If your air tools struggle to live out their warranty, or require more maintenance than the manufacturer’s guidelines state, there is a good chance you are using too much pressure. This is extremely common. Consider this though; when you buy an air tool from a manufacturer or dealer, they give you a price, and you either agree to the pay price or negotiate for a discount. You never ask them to take more money from you. However, if you don’t take proper care of your tools by, for example, giving them too much pressure, you might as well do exactly that. You will be back to see them for another pavement breaker far too soon.
The assumption is that you get more power out of a tool if you apply more pressure. While this is true some of the time, it does not apply all of the time, and, in almost all cases, leads to tool breakage. So, VMAC has put together a list of reasons you shouldn’t do this.
- Air Leaks: The higher the pressure, the higher the volume of air that can leak. This is a problem because higher volume means more energy, which means you are spending a lot of extra horsepower in wasted energy. Higher horse power equals higher fuel consumption. Good bye to low emissions targets.
- Blown seals: The more pressure you use, the bigger 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 because they = VERY expensive repair bills and a loss of revenue in out-of-commission tools.
- Bearing failure: Using too much pressure is possibly the most direct cause of bearing failure. You know bearing failure is an expensive repair and you probably also know that if the bearings go, you already have many more damaged parts to repair.
- Anvil breakage: There couldn’t be better example of “cutting off your nose to spite your face” than this, and it’s so common. Guys apply more pressure to their impact wrench to get more torque, which works. Everyone is happy, the job gets done faster. But then the anvil sees higher stresses and can crack or break and the tool is down for repairs, wasting any time you saved with extra torque and significant costs for repairs.
- Over-speeded tools: Another expensive fix when it breaks. BUT you won’t be thinking too much about the expense when you or one of your employees has suffered a grave or fatal injury when a tool equipped with a grinding wheel explodes because it is operating at speeds much higher than the manufacturer’s safety ratings.
- Vane motor breakdowns: As little as 20 psi of excessive pressure in a vane motor system can half the life of an air tool. Most tools are rated at 90 or 100 psi, so using 120 psi regularly ensures you will be replacing expensive air tools in the half time you should have to.
It’s unlikely that ALL of these terrible things will happen to you and your equipment. However, it’s probable that some of them will, and ensuring they do not is easy to do. Simply do not over pressurize your air tools, follow what the manufacturer suggests, and in the long run, you will have to spend less money buying their gear.
If you have any questions about this article or anything mobile compressor related, please contact us.