The era of pneumatic tools (tools powered by compressed air energy) began in the second half of the 19th century. The appearance of a fundamentally new, at that time, and reliable type of tool is associated with the almost complete absence of alternatives in the field of industrial equipment, in particular in the mining industry, in view of the new requirements imposed by the rapidly advancing era of scientific and technological progress.
An electric tool at that time practically did not exist as a class, and the most common source of energy - steam engines had a number of drawbacks that made their use in the conditions of mine work either extremely difficult or even impossible.
History of the emergence and use of pneumatic tools
By the way, the initial samples of this miraculous tool did not immediately gain respect and respect among the Kyle and sledgehammer workers, since the first piston perforators were really not lifting - 70-80 kg and were mounted on beds, which in mega-limited space in the drift was not ice. But the age of scientific and technical progress was approaching by leaps and bounds and in the ultimate form put forth its demands. For the first time before the fact that it was impossible to use the classical methods of construction, the engineers who participated in the construction of the Saint-Gotthard Tunnel in the Swiss Alps in 1872 encountered. The entire length of this tunnel was 14,998 m, which was the record length of underground tunneling at that time. During construction, the miners had to solve complex problems associated with a strong influx of groundwater and huge rock pressure on the arches of the tunnel. Initially, the tunnel began to be built using classical construction methods using steam engines, but when a number of difficulties arose in the process of moving through the rock and one of the steam engines exploded, damaging the equipment and killing six workers, the construction deadlines began to “burn” (initially set aside 8 years). The company management decided to use innovative methods of sinking, in which pneumatic drilling machines of the Dubois, McKin-Seguin, and Ferro systems began to be used, operating on compressed air with a working pressure of 7 atmospheres. The source of energy was the pressure of water from nearby local rivers. The penetration rate per day (with round-the-clock operation) from both directions was 6.31 m, which at that time was a record speed.
19th Century Pneumatic Tools
Since then, pneumatic tools have been constantly improved. It became easier and more convenient, reliability also constantly increased. For example, engineer Georg Leiner in 1897 created a hammer drill, which began to compete successfully with a piston drill. The weight of Leiner's jackhammer was a little over 20 kg. This pneumatic drill soon began to be successfully used in the mines of the United States and Europe, as well as in the gold mines of Mexico and Africa. In its design, the Leiner puncher differed very little from modern jackhammers.
The pneumatic tool of those times, in connection with its weight and dimensions, could be classified as a hand tool only conditionally, but thanks to the development of technology, the pneumatic tool continued to improve. And although the principle of operation of modern pneumatic equipment is the same as a hundred years ago (work based on the energy of compressed air), modern pneumatic tools are not very similar to their predecessors.
Types of pneumatic tools according to the principle of action
According to the principle of action, a modern pneumatic tool can be divided into several main classes: it is an impact tool, a rotor-plate tool and a spraying tool. Among these classes, there are the following types of the most common equipment:
- percussion and hammer tools
- pneumatic wrenches
- drills and screwdrivers
- grinding, cutting, polishing machines
- staplers and nailing tools
- painting equipment
- various saws and trimmers
- milling cutters
- vacuum cleaners
- sandblasting tool
- vibration tool
And other less common models.
Impact pneumatic tools include jack hammers, concrete breakers, riveting hammers, punches, rammers, chisels, nailing guns, staplers and other tools.
The rotary-lamellar group tool includes pneumatic drills, grinders, screwdrivers, detachable machines, air pumps and other tools whose operating principle is based on the rotational action of the working part.
The spray type includes spray guns, various lubricating guns, sandblasting equipment.
Air tool design
The pneumatic tool is significantly superior to an electric tool in terms of reliability and performance. Pneumatics housings are made of a closed type since there is no need to cool the mechanism with running air like an electric tool and, accordingly, dirt can enter the mechanism only through the air pipe. Soft materials (for example, such as plastic) are practically not used in pneumatic tools, and the amount used is an order of magnitude smaller than in their electrical counterparts.
The advantages of domestic and professional pneumatic tools
Pneumatics, unlike a power tool, can work continuously for a long time since there are no concepts for it — overheating, overload. All this makes the life of pneumatics an order of magnitude higher than that of electrical counterparts.
In addition, it is important to note that in terms of safety, pneumatics are also at their best.
The lack of electrical power makes the tool safe to operate in conditions of high humidity, and the absence of sparking negates the risk of fire in conditions of increased fire hazard. In addition, it is worth noting the increased comfort of working with a pneumatic tool associated with reduced noise and vibration compared to an electrician.
Well, do not forget about the price of electricity, in terms of kilowatt, the efficiency of pneumatic tools is several times higher.
With all of the above advantages of a pneumatic tool, there is one negative point a little lubricating the overall pleasant picture. This is of course the financial side of the issue. At the initial stage, the cost of equipping the workplace can be very significant. Indeed, in addition to the instrument itself, it is necessary to purchase a compressor with a receiver, in addition, there are specific operating rules for pneumatics.
In addition to the compressor, in order to ensure the long-term operation of the instrument, it is necessary to purchase the so-called air preparation station, it includes: an air purification filter, a water separator, a lubricator, as well as air supply hoses, a fitting, a pressure gauge.
An air purification filter is used to prevent dust and abrasive particles from entering the tool mechanism, a water separator removes moisture from the air, and a lubricator sprays oil in compressed air to lubricate the air motor.
In addition, when choosing a pneumatic tool, the intensity of its operation should be taken into account, because a household tool will not provide the necessary performance in an industrial environment.
The right choice of pneumatic tools and their configuration will provide you with a productive and enjoyable job for many years.