either. Safety is a priority, so you don’t want to violate the manufacturer’s suggestions. This also reduces the amount of stress the parts take, which can increase their lifespan.
- When installing new pneumatic systems, always be sure to make everything as visible as possible. Consider using vinyl tape for marking safety areas. You want to configure things in such a way that they’re protected from dirt and debris, but you don’t want to leave yourself in a situation where your gear is under so many layers that you can’t get to it when it comes time to do some work on it.
Ordering Extra Parts to Keep Your Pneumatic Machines Running Longer
Any company that does a significant amount of work with pneumatic equipment will have to have plenty of replacement parts on hand at all time. Actually, this is true of almost any industry. IT companies and auto repair shops always have tons of parts in stock. There’s no reason that your compressed air-driven workshop shouldn’t have the same treatment.
This is a great chance to inventory your supplies and figure out which ones you need more of. Small business owners might want to keep a running list so they know what they need to have at all times. Representatives of larger enterprise-level firms may want to ask some people from their production department for input.
In any case, contact us when you’re ready to learn more about all the options you have available to you to keep your existing machinery running longer than you ever thought possible. We also have all the parts that your business needs to install new lines and replace your older solutions with new efficient pneumatic ones.