What Is a Pneumatic Tool?
Pneumatic tools – otherwise known as air tools – are the tools in your toolbox that are fueled by compressed, pressured air. This air is usually provided by a special air compressor. Many of these pneumatic tools may be powered by carbon dioxide (CO2) sourced from tiny cylinders, which allow for much more portable and compact use.
Many of the most common kinds of these tools are manual ones that are powered by air, and they are most often utilized in the industrial context. Examples of pneumatic tools include chipping hammers, jack hammers, wrenches, sanders, stapling guns, nailing guns, riveting guns, buffers, grinders, and drills.
Generally speaking, these air tools are much safer to maintain and operate than their more traditional electric power tool counterparts; as a matter of fact, they even retain a significantly greater power-to-weight ratio that enables lighter, more compact tools to complete the same jobs.
Although pneumatic tools started out as less than popular in the Do It Yourself (DIY) hardware market, they have enjoyed recent increases in popularity due to the gradual public realization of their lower prices and higher levels of power and efficiency.
The Different Types of Pneumatic Tools
There exist two types of pneumatic tools: general grade and industry grade. General grade tools usually harbor a shorter life span, thereby making them much cheaper and prime for use in fast-paced industrial settings. For this reason, they are often referred to as disposal tools in work fields. Industry grade air tools, on the other hand, offer a much longer lifespan and are generally much costlier.
Nevertheless, both options are generally more affordable than the average traditional electric tool.
The rising popularity of pneumatic tools means it is becoming increasingly important to know how to handle them safely – particularly when it is becoming more and more likely that the next tools you purchase will be pneumatic. The following are just a few of the biggest safety tips to keep in mind when you are utilizing your next air tools.
How to Use Pneumatic (or Air) Tools in the Safest Manner
- Check to make sure that the tool is properly and securely fastened. One of the biggest dangers associated with the utilization of air tools is one of the most simple – that is, the danger of getting hit by the tool when you are not looking. This can prove seriously injurious or even fatal.
Before you turn on your tool, double check to ensure the tool is correctly attached to its air hose so that it does not become disconnected in the middle of your use of it. Generally, you will have a small locking device or even a short wire whose sole purpose is to attach the tool in question to the air hose, which can serve as an additional security measure.
On a similar note, you should generally implement a retainer or industrial safety clip in order to keep smaller parts from flying off, such as the chisels attached to a chipping hammer.
- Know how to use your air tools properly. One of the most important aspects of using air tools is knowing how to use them well. Improperly positioning your hands or body when gripping the machines can result in injury and harm.
You should always make sure to hold your tools with enough force to retain constant control of the device, and keep your arms and wrists positioned as straight as you can. Try not to engage in too much repetitive motion, as this can result in long-term pain and damage to your tissues and muscles.
- Make sure to wear the proper safety gear, and set others up for safety as well. Wear safety goggles, safety glasses, or a face shield. This should go without saying; you should always wear the maximum amount of safety gear that you possibly can without sacrificing the ease with which you can perform the task at hand.
Wear the proper safety shoots, or even boots, and definitely wear hearing protection if you will be utilizing a particularly loud tool – those high levels of decibels can damage your hearing in the long run.
Furthermore, make sure that you protect innocent bystanders and passersby from harm. You can do this by putting up cautionary signs in the area where you will be working; warning friends and family members ahead of time to avoid your workspace; and even setting up shields and screens surrounding the aforementioned workspace to prevent the hazardous spinning out of dust, fragments, wood chips, and even extremely loud noise.
- Keep your tools clean for best results. Make sure you keep the pressured air supplier clean so that the air it utilizes is similarly clean and dry. Excessive amounts of moisture, dirt, and dust buildup, and the presence of fumes – which can be highly corrosive – can permanently damage your pneumatic tools.
Installing a lubricator or even a small inline regulator filter can substantially increase the quality and quantity of your air tool’s lifespan. In addition, you should make sure to keep the exterior of the tools themselves squeaky clean and constantly lubricated. There is no “one size fits all” rule here; clean them as best as you can according to the manufacturer’s specifications and instructions.
- Take care of your body while utilizing your pneumatic tools. Sound like a self-care mantra? While your air tool is in use, be extra careful with your limbs and extremities; keep your feet, body, and hands out of harm’s way, and always be aware of where your body parts are just in case you lose control of the tool, the tool breaks, or it slips out of your hands.
Physical fatigue can be just as dangerous as simply not paying attention; even if you are doing an excellent job keeping track of your body’s presence in the workspace and being safe, your body can give out if you exert it too much – which can lead to disastrous consequences.
The bottom line is to always be as vigilant as you can and to know your body well enough to recognize when you should stop and take breaks.
Now that you are aware of the most important safety tips for properly utilizing your pneumatic tools, you are well on your way to fulfilling your potential with these machines.