If your business relies on pneumatic press machines to keep operations running smoothly, you'll understand why dealing with unexplained equipment issues is so frustrating. When you can't perform the pneumatic press uses as intended, your entire business may be disrupted. In order to restore productivity and maintain employee safety, it's essential that you invest time in evaluating your pneumatic presses when something goes awry. To that end, here are six steps to take when evaluating pneumatic system malfunctions.
- Prioritize Safety: Before you can actually assess what's wrong, you have to take the proper safety precautions. If you fail to follow procedures when inspecting pneumatic systems, you may leave yourself and others around you vulnerable to serious injury. Ensure that the electrical power supply has been turned off and that all safeguards have been employed before inspecting or repairing pneumatic press components. Lockout valves should be used whenever possible to prevent accidental operation.
- Conduct a Visual Inspection: Your evaluation will begin before you ever touch any part of the pneumatic system. Taking a simple walk around the machine itself may illuminate the source of the issue. It could be that a component is loose or broken or that a hose has burst. If you can identify the root of the problem right away, you'll save valuable time and can move on to the repair or replacement stage without delay.
- Read All Documentation: If you are unfamiliar with the various pneumatic press uses and components, you must take the time to peruse the schematic drawing and the service manual for the press. The schematic drawing can explain how each component functions and point to likely sources of trouble. The service manual can also offer valuable troubleshooting advice and help you to determine the likely source of the malfunction. Even if you've been working with pneumatics for quite some time, you should still look over these documents carefully when trying to assess the issue.
- Ask What, When, and Where: You need to have a strong understanding of the issue at-hand in order to tackle it properly. But that might not always be easy to come by. It may help if you keep three questions in mind. First, ask what is (or is not) happening in the system's operation that deviates from its normal settings. Normally, stroke cycles for pneumatic press uses can reach speeds of up to 400 strokes per minute; however, if there's a disruption in these stroke cycles, you'll need to determine this deviation first. Then, ask when the problem began. A sudden breakdown will point to a very different problem than a gradual failure. Finally, ask where in the cycle the problem occurs. An issue that presents itself immediately after starting up the machine will likely not have the same cause as a problem that pops up well into the operational process. The answers to these questions can inform your understanding of the condition; you may be able to determine whether it's a recurring issue or whether it's an emergency that came out of nowhere.
- Operate the Machine: After you've taken safety precautions and evaluated the aforementioned information, you can carefully operate the machine once more to assess whether the problem will present itself again. In order to determine the problem, you'll need to see it in action. Remember to visually inspect the machine while it's in operation. During this time, you should see whether there's any obvious air leakage, whether all specified levels are being met, and how all the components move together. After this operation, you can make a list of likely causes that either you or a repair professional can check out.
Repair or Replace When Needed: In order for your business to accurately perform the necessary pneumatic press uses, repairs or replacements may be required. You or your repair professional will narrow down the list of possible problems, after which the most likely issue will be conclusively tested. If this test reveals the cause, you can then repair or replace the component responsible for the malfunction. After this has been performed, you'll report your findings to maintain good record-keeping for your pneumatic system.
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