How air preparation can keep your shop running smoothly
When you talk about pneumatics, it all starts with air. All too often shop air is dirty, under-lubricated and provides inconsistent pressure. Without a clean, consistent supply of air, pneumatic components are prone to unnecessary wear and tear, and eventually failure. And as any engineer knows, when even a single assembly station goes down, the entire manufacturing plant can be disrupted. Manufacturers are constantly looking for ways to improve the reliability of their assembly lines, and one important aspect of this is air preparation.
Moisture and Debris
While many shops may implement some degree of filtering throughout the plant, the micron rating may not be high enough for certain more sensitive components. Also, moisture can build up in your lines, leading to cylinder corrosion over time.
While a certain PSI may be required to provide the rated torque value on a specific instrument, available shop air pressure can vary greatly, especially during periods of peak demand.
The last thing you want in your plant is metal on metal contact. In the absence of lubrication, this friction can dramatically reduce the life of your cylinders.
A complete air preparation system represents a multi-step process and generally requires three components — filter, regulator, and lubricator, or FRL. Filters remove debris and moisture and are available in a variety of different micron ratings. Regulators enable operators to accurately adjust the available pressure for consistent flow. Lubricators add a very fine mist of oil to the air to extend the life of your cylinders. Today, many manufacturing companies have realized the benefits of integrating localized air preparation systems throughout their shops. By placing these systems right at selected workstations, manufacturers can ensure proper pneumatic supply and minimum pressure loss related to plumbing.