Air Pressure And Five Reasons To Use The Right PSI For Air Tools
There is a good chance you are using too much air pressure if your air tools struggle to live out their warranty or require more maintenance than your manufacturer’s guidelines state. It’s standard operating procedure for many service operators to over-pressurise their air tools, so it’s extremely common. Their assumption is that you get more power out of the tool if you apply more pressure. While this is true some of the time, it doesn’t apply all the time and in almost all cases leads to tool breakage or worse… You should always use the proper pressure for your air tools:
5. Reduce Expensive Tool Repairs
Your air tools will break sooner than they should because you wear them out when you use too much pressure. The most common pneumatic tool repairs caused by excessive air pressure are:
- Blown seals: The more pressure you use, the greater the opportunity for blown seals. You might as well use your shop-vac to suck the extra cash out of your pockets if you don’t protect yourself from blown seals. They result in very expensive repair bills.
- Anvil breakage: Applying more pressure to your impact wrench gets more torque, and the job gets done faster. However, the anvil gets higher stresses and can crack or break faster and the tool is down for repairs. This wastes any time you saved with extra torque and results in significant costs for repairs. There could not be a better example of “cutting off your nose to spite your face” than anvil breakage and it is very common.
- Bearing failure: Using too much pressure is also one of the most direct causes of bearing failure. Bearing failure is an expensive repair, which you know if you’ve worked with air tools for a while. You probably also know that if the bearings go, you already have many more damaged parts to repair which is not a good situation.
- Vane motor breakdowns: Halving the life of an air tool is very easy to do. All it takes is as little as 20 psi of excessive pressure. Using 120 psi regularly ensures you will be replacing expensive air tools in half the time you should have to, most tools are rated for 90 or 100 psi.
4. Keeping Your Tool Efficiency
Tools are not broken in an instant. They wear down over time and break when they reach a point of failure. Even if it’s still working, the more a tool is worn down, the less efficient seals and other components become. This results in leaked air, which essentially means the tool needs more air to run than it normally would. By using the right pressure for your tools, you reduce wear and improve tool efficiency. Stop using too much pressure if you care about getting the best performance out of your tools.
3. Stop Overpaying For New Tools
When a tool can’t be repaired or if it breaks and fails it will need to be replaced. This can quickly become very expensive and is just not sustainable. If you don’t take proper care of your air tools, you are just asking tool manufacturers and dealers to take your money. Treat your tools with respect and save your money for better purchases.
2. Prevent Dangerous Accidents
You won’t be thinking about expenses when you or one of your employees suffer a devastating or fatal injury. It’s easy to ignore safety regulations when you never think a serious injury would happen to you or your team, but pressure safety warnings exist for a reason. We’ve all heard stories of tool technicians that have died when an over-pressured grinder explodes due to operating at speeds much higher than the manufacturer’s safety ratings. Don’t be the team that prove these urban legends are true. However, even if the stories are false, the pneumatic tool manufacturers are concerned enough to include pressure rating warnings on their manuals. From a grinder manual, for example: "Over pressurising the tool may cause bursting, abnormal operation, breakage of the tool or serious injury to persons. Be sure to use only clean, dry, regulated compressed air at the rated pressure or within the rated pressure range as marked on the tool. Just before using the tool, always verify that the air source has been adjusted to the rated air pressure or within the rated air pressure range." Keeping everyone safe by protecting your team and business.
Prevent serious consequences by following the pressure guidelines.
1. Lower Your Fuel Consumption
Last but possibly not least, using the correct pressure will lower your fuel consumption. The higher the pressure, the higher the volume of air that is being consumed. Higher air volumes require more energy, which means you are spending a lot of extra horsepower on wasted air…this is a problem. Another knock-on effect is that higher horsepower equals higher fuel consumption, which increases operating costs and throws low emission targets in the trash.