Air Lines, Air tools, Servicing -

Maintaining Airlines in a Workshop

How long would you expect the service life of your car to be if you never changed the oil and air filter? What do you think the chances are of you successfully claiming warranty on a 2 year old vehicle that never had the oil changed? Do you think a taxi would run well for very long if its owner never serviced it?

It’s fair to say we all know the answers to these questions. In fact, I am fairly certain that just about anyone reading this would agree the taxi owner who runs their vehicle for 10 hours a day non stop would be a fool if they thought the car would last very long if it was not serviced. Its just plain common sense, isn’t it?

The answer is pretty simply, few people think about it. The fact is our compressors sit out the back of the shop. We put them in a location so that we can hardly hear them let along go and look at them. Some shops will drain the compressor once a week, (although I think it is safe to say most do not). But vary few will take the time to give them an overhaul. The only time they notice them is when they stop working.

Good quality compressors now days need very little maintenance. Most of them are very service light. All they need to keep is a little TLC every now and then just to keep them running well.

A poorly serviced compressor will result in a greater financial cost than you might expect. If you ignore your compressor for too long you could incur the following:

  1. A hefty service cost to rebuild the compressor or worse, the cost of replacing it
  2. Water, oil and grime running through the air lines will wreak havoc on air tools and will likely result in the replacement of equipment.
  3. Damage to jobs as a result of contamination from air lines finding their way through tools and ending up on the surface, especially when it comes to finishing work.
  4. Decrease in efficiency and down time as a result of equipment not running properly or not at all.
  5. The contaminates that are coming through the air lines will end up in the air and your workplace will have the air quality of Beijing on a hot summers day.

When an air system is being installed a lot of shops now days take the time to put in good quality compressors equipped with refrigerated drier systems to remove moisture from the lines. Many however neglect to consider other contaminants such as dust and oil which a drier on its own will not remove.

Pre filters (located before the refrigerated drier) and after filters (located after the refrigerated drier) are fairly inexpensive and are designed to remove a lot of the nasty contaminants that will cause issues with the tools and equipment connected to your air line.

Good quality filter regulators with the appropriate flow rating located at each work station are an essential element of a good performance air line. There are some very cost effective filter regulators on the market today that provide a final layer of protection. The filters on these units need to be cleaned or replaced at regular intervals which is a very inexpensive activity and currently completely over looked by almost every single shop.

If you take steps to maintain your air system, you will get an extended life out of your compressor and the tools connected to the air line. Here is a check list to help with air system maintenance.

  1. Make sure the compressor is located the most ideal situation available at your shop. That being away from dust and protected from the elements.
  2. If possible install pre and after filters along with refrigerator driers.
  3. Install good quality filter regulators at every work station. It is even more important to do this if you do not have a refrigerator drier with above mentioned filters.
  4. Drain your receiver tank daily
  5. Lubricate tools at the end of each working day
  6. Store inactive tools in a dust free environment
  7. Maintain the air intake filter on the compressor
  8. Wash or change the filters on your filter regulators regularly, without a refrigerator drier system they should be checked monthly.
  9. Maintain pre and after filters in the compressor
  10. Adhere to service intervals of compressors and refrigerator driers as set out by the compressor manufacturer

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