Safety management in various fields is an interest of mine. The industrial field tends to have more accidents than most other types of job sites, so I’ve spent a lot of time learning about industrial accidents. How do they happen? Why do they happen? How do they affect employees, business owners, and clients? How do they impact the overall success of an industrial business? Some of the answers to these questions can be found in this blog. I started it to share the information that I’ve been collecting with people that are in my field of interest. If you work or own a business in the industrial field, knowing how to prevent accidents at work should be important to you. The information here can help you learn how to be more proactive in preventing them.
A pneumatic impact wrench is one of the most valuable all-purpose tools used by mechanics in an industrial setting, and it demands proper care and maintenance to ensure a long life-span. Preventing the need to replace a costly impact wrench is worth taking time to protect it from damage due to moisture and debris. Below are several principles of good maintenance you should adopt in order to keep your impact wrench working for many years to come:
Perform frequent air system purges
The place to begin with pneumatic impact wrench maintenance isn't even the tool itself; instead, first take a careful look at your compressed air system. Compressors produce moisture quickly; in fact, a system can generate tens of gallons of water per day in mild weather, and much more than that if the heat and humidity rise. All that water needs to go somewhere, and if your system isn't purged regularly, it may ultimately end up in your wrench.
That's why performing frequent purges are critical to keeping water away from your impact wrench. Purge procedures and frequencies vary depending on the compressor manufacturer, type and size, so be sure to understand your documentation regarding how to perform one. Regardless, a successful purge involves evacuating the compressor, pipes, hoses and other in-line equipment of all air and water. If you encounter copious amounts of water when purging your system, investigate adding a dedicated, inline water-removal filter if your system doesn't have one in place.
Keep your hoses and fittings clean
While you probably wouldn't throw your impact wrench into a pool of water or a dirty shop corner, you may not have thought twice about doing the same with your air hoses. However, you should always protect your air hoses and fittings from debris and moisture in the same manner that you protect your impact wrench. Dirty, wet hoses and fittings transfer contaminated material to tools, and your wrench will trap that moisture and particles inside its machined parts.
Keep your air hoses and associated fittings clean by storing them on a rack or using a hanging spool that is attached to a ceiling or wall. In addition, wipe-off your hoses and fittings with a shop towel after use, particularly if they get wet or dirty. Protect the ends of fittings with commercially-available caps, or improvise by using a short piece of PVC pipe plugged at one end.
Lubricate your wrench regularly
Impact wrenches need regular lubrication to protect them during daily use. Always lubricate your wrench before and after use, so moisture is rendered harmless and any accumulated particles are unable to cause wear on internal parts. If your impact wrench is exposed to water during the workday, immediately dry and re-lubricate it.
Be sure to use only a manufacturer-specified lubricant, and never use lubricants not designed for pneumatic tools. Only lubricate using an appropriate amount; over-lubrication can cause the wrench to malfunction or spray oil into your workspace.
Minimize the surrounding contaminants
Contaminants such as dirt, sand, water and various chemicals can work their way into your wrench if it is exposed to them during operation. While a sterile environment is obviously impossible in an industrial setting, you should still strive to maintain cleanliness where you use your impact wrench.
Before using your wrench, take a few seconds to remove excessive amounts of contaminating materials that are near the tool. If components are wet, dry them off using a compressed air blow gun. Be sure to sweep up sand or grit since these particles are especially abrasive to the internal parts of the wrench.
Properly store your impact wrench
Once the work day is done and you have lubricated your impact wrench, it's time to put it away correctly so it will be ready for another day's work. Properly storing your impact wrench means putting it into an enclosed cabinet or tool chest or hanging it from a designated place along a wall. Also, your wrench should come with a cap to cover the intake fitting, so be sure to use it to keep out moisture or debris. Never put your wrench away if it is wet or dirty, so give it a quick wipe down if needed.
In addition, choose an appropriate location for pneumatic tool storage. Avoid choosing locations where large temperature swings occur; for example, you don't want to select a spot by a window where temperature-related condensation can infiltrate the wrench. For more information, contact a company like Compressor-Pump & Service, Inc.